A search engine is a commercial service on
the World Wide Web that allows users to search for any information
they can think of 24 hours a day 365 days a year. The intense
competition among search engines is fueled solely by advertising
As many of us have found out, it can be very
difficult and time consuming to sift through all the information
that comes your way when you try to search for information
on a search engine. A simple search can get hundreds or even
thousands of results. On many search engines, simply putting
a plus sign between your words, and leaving no spaces, will
greatly reduce the number of matches or "hits."
The plus signs tell the search engine to only
include links that have all of your key words, instead of
just a few, or even one. A search in Google for house sale
cumbria will return 544,000 web pages. The same search turns
up with only 3 when phrased with quotation marks, e.g "property+sale+cumbria".
The quickest way to get right to what you want is to exaggerate
your search parameters. By this I mean to do a search for
your ideal result, for example, "detached property sale
garden Cumbria village ". Obviously this search will
not get many results, but then you can gradually decrease
your requirements by eliminating one or two words at a time
until you end up with a workable number of links to choose
Some engines recognize the plus sign instead
of quotation marks, e.g. detached+property+sale+garden+Cumbria+village.
Others will automatically assume that you want all the words
included unless you tell it you don't! There are no consistent
rules, but a link to each search engine's individual guidelines
can be usually be found somewhere on their home page. Sometimes
it's called "search tips" or "advanced searches."
You can quickly learn each engine's preferences and quirks
by reading their information page. If the directions are too
complex, change to another search engine that better suits
your technical expertise.
It is up to each search engine company to
have an easy method of understanding their guidelines, and
getting you the consumer exactly what you want. Their advertising
rates are based on how frequently they are used. Treat them
as you would any other business. If you're not happy, take
your business elsewhere. Remember, you are the customer, and
they work for you, not the other way around!