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How to Narrow Your Internet Search for Images and Videos

If you want to quickly find a specific type of image or video file on the Web, there are ways to speed up your search. Vertical search engines and other file-type-specific sites (such as YouTube) can make your life easier looking for image and video files. And if you can find the specific file, you can be sure it has been indexed by the search engine.

Searching for images on the Internet

To search for image files, you can click the Images link located near the search box on all of the major search engines and then type in your search terms. Doing this restricts your search results to show only image files (file types such as JPEG and GIF, which include photos, diagrams, drawings, stars, lines — basically any static graphic on a Web page).

Besides the entertainment value of seeing tons of pictures on any subject, image searches also give you an easy way to make sure that the images on your Web site have been indexed by the search engine. For example, if you have a photo of a ten-gallon jar of peanut butter on your Web site, you can search for it by clicking Images and then typing descriptive text about your image, like peanut butter jar. If your webmaster gave the image an ALT attribute (text that displays in place of an image if it cannot display for some reason) like “Ten-gallon peanut butter jar,” you can use the ALT attribute as your search query. If the search engine spidered your Web site and found the image, it also should have indexed the ALT attribute.

To really target your search, you can first tell the search engine to look only within your Web site: [site:www.yourdomain.com “Ten-gallon peanut butter jar”]. Using quotation marks (" ") around the query tells the search engine to return only pages with that exact text on them.

Searching for videos

Videos are being used more and more inside Web sites. Sites like YouTube store millions of videos that can be watched by anyone, anywhere, on nearly any subject. You can search within these sites for videos, but you can also do a broader video search using a vertical search engine.

From the Google, Yahoo!, or Microsoft Live Search page, click the Videos link near the search box and then type in your search terms. Your results only include video files that have been indexed by that search engine and that match your search terms.

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