Last updated : 01/04/2007
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How to search for reptiles on the Internet effectively
Why bother with this subject? Just go to our home page and drill down to what you are looking for. 9 times out of 10 you will find it! No, seriously, when I noticed some very funny search queries in our website statistics, I thought some people could benefit from a few tips. Little did I know that in researching this topic, I actually learned a few things myself, so here is what I have found to date.
This subject is dealt with under the following topic headings.
Punctuation and Capitalization
Most search engines are insensitive to case: you can type your queries in uppercase, lowercase, or a mix of cases. If you use lowercase, most engines will match on both upper and lower case; so for general searches, lowercase is the safest form to use.
Not all search engines handle punctuation the same way. When in doubt, consult the "Help" file.
"Boolean" searching (named after George Boole, the 19th-century mathematician who founded the field of symbolic logic) is a powerful technique that can narrow your search to a reasonable number of results, and increase the chance of those results being useful. Boolean searches are simple to learn and tremendously effective. The three most commonly used Boolean commands (or "operators") are AND, OR and AND NOT. (note use of upper case)
AND means both words are required. Such as "Leopard Gecko" AND care
OR means either word. Example : Breeder OR Retailer
AND NOT means the exclusion on the word following. Example: AND NOT forum, which will excludes all forum threads from results. Can also be expressed as -forum. Note there is no space between the "-" and the word to be excluded.
Do not include words such as "a", "the", "he","she", "it", "to," "from", "for" in your queries.
Decide what the keywords are and if they are expected to appear together as one phrase. "leopard gecko" can always be expected to appear in that order. Breeder could appear in a web page before or after the "leopard gecko" part, such as "breeder of exotic Leopard Geckos" or "Leopard Gecko breeder" , so do not include the word "breeder" in inverted commas. Where possible, combine one key phrase by using quotation marks, as in "Leopard Gecko" or "Angolan Python".
Decide which is the must appear, word or words are and place in quotation marks.
"Cached Pages" , "More from this site" and "Similar pages" (New)
These terms are often shown with the returned results for a search.
Yahoo will often show "Cached Pages" and "More from this site" , and Google shows "Cached" and " Similar pages".
Cached pages are a copy of a page from a website that is held by the search engine from when it last looked at the relevant page. Your search terms are highlighted on the page, so its and easy to see if the content is really what you are looking for and where on the page it occurs.
"More from this site" will return additional pages in a separate search from the same website, that also match your search term. This is useful to directly access a page that might better suit the content your are after.
Never found "Similar pages" returned by Google, to be of any use at all.
Search by country
One would think that the SE's would allow somebody in the UK to search for a site that they know exists in the USA, with relative ease?.
Well Yahoo handles this better than Google
Provides their users with an option to select the country from "Advanced Search".
When going to Yahoo one is faced with a page full of adverts and no options for an "Advanced Search". See for yourself
Click "Web Search" and you get a clean page, with the "Advanced Search" option to the right of ""Web Search". See for yourself
This will allow you to select the country from which you would like results retuned. (About half way down the page.) See for yourself
Lets look at the effect of some results. If we search for "reptile websites", we are listed no 2 (when we wrote this article) See for yourself
Now we are not a UK website, not located in the UK, but the page is relevant.
So if we apply UK country only, what happens?. We are now (maybe) listed No 1 , but the Canadian page we had has disappeared, as one would expect. (Not any more...we're not) See for yourself
Google notes on the subject :How can I limit my search results to pages from a specific country or domain?
Steps are as follows. Required because every time you change your search and click on search, you loose the country selection.
- Refine your search as best you can including any advance features, if required.
- Copy the search string.
- Select the "language tools" from bottom of page. Go "language tools" This option is only displayed after an initial search has been done.
- Select the language, (leave as "all") and the next option being "Search pages located in:" and select the country required.
- Paste in your search string.
- Hit search
Here as some searches and my recommended alternative. Test each version of each example in your preferred SE and see the effect of each
|caring for a Woma Python||"Woma Python" care|
|reticulated python snake breeders||"reticulated python" breeder|
|herpetological veterinarians in gauteng||"vet" reptile gauteng or herp vet gauteng|
|captive care western diamondback rattlesnake||captive care "western diamondback rattlesnake"|
|brown roughneck monitor care sheet||brown "roughneck monitor" care sheet|
Some more examples
|Search Engine||Volume of search results||Notes|
|Leopard Gecko breeders in the UK||64900||Every thing with Leopard, Gecko, breeders and UK is returned. i.e anything that refers to gecko, leopard, breeders, but excluding breeder etc.|
"Leopard Gecko" +breeder + uk
|656||In this example the words " Leopard Gecko" must be found next to each other as in the phrase. Breeder or breeders may be found and the term UK or uk. However this is no guarantee that results are from the UK.|
|"Leopard Gecko" breeder OR breeders uk||Google.com||16000||Note "OR" in upper case|
|"Leopard Gecko" breeder OR breeders uk||Yahoo.com||6760|
|breeder OR breeders "Leopard Gecko"||
limiting results to country = United Kingdom
Now this we can deal with!
Wild card searches and plural and singular.
Battled with this situation. here is Google's help on the subject which is self explanatory. Does Google support wildcard searches?
So in effect we can not use the "*" as in "breeder*" to look for breeders and breeder. However if we wanted to look for Breeder of Leopard Gecko and Day Gecko a search of 'breeder * Gecko" would return all breeders of all species of Gecko where the words were in matching order. Example : Google
Could not find and answer on Yahoo about this and in testing desired results were not satisfactory. Will follow up on the subject.
I personally prefer using the singular. such as "gecko breeder" which I find works best and should pick up my desired results, except if I was looking for a listing of non-specifics such as "breeders of geckos" etc.
Well that all for now folks and I hope this has been as helpful as it was intended.
For further reading and more detail please follow these links.
How to Choose a Search Engine or Directory
How to Search the Internet Effectively
How to Search the Internet
UNT Libraries: Internet Search Engines
Last update : 01/04/2007