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Advanced searches on the web

In addition to using Internet tools, you may wish to conduct advanced searches on the Web for your Internet business as another way to take advantage of what the Web has to offer. You may have already conducted basic searches using one of the search engines like Yahoo!, Google, Lycos, or Altavista. Yahoo! offers a "directory" form of search where users "drill down" through increasingly specific topic areas to arrive at the subject they are seeking. The other search engines offer an "index" form of search where users enter a keyword and the search engine returns a list of Web pages in which the keyword is used. See the section, "How to Get a High Ranking for Your Web Site" in Chapter 6, "Web Site Design and Content," for information on how search engines find Web pages and determine their ranking.

Some of the newer search engines even have features like categorizing the entries for you to help narrow your search. Vivisimo, for example, not only returns standard entries when the word "books" is entered, but also categories such as "music," "children," "rare-print," and "art" that can be clicked on for more efficient searches. Wisenut is another categorizable search engine that offers a feature called "Sneak-a-Peek" that allows users to catch glimpses of listed sites without ever leaving the Wisenut site. This allows for faster searching without having to wait for the browser to switch between the listings and the search engine site [172].

For more sophisticated and directed searches that can help save time and money, more than one keyword with advanced search code words and syntax can be entered at a time. Say for example that you are interested in learning about different ways to promote your company's Web site. It is difficult to think of a single keyword that would provide you with the information you need. However, once you have mastered the advanced search techniques listed here, you will find whole new worlds of information opening up for you. Advanced search code words and syntax differ from search engine to search engine, so check with each before using them. For more information on search engines see [13] and [57]. Here are a few of the more commonly used advanced search techniques:

  • " " Quotation marks are used around a multiword phrase that you want searched verbatim. Using the example of wanting to learn about different ways to promote your Web site, you might enter "Web site promotion" as is, in quotations. The search engine would return a list of Web pages with the phrase Web site promotionin them. Without quotes around the phrase, each word in the phrase may be searched for separately (depending on the search engine). For example, if you enter the phrase Web site promotionwithout quotes, your search engine may do a search for pages with the word Web, or the word site, or the word promotionin it.

  • + Inserting a plus sign before a keyword indicates that the keyword must be on a page returned. Just entering a keyword by itself may not necessarily return a page with that word in it. For example, if you're searching for a consultant who might help you with your Web site promotion, if you enter +"Web site promotion" consultantsome search engines will return pages with Web site promotion in it, but not necessarily the word consultant(some search engines rank pages with both phrases Web site promotion and consultant in it higher than pages with Web site promotionalone). In order to have pages returned with both entries in it, you would have to enter both terms with plus signs before each term, i.e., +"Web site promotion" +consultant.

  • AND The word AND entered between keywords will find pages that have all of those keywords in a page. For example, if you are searching for software that will help you with Web site promotion, a search on "Web site promotion" AND software will find pages with both Web site promotion and software in it. Note that entering "Web site promotion" AND software is equivalent to entering +"Web site promotion" +software.

  • OR The word ORentered between keywords will find pages that have at least one of the keywords in it, but not necessarily all keywords on a page. For example, a search on "Web site promotion" OR software finds pages with the phrase Web site promotionin it as well as pages with the word softwarein it, but not necessarily both entries in a single page.

  • NEAR The word NEARentered between keywords will find pages with the keywords in close proximity to one another in the page. For example, suppose you wanted to search Web pages that not only have the phrase Web site promotionin it, but also phrases like promotion of Web site. Then you would want the phrase Web sitein close proximity to the word promotionin a page, and you would enter "Web site" NEAR promotion.

  • NOT The word NOTentered before a keyword will find pages that do not contain the keyword. For example, suppose you're interested in Web site promotion, but not in banner ads. Entering "Web site promotion" NOT"banner ads" will return pages with the phrase Web site promotionin it, but not the phrase banner ads. Note that a hyphen works in the same way as NOT; that is, entering "Web site promotion" NOT"banner ads" is equivalent to entering "Web site promotion" -"banner ads".

  • ( ) Parentheses used around keywords can create a much more sophisticated search. If you enter "Web site promotion" AND (consultant OR software) the response will have the entries Web site promotionand consultantin it, or the entries Web site promotionand softwarein it.

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