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Search Engine Glossary and Terms

How well do you know search engines? Do you know all the search engine lingo yet? Check out this glossary of search engine terms and get down with your cybergeek-self.

Basic Search Engine Terms

Search Engine: A program or collection of servers that searches a database of internet Web pages and returns pages with keywords that match your inquiry. The term "search engine" is often misused to describe directories. Directories, such as Yahoo, are not actually search engines.

Keyword: This is any word you punch into the search engine. If you're looking for info on the band Good Charlotte, then you'd punch their name into the search engine, right? Good Charlotte then becomes keywords. You will mostly likely end up with results from Web pages that have the name Good Charlotte in their content, meta tags or keywords.

Keyword Search: This is the specific word you type into a search engine to search. An example of a keyword would be dog or Boston Terrier, instead of common words like; the, have, and, or, etc.

Phrase Search: When you type two or more words into a search engine. For example, when you search for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, you've created a phrase search. You want all the words searched together as a phrase, you do not want just the word "Lord" or the word "Rings" searched separately.

Fuzzy Search: This is a search that will give you a list of sites, even though they contain only part of the word or misspelled words that you were looking for.

Stemming: This is when a search engine brings back Web sites that include the "stem" of a keyword. For example, if you search for skating, stemming is when you get back results for the word skate.

Stop Word: A word or words that are ignored by search engine searches because they are so commonly used that they aren't relevant. Examples of these types of words are: for, the, I.

  • Click here for more advanced search engine lingo.
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