More Search Engine Tips

May 25, 2012

In past articles we have talked about how to do searches on search engines like Google. Today, I want to talk about two things related to search engines; advanced search and pay-per-click advertising. Let’s start with advanced search.

A simple search on a search engine is where you enter a few keywords, hit the search button and get results. For many searches this is fine. But for some searches, you want to narrow the results down. Specifically, limiting search results by date. For example, let’s say you are searching for information on a particular surgical procedure. You type the name of that procedure into Google and you get quite a few results. You start reading. At some point, you realize the information you are reading is 10 years old. Surgical procedures are often changing and improving. You don’t want old information. So what you need to do is limit your search results to information more recent.

To do that on Google, look in the left column of the search results. You’ll see things like “Everything”, “Images”, “Maps”, and so forth. You can click on these categories to limit your results to those categories. However, what we are looking for is to limit by date. The last item in the left column is “Show search tools”. Click on that and you will get more options for limiting your search results. One of these options is by time. It gives you options like “Past 24 hours”, “Past month”, and “Past year”. You can also enter a custom date range if you wish. If you click to show results that are relevant for the past year, you will limit your search results to more recent and updated information.

You can do the same thing on Yahoo, although the only options are a day, a week, and a month. No option for limiting results to the past year and no custom date range. Bing and Ask doesn’t have the option to limit search results in this way. AOL has these features, but you have to click on “Advanced Search” in the upper right-hand corner to access them.

When you do a search on a search engine, you will see advertisements. When you do a search, if the keywords you enter are being used by advertisers, you will see search results at the top in a shaded box that contain advertisements related to your search. This type of advertisement is called pay-per-click. Here’s how it works.

Advertisers sign up to place ads and provide a list of keywords and bid on how much they are willing to pay for each click. When someone does a search that includes those keywords, the ads for the top bidders are displayed in a shaded box above the search results. The advertiser doesn’t have to pay anything for simply displaying the ad. The advertiser only pays if you click on their ad; thus the term, pay-per-click.

If you are searching for a specific company online, help them out and click on them in the search results instead of in the advertising section. By saving that company money, you help keep their prices low and by doing that save yourself money when you do business with them.

If you own a business, you may wish to advertise this way since the traditional methods of advertising are becoming less effective while online advertising is becoming more effective. If you are interested, check out Google AdWords or Microsoft adCenter (includes Bing and Yahoo).

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