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How to Use Search Engines and Metasearch Engines

Updated on March 14, 2013

By Joan Whetzel

Trying to find information on the internet can be overwhelming and time consuming, what with all the websites out there. And the Web keeps expanding with new websites being added daily. Search Engines and Metasearch engines are the main ways of filtering through the mega-metropolis of information in order to find what we're looking for.

What Are Search Engines And Metasearch Engines?

Opening up the internet and look at the entire selection of websites available all at once us a bit like opening every drawer of a library card catalog and dumping all the cards into a heap. Imagine trying to find the book you wanted from such a random, disorganized mountain of cards strewn across the floor, all higgledy-piggledy.

If we were to use this approach to locate information on the internet, without the help of a search engine or metasearch engine, it would be even more difficult than rummaging through a pile of jumbled up library cards because you'd be trying to track down pages in a library that spans an entire globe, rather than just one building. That's where search engines and metasearch engines come in. They are able to rifle through the "card catalog" in rapid fire fashion, and pull up a list of the web pages that most closely fit the parameters of your library search.

Search engines provide a space for users to type in their search parameters. The search engine searches through its vast collection of website databases, using titles, text, keywords and phrases to locate to create list of the most likely candidates. The whole process takes the tiniest fraction of a second. Metasearch engines works in a similar manner, but instead of providing users with a list of websites, the metasearch engine compiles a list of other search engines and databases that have the highest concentration of information or websites in the topic or category in which the user is searching. Since no website can index every piece of information available and no user wants to perform a search on multiple search engines, the metasearch engines perform this task using the same rapid fire approach as the search engines looking for individual sites. The metasearch engines are a broader method for locating information, where search engines are more specific.

When beginning an internet search, always begin with the search engine that you are most familiar with. If you aren't finding exactly what you need, expand the search to other search engines. If you still can't find the information, or you can't find enough information, cast your net a little wider by using one of the metasearch engines. Below are a list of some of the most commonly used search engines and metasearch engines.

  • · - search engine
  • · - search engine
  • · - search engine
  • · - metasearch
  • · - metasearch

The Yahoo logo.
The Yahoo logo. | Source

Search Engines


Yahoo is the 2nd largest search engine worldwide, garnering approximately 6.42% of the web search volume. Yahoo has joined forces with Microsoft and uses Bing to power their search engine, a partnership which began in 2009.

The Google logo.
The Google logo. | Source


Google is the most used search engine worldwide, with a web search volume standing at approximately 85.35 percent, receiving hundreds of thousands of queries daily. Google mainly hunts for text in the web pages that contain the search words.

The Bing logo.
The Bing logo. | Source


Bing began life as a search engine that was part of Microsoft. It later joined forces with Yahoo and expanded both search engines' abilities to search the internet by combining databases and search technologies.

The Web Crawler logo.
The Web Crawler logo. | Source

Metasearch Engines


MetaCrawler, a metasearch engine, combines the principal search findings for Google, Yahoo, Bing,,, MIVA, Look Smart and several other search engines in wide use. This metasearch engine also makes use of image, audio, video, news, yellow pages and white pages searches as well as text searches.

The DogPile logo.
The DogPile logo. | Source


Dogpile, another metasearch Engine, obtains search results from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask. com and as well as many other frequently used search engines. It searches audio, video and text records for search results.

There is no wrong way to do an internet search. If you really need to find the information, the more search methods you can take advantage, the better.


Goldstein, Norm, Editor. The Associated Press Stylebook. New York: Basic Books, 2004.

Media Awareness Network. How to Search the Internet Effectively. Downloaded 1/23/2012.

University of Toronto. Research Using the Internet. Downloaded 1/23/2012.

Wikipedia. List of Search Engines.


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