Benefits of using search engines


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Benefits of using search engines

A computer screen showing various search engine logos

What's coming up

Search engines help you to find what you need on the Internet.

There are many search engines to choose from. You may have heard of some of the popular search engines like Google, Yahoo! or Bing.

In this activity, you'll find out why you might want to use a search engine, as well as some tips to help you find what you're looking for even more quickly.

Start activity
A sample search field with the words 'Border Collie' typed in

Searching for information

Using a search engine is easy. All you need to do is enter what you're looking for and the search engine will try and find it for you.

Be specific

When entering your search words, be as specific as you can. That way you will get fewer and more relevant results.

For example, if you want to find information on border collie dogs, searching for border collie will produce more specific results than searching for dogs.

Search results

After doing a search you'll get a list of results that matches your search words. This could include web pages, photos, videos and documents.

The results are ranked, so the most relevant links are at the top.

A screen of search results that have come up as a list of website links and a short introduction passages for Border Collies
A sample search field with the words 'Border Collie' typed in and encased by quotation marks

Searching for a phrase

If you want to be be even more specific with your search you can put your search words in quotation marks. This is good for searching for a particular phrase.

For example, typing “border collie” will search for those words in that order.

If you don't use the quotation marks, the search engine will find all of the words but in any order.

Sponsored links

Sometimes you will see links at the top or side of the page that say ‘Sponsored links', 'Adverts' or 'Ad'.

Companies pay to have their websites listed with some search results. These sponsored links can be useful, but they might not be the most relevant result for you.

A list of search results that contain sponsored links or ads as the first couple of links

Finding a Garden Centre

Let's walk through the steps needed to search for garden centres.

A sample search field with the words 'Garden centre' typed in

Enter the search words

First, we've entered the search words, in this case Garden centre, then we'd select the search button.

The search button is usually a picture of a magnifying glass to the right of the search box.

Choose a search result

Next, we'd select a result that looks like it has what we want.

A screen of search results that have come up as a list of website links and a short introduction passages for Garden centres
A sample website of how to find local garden centres


Finally, we've arrived at a website that has what we need.

Let's search

Let's have a look at how to search.

On the next slide is a practice activity that includes some steps to try yourself. Select the Continue button below to begin and then follow the instructions on the right side of the screen.

Let’s search

Let’s search

This is an interactive exercise that allows learners to practise doing an internet search using Google.

This exercise has no soundtrack and in order to complete it, you must type 'ABC news' into Google and then click on 'Google search'. From the results, you must then select the correct link to take you to the ABC News website. This is to encourage confidence using the internet by practising a simple exercise in a simulated environment.

If a mistake is made during this exercise, there will be a prompt to ask you to try it again. If another mistake is made, the video will show you how to complete that section of the exercise.

Shows an example of how you search for something that has slightly incorrect spelling, the search engine will find the most relevant term for you


Don't worry if you don't know how to spell a word.

If you type what you are looking for the way you think it is spelled, the search engine will give you a list of options based on what it thinks you are looking for.

A man enjoys sharing some screen time with his grandson


Well done, you've come to the end of the Benefits of using search engines activity.

You've learnt how you can use a search engine to help you find information quickly online and that you don't need to be able to spell to find out what you're after.

In the next activity, Website addresses, we'll take a look at how you can go straight to a website without needing to use a search engine. You'll also find out how to make it even easier to find websites that you like in future.