If we had used the same search strategy in
Altavista, this would have been the result:
hot air balloons had 6,144,394 hits
hot air balloon had 11,558,886 hits
"hot air balloon" had 17,988 hits
"hot air balloons" had 7,735 hits
Why the difference?
The Altavista search engine looks at over 200
Gigabytes of data, far more than Yahoo, and your
search strategy must be aware of this.
Because Altavista looks at pages and the pages
linked to pages, it finds more duplicates than
It also will include pages that have only two or
only one of the words you present it with, when
they are not in quotes or you do not insist that
all words appear, by putting a plus sign in front
of them like this: +hot +air +balloons. When
a lot of pages are on the web, you may not notice
this at first, because Altavista ranks the pages,
choosing what it feels are the best 200 pages. This
ranking will present you with pages with all three
words before the pages with just one or two.
Altavista also does not have automatic
truncation, so that balloon does not pick up
ballooning. You have to specify that you
want truncation by placing a wildcard character
* at the end of a word or word root.
"hot air balloon*" had 28,409 hits.
Because of this, you will need to modify your
search in Altavista, so you will find the pages of
most interest to you.
Our Results in Altavista:
+"hot air balloon*" +science had 4244 hits
+"hot air balloons" +science had 1312 hits
+"hot air balloons" +science +project had 535
+"hot air balloons" +"science project*" had 48
NOTE: This search was conducted in August, 1998.
Trying it at another time will yield slightly
different results, but the magnitude should be the