for something on the Internet is more of an art than science.
A search engine's database is simply an index of words and phrases
associated with URLs. Your job is to come up with words that
match this index. Here are a few general rules of thumb that
will maximize your success.
READ THE INSTRUCTIONS Most search engines provide their
own set of operators, delimiters, and rules to help you search
efficiently. CHOOSE THE UNUSUAL WORD The more distinctive
a word, the more useful it will be for sharpening your search.
For instance, you'll get a more targeted search with cercopithecus
aethiops than with African green monkey. And try to pick words
that really define your idea. WATCH YOUR SPELLING and
remember to search for legitimate variations: if you're looking
for fly-fishing try flyfishing, and fly fishing as well. THINK
ABOUT SYNONYMS If you're looking for backpacking sites,
include the terms hiking, trekking, backpacking, and camping
in your query. REPEAT YOURSELF After the first try, go
to some of the most promising-looking hits, and jot down other
terms that you can use to sharpen or widen your search. DON'T
FORGET ABOUT NOT Some search engines support the NOT operator,
which lets you exclude terms. Thus, with a search like metal
NOT heavy NOT music you can hit sites dealing with industrial
metals and avoid those devoted to heavy metal bands. USE
MORE THAN ONE SEARCH ENGINE There is surprisingly little
overlap in the results from a single query performed on several
different search engines.