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Metasearch Engines

If any one search engine covers only a fraction of the web, how can you perform a comprehensive search? One solution is the metasearch engine. This type of search engine submits your search to several search engines and then compiles the various results sets into one results list. This page introduces you to a couple of the best metasearch engines.

You should use metasearch engines with caution. A metasearch engine is only as good as the search engine it queries, and the majority of metasearch engines query distinctly second rate sources. Another problem is paid listings. You will have seen 'sponsored links' in the results of search engines. These are paid entries in the search engine index, and often will not be a great deal of use. In metasearch engine results, these links will be mixed in with the results list without any markers.

Dogpile and MetaCrawler

Dogpile and MetaCrawler are essentially the same metasearch engine with different interfaces. They will return results from Google, Yahoo, Teoma, AltaVista and Ask Jeeves amongst others. They use clustering technology, which groups results into categories as well as presenting the usual results list. The categories are presented as an expandable tree of categories to the left of the main results - you can drill down through from broad categories to specific topics until you arrive at suitable results. This is particularly useful if your researching a subject you are unfamiliar with and are not sure what keywords to use.

By default results are integrated into one list ranked by relevance. However, we recommend that you select the option to view results grouped by search engine. This way you can ignore results from Looksmart and Overture, Wisenut and FindWhat which are dominated by paid listings.

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