Journey to the centre of the…results?

It’s often quoted that web searchers never (or very seldom) bother to look beyond the first two pages of search results.  There are various reasons for this, among them:

– no need, I found what I wanted on the first page
– there’ll be nothing relevant further in
– I’ve no time to check page after page of results
– I got interrupted by a phone call/email

Me?  I’m one of a small group of rebels.  We often go beyond, oh way beyond, page two.  “Well, you must have very little to do then”.

Not so, indeed many of my searches are tricky and as I can usually bank on the fact that my respected enquirer,  who is quite capable of running a quick web search, has already had a go before coming to me with the “I give up, what can you find?” plea, it falls to me to work out how to search differently in order to find what the enquirer didn’t manage to unearth.

Drilling down the pages is one such technique.  There are others that search detectives use.  We sometimes ignore the general web altogether and use specialist, subscription  sources, or use our knowledge of what’s out there to go directly to more relevant  subject-oriented websites whose data may not get indexed by the search engines (ah, the deep/invisible web), or we may phone up someone in the know.

The first page may give you what you’re hunting for, but when it doesn’t, it’s fun to do what others rarely do and there’s no law that says you have to trawl through page by page.  Disrupt your usual search pattern!  Go deep.  Skip to page 6 or 8 or 13.  There have been times when I’ve found a real nugget of gold down there.

And today, I’ll raise a glass to the world’s miners… especially those in Chile, rising one by one to the surface as I type, and seeing daylight for the first time in over two months.

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This entry was posted in Information literacy, Psychology of search, Search engines and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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