In the other case, annoyed that I couldn't locate the previous question, I asked how to locate duplicate questions. That question was a duplicate, as well, but the previous poster talked about "duplicates", which doesn't show up in searches for "duplicate", and they tagged their question [exact-duplicate] rather than [duplicate].
This is why tags are so key. I'm a huge proponent of proper categorization, particularly on Meta, as it's the main support channel for the whole operation. Personally, I prefer to search by tags instead of using the search box because the results are normally far more useful and relevant.
We're all waiting desperately for a tag synonym system so questions are grouped together in a way that you can find them. The two tags you mentioned were clearly missed in my recent cleanup effort, so for that I apologize.
Another thing when it comes to finding duplicates, which is of a completely different nature than tags, is familiarity with the site itself. I would say the majority of closing as a duplicate on Meta happens as a result of that.
Here on Meta, there aren't as many different topics started, so there are a lot of users that know what content exists, what doesn't, what is a duplicate, etc. It's also far more likely that a popular question was asked by a user who has vote-to-close powers.
Knowing exactly what you're looking for before starting to look makes it far, far easier to find the original question. Unfortunately, you'll have to gain this experience on your own; it's not really transferable.