Picture yourself discovering the internet for the first time. You are connected, you open a web browser, and the web browser goes to the default home page. And there it sits. You might call your friends and ask what to do next not having a guide to use an internet search engine. You call your friends and ask them to guide you and they will tell you the address of a few of their favorite web sites but you want more. So you call your friends again and they guide you to something called a search engine. You go there and type in a few phrases of some items of interest and it returns lists of different web pages possibly containing the information you seek. Search engines guide you to find what you need from the internet. Let’s look at a few common features of them to guide you through search engine usage:

You should first know what search engines are available to you. These are your main ones: www.Google.com, www.Yahoo.com, www.Live.com, and www.Ask.com. There are other variations of these and some other search engines even use the databases of the main ones but you will find that most references on the internet will guide you to these main four and in most cases Google or Yahoo.

A search engine is connected to a database. And it only stands to reason that the larger the database, the more “hits” you will have for most search queries you enter. The term “hits” means that every time the words you type into the search query window match with the words found in the context of a document, they are listed on what is called a results page in your browser window.

The results page is a like a guide allowing you to click on each hit found. What is displayed for each hit is the title of the web page, a short description, and the link to it. When you click on one of the hits, you are guided to that web page.

The internet search engine does not actually search the entire internet. That would take entirely too long. What happens is when you type in your search query the process is guided to the search engine’s massive indexed database. The index is built on the words (what are called keywords) that occur the most frequently in a document.

So how does a web page get indexed? People want to guide you to their web pages because they have something important, something entertaining, or something to sell. However you can put a web page up today and it will just sit there until one of the internet search engines finds it. Your page is found by what is known as a search “bot” (short for “robot”). A search bot is a software application that travels the web reading every page out there. When it reads a link on the web page, the link guides it to read the page referenced by it. The process takes many days each month and many computers divide up the overall task. When the search bot finds your page, it tries to determine which keywords occur most in it and then classifies it in its index database accordingly.

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