You may have fond or maybe not-so-fond memories of researching school papers using encyclopedias, periodicals and the ever-helpful reference librarian. Now, with the internet at your fingertips, you only need to type in a question and answers appear.
However, the amount of information available can be overwhelming, and not all of it can be trusted. To get useful results from the internet, you need to ask the right questions and distinguish the dependable from the not-so-dependable sites.
At Bethesda Gardens Assisted Living in Arlington, Texas, you can use the internet to communicate with family and friends, access social media platforms and gain information. Google, as the most popular search engine, controls the information highway. Google uses algorithms — rules or processes that a computer follows — to respond to your request, ranking results by relevance.
Depending on your query, Google’s results may include ads, websites, People Also Ask questions, feature snippets and Google Maps. Let's look at each one in more detail.
Businesses can pay to have their website listed on a Google search result page. Ads are usually placed along the top, bottom and side with a designation before the website address.
You may find reliable information on a website with a paid-for Google ad. However, keep in mind that its placement is the result of advertising, not usefulness to your inquiry.
Google often supplies a list of questions related to your search topic, even if you didn’t start with a question. Many times, these questions may help clarify your topic.
Featured snippets are direct answers to your questions that appear at the top of a Google search result. Google chooses specific web pages for feature snippets based on helpfulness and relation to the question.
If your search relates to nearby businesses, a Google map with locations marked is included in the results. Maps are especially helpful if you’re looking for a restaurant or service near Bethesda Gardens Assisted Living in Arlington, Texas.
The core of Google’s search results is among ranked websites and web pages listed in order of relevance.
Now that we've recapped a little about how Google works, let’s look at how to search and pare down the results.
When searching the internet, make your request as specific as possible to ensure good results. For example, typing in “dry eyes” brings up a completely different list of web pages than “treatment options dry eyes” or “best eye drops dry eyes.”
You don’t need to include words like for, an, of and the in most of your searches. Just focus on keywords and phrases. You can find other search tips, including how to look for specific time periods, exact phrase matches and dollar amounts at Google support.
When searching for health topics, improve your chances of finding legitimate information by narrowing results to specific sites, such as .gov (government) or .edu (education).
To perform a search this way, you would type: dry eyes site:.gov
The more relevant a page’s information is to your search, the higher it appears on your page. Results near the bottom of your search page may have little to do with your request, so don’t get sidetracked.
You can often eliminate poor information sources just by scanning the title and web page.
You type in “sleeping problems seniors”
On the contrary, Experience Dreamless Sleep With Mystic Mantras can probably be ignored.
To ensure the legitimacy of an article or claim, verify the links and make sure they support the information. Links to credible sources show that the document has been fact-checked and isn’t simply the author’s opinion.
Some web pages only link back to other pages on the website, leaving you in an endless loop and without authentic sources of information.
Medical information sites often refer to research papers and clinical trials to support theories. Make sure studies are valid by following these guidelines:
The internet offers invaluable help to seniors, but only if you know how to discriminate between reliable and worthless findings. Reading something on a web page doesn’t make it a fact. Use the above tips to find dependable sources and avoid false information on the web.