Search engines are very much a part of everyday life these days, but there are still a lot of people that are a little bit confused about how to use them. In this tip, we’re going to tackle the basics of using a search engine. (I’m not going to get into advanced search techniques in this one.)

Let’s start off with the basics. What is a search engine? A search engine is a program that searches the Internet for pages containing a particular word or phrase. The term is often used to describe sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing where you can go to look for things.

You can search by going to,, or  If you use Internet Explorer or Edge, your browser may open up to the Bing search page. If you use Chrome, you may see the Google search page, and if you use Firefox, it may open up to Yahoo.

It’s important not to confuse the search engine with the address bar on your browser.

You’ll want to type your search into the search box. Let’s start by looking for something on Google. This is known as Googling. Googling has also become a generic term for looking things up on the Internet.

I’m going to start off by Googling myself. The results are my author’s Facebook page, where you can buy my books, my blog, and an interview I did last year. Clicking on any of those results will take you to that page.

One of the first things you will notice about search engines is that you’ll get different results depending on which one you use.  Here are the results for “cheesecake recipes” using Google. You’ll notice that the first result is actually an ad from Eagle Condensed Milk.  You need to keep an eye out for at in results.

Here are the same results in Bing.

And in Yahoo.

If you don’t find what you like in one search engine, you can always try using a different one. If you know you want a particular result, you can be more specific. For example, I could search “cherry cheesecake recipe” or “chocolate cheesecake reicpe.”  If I know I saw someone in particular make the cheesecake, I could use “Martha Stewart cheesecake recipe.”

Tomorrow, in part 2 of this series, I’m going to look closer at sponsored results and tell you why you should be careful about clicking on them.

~ Cynthia