Using Search Engines

(google, bing, yahoo, aol, ask jeeves, etc.)

The basics of a search

Type in a few descriptive words with a space between words and hit the 'enter' key. 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 found.

(When entering an actual www. web page address, there are NO spaces, same as with e-mail which contains an "@" in the address.)

Choosing keywords

It's important to choose your keywords wisely. Keep this in mind: Try the obvious first. If you're looking for information on Toyota, enter "Toyota" rather than "cars". Use words likely to appear on a site with the information you want. Make keywords as specific as possible. If you wish to find a business in your area, enter Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley or name of another city or a county of interest.

Automatic "and" queries

Do not include "and" between search words. Keep in mind that the order in which the words are typed will affect the search results. To restrict a search further, just include more words.

Automatic exclusion of common words

Common words such as "where" and "how" are usually ignored, 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, such as "conejo valley" or "simi valley".


Usually searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case.

Word variations

To provide the most accurate results, search will be done for exactly the words that you enter in the search box. If in doubt, try other forms: "automobile" and "automobiles," or "restaurant" and "restaurants" for instance.

Searching by category

Searching within a category of interest allows you to quickly narrow in on only the most relevant pages to you.

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