A world of information at your fingertips, and what's the first thing you do? Search for yourself of course.. Whether it's out of curiosity, or your own big brother style internet conspiracy theory, people like to find out what the world knows about them.

According to a 2004 survey by MSN and Harris Interactive, more people search for themselves on search engines than they do others. 39% of people to be precise, with 26% seeking out a family member, and 36% search for friends they have lost touch with.

So what did you find when you searched for yourself? Published articles perhaps? Committee listings for a club? Did you find anyone searching for you...? Chances are you didn't.

99% of large internet registers for finding friends and family are not searchable through search engines. Spiders (the robots that run around collecting documents for the search engines) can not register on a site, can not use search features, or perform any other amazing feats. They require an openly available document to retreive information. The only way people can find each other through a registry is if they both, or perhaps one and a talkative mutual friend, register at the same place, as they certainly won't be getting a search engines help to find each other. Even if you are fortunate enough to have both people registered on the same site (keeping in mind that there's 100's of registries), there's sometimes a fee involved just to make contact.

So how can you use the search engines to your advantage? After all, the sheer numbers of people searching for themselves and others on search engines is amazing, and demands attention. The answer may be as simple as your ISP. Did you get a free 5-10MB hosting account when you signed up for your internet connection? Have you ever used it? If you're searching for someone, or if someone is searching for you, a home page can be a great way of helping those using search engines to find each other. A simple page with some details about yourself, and a page dedicated to each person you are looking to regain contact with, all published on your free web space. With just a little bit of knowledge about web sites and search engines, you can have them beating down your door to grab your pages, and you're away.

Now I understand that this may seem like a difficult task to some who haven't done much in the way of web publishing, but trust me when I say it's not very difficult at all. If you can use a word processor, you can make a web page. There is plenty of information on the internet about how to build a simple page, and how to get listed in search engines, so we won't even try to cover it here.

Now if those you are seeking are one of 39% who search for themselves, or one of 36% of people are searching for you, you have a simple way of finding each other and making contact for free - just don't forget to put some contact details on your web site!

May 2005 :: Article 1.04