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Marketing With Frames          Print the current page
by Brian D. Chmielewski

In today's online environment, the basics of owning and operating a website are elementary for companies of all sizes. Regardless of size and budget, anyone with the ambition can purchase a domain name, choose a hosting provider and assemble a respectable website that showcases a product or service entity. And regardless of size, there are many important facets of accommodating and facilitating an e-commerce platform that do not discriminate in lessening a website's chances for being successful.

Why have information on the Web when no one can find it?
While the average person recognizes any one of the major search engines as their primary route to finding the information payoff for their search, most people will not wade through more than three or four pagestouch with their information as soon as possible or they'll choose an alternative means finding it. In comparison to telephone directories, a company that is easily recognizable via a larger or more colorful ad and that is perceived by the consumer as more respectable will get more customers than its competitors.

It works the same way with search engines. Having the ability to funnel traffic directly to your business or website from a wisely crafted message or ad depends on looking better than the competing options. Anyone can get listed with a search engine, but to win prime visibility it takes knowledge and the skill to apply that knowledge.

Over the past year, we audited the relevancy rankings of 272 Swedish companies that are represented on the stock market. Surprisingly, only 44 percent of these companies posted respectably, with positioning on the first page of AltaVista. And almost half of the companies (43 percent) had absolutely no representation within the first three pages on AltaVista. Of the companies that could be found, forty-six percent actually routed users to the page that was promised. Seventeen percent of the cases reported a 404 error or file not found, illustrating the importance of registering your pages.

  AltaVista Excite Infoseek
Trademark name found on page one 44% 34% 36%
Trademark name found on page two 6% 5% 5%
Trademark name found on page three 5% 5% 4%
Trademark name not found 43% 57% 55%

While it's not entirely surprising that many of these large companies were not found or found incorrectly within the databases of the major search engines, it is shocking when the reason for their lack of placement is revealed. Our survey revealed that thirty-seven percent of our audited websites operate in frames, and ported their traffic directly into the wrong page within their frameset. That's great news for their competition, right? So, if large publicly traded companies, with the financial capabilities to hire marketing and design teams to overcome this indexing obstacle can't get it, how can you? Here are a couple of solutions:

1. Rebuild your website outside of a frames-based environment

2. FrameFixer http://www.framefixer.com
An inexpensive turnkey software solution that will ensure that your frames-based site doesn't confuse the search engine spiders when they come to index your website. According to its developers, Framefixer is a javascript code solution that can be placed in specific locations throughout your website, ensuring that visitors coming to your website always stay within the frames environment. And this solution takes less than a minute per web page to implement.

3. Spiders do not make independent or complex decisions about where on your site to get the data for indexing. They don't understand the instructions on how to produce the frame layout. So, you have to offer some direction for the spider. The first step is to place your keyword-sensitive information within the NOFRAMES tag. This will allow your important copy to be read. Placing META Tags into to your master page solves the problem of posting inappropriate descriptions within the engines. Don't place the META tags into the navigation, advertising or logo frame. This only serves to confuse things more for your visitors, since they could potentially read your search listing description and click-through a link that is pointed to a non content frame. META tags are not supported by all of the search engines, so this is only a partial solution. This also doesn't make it any easier for users that want to view your site but are without a frames-supported browser.

Another common problem associated with frames is that many sites do not offer links within the NOFRAMES area to other pages within their site. This sends a message to the spider that your site is comprised of one page, keeping it from crawling past your master page. You could have hundreds of content-rich pages within your site, but without links for the spider to follow, they become invisible to many search engines. A NOFRAMES page with META tags may earn you a position in the engines, but once someone click through to your site, wouldn't you like them to experience it in all its splendor? Ensure this by offering a link to your main or home page on every NOFRAMES page throughout your site.

It is also important to use keywords and descriptive text to generate relevancy for your site in any search engine that doesn't support META tags. The prime focus of the text should be to tell your human visitors about your company, so using keywords should be a natural extension of this.

When organizing your HTML, place the NOFRAMES content immediately after the first FRAMESET tag. Placing it here allows your valued keywords and copy to appear near the top of the page, making it some of the first information fed to the spiders for indexing. To avoid browser incompatibility issues with this tag, you should not place this information above the first FRAMESET tag.

Create TITLE tags for every frame page. The information contained in your frame titles will not appear when being retrieved by your site's visitors, but it will be noticeable to search spiders. TITLE tags are the most important component for indexing, so use them. Place the BODY tags within your NOFRAMES tags. Taking this approach ensures that the body tags are clearly marked for any browser or search engine spider that is seeking the information contained within these tags.