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Web Search Tips

What's the easiest way to find information on the web?

Just type whatever comes to mind in the search box, press the Enter key or click the Search button. The search will look for the web pages that are relevant to your query.

Basic Search Guidelines

  • Every word counts. Generally, all the words typed will be used.
  • The search engine is case insensitive.
  • Use double quotes to search for an exact phrase.

Keep it simple.

If you are looking for an office, just enter the name or as much of the name as you remember. If you are looking for a place or item, start with its name or try a category it may belong to.

Think of words that are likely to be on the page.

A search engine is not a human, it is a program that matches the words you give to pages on the web. When you are researching something, search for words that may be included in the page. For example, searching for "Do I qualify to borrow money?" makes sense to a person but these words may not be found on the page that has the answer. Instead search for "Do I qualify for a loan?" or even just "loan".

Use as few words as possible.

The goal of each word in a query is to focus it further. Since all words are used, each additional word limits the results. If you limit too much, you may miss relevant pages. The main advantage to starting with fewer keywords is that, if you don't get what you need, the results will likely give you a good indication of what additional words are needed to refine your results on the next search.

Choose descriptive words.

The more unique a word is the more likely you are to get the results you want.

Searching within a specific area.

To search for something in a specific area you must initiate the seach from that area. For example, to search for services that the Registrar's office might provide, go to the Registrar's office website, type the word services in the search box and hit Enter. The search engine will then return all the pages found in the Registrar's website that match. To extend your search to all of the K-State web pages click on the Search all of K-State link at the top of the search results page.

Searching for specific links.

To search for links to a web page, type the word "link" followed by a colon and a space, then the URL, or part of a URL, you are searching for.

For example, the URL of this page is


To find all the links to this page, enter the search

   link: http://search.k-state.edu/help/web-search.html

The K-State search engine only indexes K-State pages, so pages authored by others would not be found.  However, the same search query works with Google and will search all pages across the Internet.

Part of a URL can be entered.  For example, suppose the English department changes its URL from http://www.k-state.edu/english/ to http://www.k-state.edu/langarts/.  To find all the K-State pages that link to the old name, search for
   link: /english/