For an effective search, it is best to enter as many search terms or phrases which exactly qualify the subject in which you are interested. The more precise you can be by offering more exact terms, the better the results.
Search terms entered in lower case letters are case insensitive. The use of capitalized terms (or accented letters) makes the term case sensitive. HotDog finds only the terms spelled exactly with that capitalization; hotdog finds all occurances of the term, regardless of capitalization. López only finds a word spelled exactly that way.
To group search terms into phrases, include them in double quotes. "Free Forum" finds occurences of the name Free forum, capitalized in just that way. Another way to link words into phrases is to insert punctuation between them:
To require that one of your terms be included in the document being indexed, preface (the formal term is prepend) it with a + symbol: +HotDog. There must not be a space between the + and the term.
To prohibit the inclusion of a term from a document for which you are searching, prepend it with a - symbol: -mustard. To find a reference to F. Scott Fitzgerald without reference to Gatsby: +"F. Scott Fitzgerald" -Gatsby.
With simple queries you are allowed to enter a wildcard character at the end of phrases which will substitute for any combination of letters. The asterisk (*) is AltaVista's wildcard character. For example, butt* will get all occurences of butt, butts, butter, button, etc. The asterisk cannot be used at the beginning or in the middle of words. It will substitute for up to 5 additional lower case letters.
Boolean and Proximity Searching: AltaVista supports the use of the binary operators AND, OR, NEAR and the unary operator NOT. You may use the following symbols in place of the words: & (AND), | (OR), ~ (NEAR), ! (NOT). It is a very good idea to use the words rather than the symbols, since the words are easier to remember and common to other search engines. You may enter the operators in lower or upper case letters, but it is probably best to use uppercase to make them stand out from ordinary search terms and make the logic of the search more apparent. If these words are part of the terms for which you are searching, they must be enclosed in quotes. It is best to group your terms within parentheses to avoid confusion, but this is not required.
The word "site" followed by a colon enables you to restrict your search to a specific site. To do this, use the site:sampledomain.com syntax in the Google search box.
Who links to you?
Some words, when followed by a colon, have special meanings to Google. One such word for Google is the LINK: operator. The query LINK:siteURL shows you all the pages that point to that URL. For example, LINK:www.google.com will show you all the pages that point to Google's home page. You cannot combine a LINK: search with a regular keyword search.
Is your Site Listed?
To see if your page or pages are currently listed in a search engine, use the URL: feature: URL:http://forum.myfreeforum.org