To enter a query into Searchalot, just type in a few descriptive words and hit the 'enter' key (or click on the Search button) for a list of relevant web pages. Since Searchalot only returns web pages that contain all the words in your query, refining or narrowing your search is as simple as adding more words to the search terms you have already entered. Your new query will return a smaller subset of the pages Searchalot found for your original "too-broad" query.Choosing Keywords
For best results, it is important to choose your keywords wisely. Keep these tips in mind:
Automatic "and" Queries
- Try the obvious first. If you are looking for information on Picasso, enter "Picasso" rather than "painters".
- Use words likely to appear on a site with the information you want. "Luxury hotel dubuque" gets better results than "really nice places to spend the night in Dubuque".
- Make keywords as specific as possible. "Antique lead soldiers" gets more relevant results than "old metal toys".
By default, Searchalot only returns pages that include all of your search terms. There is no need to include "and" between terms. Keep in mind that the order in which the terms are typed will affect the search results. To restrict a search further, just include more terms.
For example, to plan a vacation to Hawaii, simply type:Automatic Exclusion of Common Words
Searchalot ignores common words and characters such as "where" and "how", as well as certain single digits and single letters, because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results.
If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include it by putting a "+" sign in front of it.(Be sure to include a space before the "+" sign.)
Another method for doing this is conducting a phrase search, which simply means putting quotation marks around two or more words. Common words in a phrase search(e.g., "where are you") are included in the search.
For example, to search for Star Wars, Episode I, use:
~ OR ~ " - " Searches
Sometimes what you are searching for has more than one meaning; "bass" can refer to fishing or music. You can exclude a word from your search by putting a minus sign ("-") immediately in front of the term you want to avoid. (Be sure to include a space before the minus sign.)
For example, to find web pages about bass that do not contain the word "music", type:Phrase Searches
Search for complete phrases by enclosing them in quotation marks. Words enclosed in double quotes ("like this") will appear together in all results exactly as you have entered them. Phrase searches are especially useful when searching for famous sayings or proper names."OR" Searches
Searchalot supports the logical "OR" operator. To retrieve pages that include either word A or word B, use an uppercase OR between terms.
For example, to search for a vacation in either London or Paris, just type:Capitalization
Searchalot searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for "george washington", "George Washington", and "gEoRgE wAsHiNgToN" will all return the same results.Word Variations (Stemming)
To provide the most accurate results, Searchalot does not use "stemming" or support "wildcard" searches. In other words, Searchalot searches for exactly the words that you enter in the search box. Searching for "search" or "search*" will not yield "searched" or "searching". If in doubt, try both forms: "airline" and "airlines," for instance.Search By Category
The Searchalot Directory is a good place to start if you are not exactly sure which search keywords to use. For example, searching for [ Saturn ] within the Science > Astronomy category of the Searchalot Directory returns only pages about the planet Saturn, while searching for [ Saturn ] within the Automotive category returns only pages about Saturn cars. Searching within a category of interest allows you to quickly narrow in on only the most relevant pages to you.