Zerx Help

General information about searching Zerx

    For simple searches, type the words of interest into the search box and click the button labeled "Zerx it!". Zerx will return web sites that contain all the words of interest on the site. Zerx will list the results using our patent pending ranking algorithm, which orders the sites by relevance to your query.

    If your search does not produce good results, then rethink the words you are searching for. Try to think of words that you would expect to be on the web site(s) you are looking for. For example: If you are looking to buy tickets for a vacation, you might want to search for "tickets travel" or for better quality results you can just search for "travel". Zerx is a unique search engine in that it sometimes works better with less specific search words.

What syntax is supported for searches?

    By default, Zerx will find web sites that contain all the words you list. Sometimes you will need more control over your searches in order to refine the search for better results. This is why Zerx includes boolean operator logic to add more precision to your searches.

    The operators allowed by Zerx are and (+) or (?) and not (-).

    By default, the "+" (and) operator is used when no operator is specified, thus it may be omitted. The more words you require to be in a resulting web site, the fewer results that will be returned on your search.

    The "?" (or) operator is different in that it allows the user to specify "optional" words by placing a question mark (?) before words that are desired to be in the resulting documents, but are not required to be there. Optional words will improve the ranking of documents containing those words. Specifying an optional word does not reduce the number of sites that are returned on a search.

    The "-" (not) operator is used to narrow results to exclude sites that contain the specified word. This is useful for narrowing searches when a search term(s) has multiple meanings (or uses) in the english language. For example, a search for "Jordan" will result in sites about the country Jordan intermingled with basketball sites. If the search was intended to find sites about the country Jordan, then you may want to narrow the search by excluding basketball sites. This would be done by searching for: "Jordan -basketball".

What does "Refine" and "Related" links do on the results page?

    In the search results, each site will have two links associated with it. These are used to refine (narrow) a search or to find (build) categories of sites.

    The first link is the "Refine search using this site" link. By selecting this link, the results will be narrowed down by including only other sites that are related to the specified site. For example, you may want to narrow a search for "automobile" down by finding only sites related to a "classic car" site in the results. This will reduce the sites in the results to ones that both have the word "automobile" in it and is related to the classic car site.

    The second link is the "Show all related sites" link. This is used to list sites that are related (in some way) to the selected site. In a sense, you can build your own "category" around a site. After the results are returned containing all the related sites, you can then "refine" your "category" by selecting a second site. This will return web sites that are related to both of the selected sites, thus making the "category" more specific. This can be done multiple times for building a more refined category.

    These two features are useful for finding related web sites that you might be interested in. For example, you can show the related sites to your favorite musician/band web site, and then after getting the results, you can then refine the search using a different band that you like. By showing the web sites that have a common relationship to the two band web sites, you will have a refined list of band and music web sites. You can then look through the list of web sites for bands that you may have never heard of before. Since it is related to the bands you like, you may want to take a listen to that band as well.

What is a Concept Search?

    The Zerx search form has a button for normal searches ("Zerx it!") and a button for concept searches ("Concept Zerx it!"). A "Zerx it!" search is the Zerx default for a normal web search. A normal search will return only the sites that match exactly your search terms entered. For most searches, this should work very well, but some times you might want to view sites that are conceptually related to a search term. That is where the "Concept Zerx it!" button may work better.

    The concept search will not only return the sites that match the query, but will also list sites that are highly related to what you are searching for. Zerx will add sites to the results that it thinks will be relevant based on the search terms, even though the site does not contain the search terms.

    Sometimes the concept search will produce nearly identical results to a normal search (in cases where the search terms were very general and zerx can build an excellent list of results) or in some cases the concept search will be radically different (in cases where the search terms were very specific and there are a lot of sites that are conceptually related). The best way to get a feel for how the "Concept Zerx it!" works is to just try a variety of searches and explore the results.

How do I add my site to Zerx?

    Zerx is conceptually different from internet directories and traditional search engines. Directories rely heavily on submissions for new site additions. Traditional search engines spider the web to find out many of the URLs in the database, but they also rely on submissions in order to include sites that do not have links to them anywhere on the web.

    Zerx sits in a void, between search engines and directories. The sites included in our search are found by spidering the web. Sites included must meet certain criteria, which are determined by our spiders. These criteria include a minimal link popularity, certain spam filters, and a few other requirements. Meeting these criteria ensure that Zerx includes quality sites, reduces spam, and produces better results.

    With this said, there are still certain sites which Zerx misses which should be included in the directory. This is because we are still in beta, and have been slowly ramping up the size of the database in parallel with development. If you have a popular site which is not included in our directory then chances are it will eventually be in by the time we exit betatest.

    If you have searched for your site (either by entering the name or the URL in a search) and your site is not in our database, but you feel it should be, then click the 'poor' feedback button on the results page. This will help us to find areas of the web where our spiders may not be hitting. The database is refreshed monthly so it will, on average, be about 6 weeks before the URL will show up in the database.

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