Search Engines

Search engines are arguably the most important invention since the birth of the internet. They trawl the internet tirelessly, storing information about every web page they find in their vast repositories, and allow you to search their database for free. You usually get the results to your search in a fraction of a second./p>

Google is the most widely used search engine, and the phrase "Google it!" has passed into everyday language. For this reason, although there are other search engines out there, we will focus our attention on Google. I, for one, never use another search engine because I find that Google provides good results for my searches. But it helps if you have learned how to search effectively.

Google Searching

Here's a basic introduction to searching in Google. That will be enough to get you off to a good start. Soon, there'll be a tutorial on google advanced search that will turn you into an ultra effective searcher. Stay tuned for that!

Search Engine Optimisation

Using a search engine to find information is only one side of the coin. The other side involves running a website (like this one, for example) and enabling it to be found easily in search engines by people searching for relevant information. Don't forget, there are probably many, many web pages all publishing information about the same thing. Search Engine Optimisation is all about signalling to Google and the other search engines that your site (or, more accurately, the web pages on it) are the best fi for a searcher's query.

If you want to improve your website's "visibility" in the search engines, you can either perform the optimisation yourself, or you can hire search engine consultants. Beware of snake oil salesmen! More on that, too.

Google Algorithm

The Google algorithm is the secret set of rules that help Google decide in what order to rank web pages when someone searches for something. For example, when you search for "I like turtles", you can see that there are over 3 million pages that potentially satisfy your search. How does Google know in what order to present those pages? Of course, the most relevant ones should appear near the top, but determining relevance is no small feat. Enter the Google Algorithm.

Google Documents

It looks like Google are willing to try their hand at anything. They seem to love trying new things and venturing into uncharted (for them at least) territory. Google have their own suite of office productivity programs called Google Documents. In Google Documents you'll find online equivalents of some of the more commonly used Microsoft Office products. Google have a spreadsheet program that works like Excel, a dosument authoring program that works like Word and even a presentation program that works like PowerPoint! These programs are free, and store all their information on the securely internet, meaning that you don't need to carry your documents around with you on a memory stick and then hope that your destination PC actually has Microsoft Office installed.