A typical results page from Google looks like this:
|Header||Search bar||Search results|
|Tools & filters||Ads||Bottom of the page|
Go and read what Google says about the results page as well as their search results options and tools (seriously - we consider it part of the tutorial even though we didn't re-type it all for you). Paying attention to the subtleties of the results page can help you adjust your search to achieve better results. Since Google frequently makes changes to the results page it is best to read their up-to-date information directly.
How do you evaluate the list of results? What do you click?
The most imporatant piece of data you receive about the web site is the web address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Deconstruct the URL to determine:
In addition, the result text, which displays under the link, is either a description provided by the website or a brief snippet of text that highlights where your search term(s) appear on the page. Although the result text may seem to be compelling, keep in mind what you've learned from the URL. For example, a description that reads "Current research about cholesterol-lowering drugs" should be interpreted and valued differently if it comes from the National Institute of Health (Health agency) as compared to Pfizer Pharmeceutical (corporation).
Since Google has various search tools for digital content, and is trying to give you what it thinks you want, it often pulls in sub-searches from those other tools. Thus, you might see a set of mini-results for news, images, scholarly articles, maps or more. If those are what you want, go use those search tools directly so that you can take advantage of their search features.
What should you ask yourself as you skim these results?
Is it appropriate?
Am I looking for the most current information?
Does the URL imply that additional or more recent pages are out there?