Search Me

I'm becoming rather disappointed in the Internet's search engines. The other day, I couldn't find my keys, and neither could any of them.

So that's a lame way to start a column (by the way, you can also modify that as a pickup line "The search engine couldn't find my phone number, could I have yours?" Can you believe I'm giving this stuff away?) The truth is, the search engine could be the most essential tool on the Internet today. Coming in a close second would have to be determining your name in hieroglyphics.

Even with an accurate search engine and compass, you can't find exactly what you want. But here are a couple of the good ones we use practically every day:

1. http://www.google.com -- It's the best. It's simple and you can find most anything -- well, not your car keys (I promise, that's the last reference to that pathetic joke).

2. http://www.altavista.com -- I think I could say the exact same thing about this one as google.com.

3. http://www.northernlight.com, -- These are all going to look the same. They are search engines, it's not as if you can say much about a search engine.

4. http://www.yahoo.com -- Hey I'm going to get a drink, would you like something?

5. http://www.lycos.com -- Blah, blah, blah, blah.

These are the five search engines we feel are the most widely used and well-known. After designing a site, we register the URLs through these sites in hopes that one day, we will be able to search for our page and actually find it. If not, it will be lost forever, kind of like old socks or Rick Springfield.

What makes a search engine good? It really has to do with the amount of effort spent maintaining and scavenging through sites. Considering the amount of news sites, the people at search engine station, which always seems to sit near a petting zoo, work endless hours updating and making sure current stuff always keeps popping up.

You know how sometimes you try to find something, and you click on the URL, and it gives you a "HTTP Error 404-404 Not Found" message? You've found a dead link, the kryptonite to a search engine. You're probably not very happy that the EXACT page you want now doesn't even exist. You may have even contemplated throwing your computer away, or even worse, trying that really bad pickup line (if you can't remember it, DON'T LOOK TO THE BEGINNING OF THIS COLUMN. You don't want to remember it).

For those of you who want to use the pickup line or design Web sites, there are ways to get your Web site noticed on these search engines. First, you must register your site, which entails going to the engine home page and finding something that says "Register your URL," "Recommend a site" or "Spell your name in hieroglyphics."

The next step is adding keywords within your html code. This can be done with what is known as a META tag. I'd like to use this in a complete sentence: "YESTERDAY I META REALLY PRETTY GIRL NAMED MABEL WHO DIDN'T FALL FOR THE PICKUP LINE." Here's an example: Of course, these would be the keywords to find this Web page. Place this line of code within your

tags at the top of your page.

Usually, you probably need to only put these keywords on your homepage -- that's the page you want people going to first, right? If you want to make sure you are always going to be on top -- of the search engine lists, at least -- visit The Spider's Apprentice and office.com.

After reading those pages, you will probably be able to find Rick Springfield. Let me know how Jessie's girl is doing, will ya? I need to try those pickup lines again.