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 Home > Tutorials and Guides > 3-Step Guide  > Step Three: Meta-Search

Step Three - What to do if all else fails?

This section will help you diagnose and suggest possible fixes for problematic searches. At this point, you've tried Step One - Quality Search and Step Two - Difficult Search.

If you've tried Step One and Step Two and were unable to find what you are looking for, your search is can be called a "difficult" search.

Give Google on more try. This time, take a step back and realize that the key words you are using just aren't working. It might be the case that different words with the same meaning could fetch the results you need. You should try including these similar words in your search. In Google, you can do this by joining them together with 'OR' where the capitalization is necessary. Omitting the 'OR' will force all the similar words to appear in the results, which is not what you want. Here are some examples:
 

  • Locate funny stories about dogs: dogs humor OR humour OR funny
  • Find out what poscasting is: podcasting "what is" OR tutorial
  • Read real estate articles in Orlando: orlando "real estate" OR housing OR houses
  • List websites offering search help: search help OR advice OR tips OR tutorials
  • Find analyst recommendations on China stocks: stocks recommendations OR picks china OR chinese

Try out this method below. Results will open in a new window so that you can refer back to this tutorial.

Google
Opens in a new window

If that didn't help, it's time to try something other than Google. Surprisingly, Yahoo.

Another recommendation is to try metasearch engine MetaCrawler. A so-called metasearch engine grabs its results from multiple search engines, so you may find some results you couldn't find elsewhere. MetaCrawler pulls its results from Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, Ask Jeeves, About.com, MIVA (formerly FindWhat) and Looksmart.

If neither Yahoo or Metacrawler helped, give Clusty a try. Clusty is a bit different in that it will take your search phrase and automatically suggest various categories that your results might exist in. This can help you narrow down the results.

Finally, if you are still searching, you may want to try a few of the other Top 20 Search Engines we have identified. You may also want to repeat this tutorial.

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Top 20
Search Engines
  1. Google
  2. Answers.com
  3. Yahoo!
  4. Clusty.com
  5. MetaCrawler
  6. MagPortal
  7. ixQuick
  8. Netcraft
  9. Kartoo.com
  10. Teoma

Complete List