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Search for the Keys Online!
by Mike Banks Valentine
My wife often waits until she is late for an appointment to start looking for her car keys. They are never in her purse or on the kitchen table by the back door where she drops everything else she had in her hands when she came in from the car the last time she drove it. For some reason the keys always end up in the bathroom, under a towel on the sink- top, or under the recliner in the living room, where she collapsed after a long rough workday the evening before.
I often suggest we look for the keys after dinner, so that she can avoid the frantic search the next morning. She'll ask me to drop what I'm doing in the a.m., whether I'm brush- ing my teeth or dressing, to help her look for them. This is probably normal for a lot of people. But she panics before actually searching for the keys and asks me if I know where they are!
The thing that always irks me beyond belief is that after rousting ME out of bed on my day off to help her look for them, SHE finds them just as I stumble to the kitchen and start to look near the coffee pot, (so that I can sneak a quick morning "wake-cup".) This has some parallels with business on the web and searching the internet for keys to your problems. I'm often fascinated with the call from a frantic, harried client asking me to quickly find them some information on the latest software for their business online, or the writer asking how to find translators on the web . . . or my friend looking for the perfect graphics online for their Powerpoint presentation tomorrow. The key is . . . just search for it! I'm a big proponent of search engines and search engine optimization of business web sites. I study the latest news on ranking well in the various engines and directories. I find it fascinating that some webmasters won't bother with this important task when I'm doing a web search for say . . . financial humor, as I was last night. That search yielded the same top result repeatedly in several search engines because the owner of ONE site made it important enough to insert a few "key" words, description and title metatags in his HTML. This week I had a client call to ask me to search for MFCC license information (Marriage, Family and Child Counselor). I told them, "Hang on, I'm online now, I'll take a look." In about 30 seconds I was on a state government licensure listing site, where we confirmed that a therapist was NOT licensed in California. In less time than it took him to call me, we had "keyed in" on an answer to his question. Now what confuses me is . . . why didn't he just log on and do that web search himself? We have abundant information at our fingertips and fail to use the incredible tools at hand. Search engines really do a great job of turning up the infor- mation you want and people are reluctant to use them. My advice for great search results is simple: Find a search engine that works well for you (You didn't know there were more than one?) Don't rely on your default search engine built into your browser. MSN search comes as the default setting on all Internet Explorer browsers. Go to or to and get out of the default mode to find effective results. Use ALL the important word relevant to your needs while dropping common words like "the", "best" and "stuff" and use names, dates, states and rates to get relevant results from your queries. Instead of typing "Ford Trucks" into the search engine text box when seeking prices, type "2001 Ford Lariat Longbed 4x4 prices" PLEASE don't wake me up at 6am to help you look for You've already got the keys and I haven't had my coffee yet! CRACK! Call the web developer. POP! Research new resources. WHOOSH! Sign up for more classes BOOM! Go clean up the mess!
-------------------------------------------------------- WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet Weekly Ezine emphasizing small business on the Internet e-tutorial online at: By week's end you're ready expand your business to the web! --------------------------------------------------------
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July 16, 2001