An Introduction to Search Engines

It is important to understand a bit about search engines before using them to make very exact queries. Here’s a brief introduction. You might like to add your thoughts in the comments.

Search Engines are the most common means of finding information on the web. They find relevant information by matching keywords or phrases found in (and attributed to) pages on the web.

Search Engines build a database of text retrieved from web pages by automated software programmes called spiders. Spiders are configured to follow links around the web and collect specific information about the pages they find. The Search Engine then builds a database of all this information.

When you use a Search Engine, you are not searching a live interface to the web. You are searching information collected about web pages, saved in a huge database.

There are already billionsof pages on the web and some estimates say that there are up to 7 million pages added every day. It is therefore very unlikely that a search engine will ever index them all. No two search engines will have indexed exactly the same pages. There will be considerable overlap for heavily trafficked sites. So, to access even just 50% of the documents on the web, you need to use a variety of search engines.

Search Engines:

Ask, Bing, Google, and many more…

Meta Search Engines:

A meta search engine aggregates results from many search engines. e.g.

Allth.at, DogPile.com, IceRocket.com, Searchboth and many more…

Meta search tools are worth experimenting with every now and again.

It is worth remembering though that as all search engines do not support the same syntax, their advanced search functionality is very limited.

You might also find it useful to look at this List of Search Engines from Wikipedia. Whatever you’re searching for, rest assured, there is probably a perfect search engine for you.

About TheSourceress

Katharine Robinson has written 98 post(s) for this blog.

Katharine (aka TheSourceress) began sourcing in April 2008 with a small Executive Search business specialising in Renewable Energy and, in March 2010, won the title of Grandmaster Sourcer at SourceCon in San Diego. Katharine has also worked in-house with Capgemini Consulting and is now working as a Freelance Consultant and Trainer.

Katharine (aka TheSourceress) began sourcing in April 2008 with a small Executive Search business specialising in Renewable Energy and, in March 2010, won the title of Grandmaster Sourcer at SourceCon in San Diego. Katharine has also worked in-house with Capgemini Consulting and is now working as a Freelance Consultant and Trainer.