Searching the web is a common experience and it is increasingly done using mobile applications, while still heavily relying on just one search engine for all search requirements. The goal of this short guide is to expand the scope of resources from which readers who are not necessarily highly proficient in web research can choose to conduct searches, as well as to engage in knowledge discovery. This article also explains alternative ways to search for information and additional methods to apply to your research to obtain more comprehensive and actionable results.
There are basically four techniques to search for information on the web discussed in this article: 1) Search Engines, 2) Indexes and Directories, 3) Intuitive Search and 4) Custom Search and Deep Web Search. A brief explanation of each area is followed by representative examples that you can immediately put to good use. The intent of this guide is to broaden your search horizons so that searching the web will intuitively become easier, more focused and more effective.
Search engines on the web are powered by “bots” that actively go out and search for metadata descriptions and keywords in files throughout the web. When you visit the search engine and type in the keyword or phrase that you are looking for the results that are generated come from the latest searching by the search engine’s bots that have been deposited in the search engine’s database. The status of the results (how current they may be) is purely based on when the search engine’s bots visited the site and brought back the metadata information to the search engine’s database. There are literally thousands upon thousands of search engines on the web and I have included only a few of those that are the largest and best known. I have also provided a link to an international search engine that aggregates content from 316 countries and territories around the world.
100 Search Engines
ASK Search Engine
eHealthcareBot.com – 2018 Healthcare Meta Search Engine
Search Engine Colossus: International Directory of Search Engines
SurfWax (Smart Meta Search Engine – Searches Multiple Search Engines)
Textise – Text Only Search Engine
Indexes and Directories
Before the Internet became ubiquitous we were accustomed to looking for information using directories and indices. For example, we searched “telephone” books and then may have used similar sources of directory information (including telephone directory assistance – which of course no longer exists but was in hindsight, a truly valuable service). The Internet also has a number of directory resources that allow you to search in a simpler and more convenient format to find information by going from menu to menu until you locate the subject and/or topic that is most effective. Many of these menus are actually subject trees and subject directories that are readily available on the Internet. Below I have listed some of the larger and more popular directories as well as a listing of a Directory of Directories on the Internet.
2018 Directory of Directories
Directory Resources 2018
Dmoz Tools Static Page
Intute [Closed in 2011; Classic Archives Available]
Librarians’ Index to the Internet
Intuitive searching on the Internet is a broad way to look for information that may be available. By entering a name, any name, the search engine will return many results, with only some potentially relevant. Better to check out an individual by typing in their complete name [inclusive of middle name and middle initial, all in quotes] and checking the results. Using Google™ you may search for results from the web, photos, maps, and from the news. All these results and more are available from the upper right hand corner of Google.com. Also, you may take the intuitive name and add one of the basic seven domain name suffixes to it to obtain potentially relevant results:
Replace the Intuitive Name with the name that you are searching for i.e., Research or Research Resources, etc. and add one of the suffixes above or any other new suffixes now available and then enter it in the URL line of your browser to see if that site is available. Also remember that if you have more than one word, all the words must run together to become a potential domain name (Research.com, ResearchResources.info, etc.). This could be an interesting exercise to identify for example new domain names. If you do not find anything today it could very well be created tomorrow. Most often you can just enter the “IntuitiveName” alone in the search text box of a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. One of the top most results should be what you are seeking.
Custom Search and Deep Web Research
Searching the web with your own SearchBot or developing a resource list of areas of deep web search will aid you in the discovery of new information and expand the reach of results beyond those from a search engine.
Deep Web Searching tip: You can initiate a deep search inside another site using that site’s custom search engine. An example is searching Amazon for a specific book. Go to Amazon.com and type in the name of the book, or you can type in “amazon” followed by space and the name of the book in any search engine and receive the same search result. So you are effectively querying a deep web index using a top level query. The same tip works for other sites such as Barnes & Noble or electronics retail sites such as Newegg, Frys, Costco, or supermarket sites such as Walmart, Target and Trader Joe’s. You simply search for the brand name followed by the name of the item you seek using the search box and one of the top results should be a direct deep link for that product. This method also works with American Apparel and other outfitting sites such as Betabrand.
Following is a short list of very useful sites and resources:
Bot Research 2018
Deep Web Research and Discovery Resources 2018
Finding Information on the Internet – Internet Tutorials
Finding What You Need With the Best Search Engines
Internet Searches for Vetting, Investigations and Open-Source Intelligence (book)
Knowledge Discovery 2018
Research Beyond Google – 119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources
Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from Marcus P. Zillman’s 2019 Guide to Searching the Internet.