Analyzing Search Results

search engines often display snippets of text from the pages containing your keywords; the number of times your keywords show up in the snippet might indicate the relevance of the web page to your search; the proximity of the words can also indicate relevance as would a keyword in the URL; Google displays your search terms in bold for easy scanning

the name of a URL is often mnemonic: it indicates what the web site is about so that its URL is easier to remember

the end of a domain name indicates either a certain type of web site or its geographic domain (e.g. .com, .edu. .org, .jp, etc.)

search engines use algorithms (mathematical formulas) to rank each web site according to the terms used in your search query; every search engine has a slightly different algorithm for figuring out which is the best web site

you shouldn't have to go through several pages of search results to find useful pages - if you do, refine your search strategy

more and more search engines are creating directories (subject guides) of recommended web sites on many subjects - if a search engine site has included a web page in its directory, it might indicate relevance

sometimes links to web pages break - Google has cached, or hidden, copies of indexed web pages - if you click the word cached you will see a copy of the web page with your keywords highlighted

Guides to Evaluating Web Resources

Bibliographies for Evaluating Web Resources


Barker, Donald I. and Carol D. Terry Internet research Boston, MA: Course Technology, 2009.

Hartman, Karen and Ernest Ackerman Searching and researching on the Internet and the world wide web, Sherwood, OR: Franklin, Beedle & Associates, 2010.