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Lesson 4 Search queries
Objective Ask a Search Engine to find Information

Ask Search Engine to find Information

There is no central card catalog to the billions of individual documents on the World Wide Web (over 16 trillion by one estimate and increasing daily). So how can you even begin to find information on a topic of interest or importance to you? You may feel like the person who says "How can I look up a word in the dictionary when I do not know how to spell it?"
AltaVista reports somewhere around 55 million searches are performed on it every day; Google reports another 12 million. The vast majority are in the form of a search query, which is one or more keywords you instruct a search engine to use to find exactly the information you are looking for. A search query may also contain operators, words or symbols that narrow or expand a search.
For example, if you were searching for a copy of the required 10-K filing for the JonesCorp company, you could type JonesCorp 10-K into the search query input area in the search site's Main page and submit it. In some search engines and directories, you click a Submit button, in others a Go or a Fetch button.
When you write your search query, no matter how simple, you're telling the search engine that it must find all of the documents in its database that meet your criteria.
You may find that you have more success searching for a particular type of information using a particular search engine. This involves its database, which is the topic of the next lesson.

Search Queries - Exercise

Click the Exercise link below to repeat the last search with two search engines and to compare the results with those of the directories.
Search Queries - Exercise

SEO Strategies

It takes much effort to optimize just the right elements of your web site so search engines will not only find you, but will also index your site so that it appears high in search query results. And all of that effort must be attended to by you. There are currently no tools that will put all of the elements of SEO in place for you. Instead, you have to build your web site with SEO in mind, choose all the right keywords, and use them in the right places and balance on your site, determine if pay-per-click and paidinclusion programs are for you, use the right meta tags in the right places, create great content, and add all the right links.
Do not let the amount of work overwhelm you. Consistent effort and the strategies included in this part of the book will have you working toward your SEO goals in no time.

Search Engines Today

Even though we have powerful search engines today to help us find information on the Web, linking from one page to another is still a powerful tool for helping your site get found. And links can group together sites that are relevant, giving you more leverage with search engines than a site without links might have.
There is a fine science to creating a linking strategy, however. It’s not enough just to sprinkle a few links here and there within the pages of your site. There are different types of links that register differently with search engines and it’s even possible to get your web site completely delisted from search results if you handle your links improperly.
When you really begin to consider links and how they affect web sites, you see that links are interconnected in such a way as to be the main route by which traffic moves around the Internet. If you search for a specific term, when you click through the search engine results, you’re taken to another web page. As you navigate through that web page, you may find a link that leads you to another site, and that process continues until you’re tired of surfing the Internet and close your browser. And even if the process starts differently, with you typing a URL directly into your web browser.