Search Engines


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THE MANAGER’S GUIDE TO BUSINESS RESEARCH ON THE INTERNET Chapter Three Searching the Internet Using Directories and Search Engines Dr. Kenneth N. Thompson University of North Texas College of Business Administration Denton, TX Draft September 11, 1997 Copyright 1997 Kenneth N. Thompson
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Conducting a search on the Internet means that you are searching for information contained in web pages that have been placed on a file server connected to the net. Your search locates existing web sites and pages that have been registered with a directory and/ or search service or have been located and indexed by the ‘robot’ software of a variety of search engines. You can search the Internet in two basic ways: Manually searching for web sites and pages that have been compiled by a directory service, such as Yahoo!; or, Employing a search engine to find occurrences of “keywords" or phrases that describe the information you want to locate. Because your search for information on the net is dramatically affected by which directory service or search engine is used, let’s begin our examination of searching the internet with a quick review of the differences between directories and search engines. Introduction to Search Engines Search engines are computer programs designed to search for incidences of the key words or phrases that you provide. Search engines do not reach out to the entire world-wide-web and inspect every possible web site and web page. In general, someone must have previously registered the web page with that specific engine, or the search engine must have found that page based on an external link in a previously indexed page. This means that different search engines may not find and index the same web sites. Search engines use highly sophisticated indexing software referred to as “robots” or “spiders.” These programs only require that the URL for a site be submitted in order to register that site with the search service. The robot finds the URL and records the full text of every page within the web site. This feature is why most true search engines don’t ask you for anything except you page’s URL. The robot also visits all external links referenced by these web pages and then indexes them. Thus, even though you may never have registered your own site, your pages may have been indexed because some web page that was previously indexed had an external link to your page! Search engines index your web pages by analyzing the text on each page. Content is examined for key words and phrases that represent the theme of the page. Text located toward the top of the page tends to be weighted most heavily in the indexing process, with key words located in the HTML <TITLE> and <META> tags being particularly important. The first place the spider visits is the <TITLE> tag. The information in this tag is what shows up on the title line of your browser when you visit that web page. This also is the text the search engine uses in the title line for that site in
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2011 for the course BUSI 6240 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at North Texas.

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