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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Search Engines, Frames, ASP

    I'm working on a site that's currently in frames and uses ASP. It's a pretty large ecommerce site. When the site was re-done a few months ago, the search engines were not a priority... now they are. Right now, only the base url shows up for most search engines, and it only says "This site requires a browser capable of displaying frames" in the listing. I have since improved the Title of the frames page and added a Meta Description and Keywords.

    1: Will getting rid of frames help get better search engine rankings? They aren't necessary, but are preferred by the owner. It seems to me like they will (I've tried to read everything I can about all this... it can be confusing), but I'm having a difficult time getting that message across. Do frames get in the way of search engine indexing?

    2: I also would like to have some "index" pages that simply have links to groups of products that we have, say for each manufacturer. This seems like it would help because I'd be able to include many keywords and links on these pages. Would this help?

    3: I have noticed that some competitors also use ASP and when you search for a certain product, it will show up even if it's a dynamically driven page. I know that search engines are beginning to index ASP, but what stage are they at and what can I do to make sure search engines index at least some of those pages?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Goof's Avatar
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    1) Yes - the spiders will generally try to follow every link on your homepage, so to actually GIVE them links to follow would benefit the owner greatly ! Frames are also very user-unfriendly because they prohibit bookmarking any page except for the homepage (what a drag, eh?). I would say to get rid of the frames ASAP.

    2) I would think so - especially if your client's products don't change too often. The text in the links would get indexed and your client's site might show up on product searches! Wouldn't that be cool?

    3) It's impossible for spiders to search ASP code because they never see it (which is the nature of any server-side language). What happens is that smart ASP-coders will use the query string to store data that might want to be bookmarked or searched by spiders. For instance, if I sell toothpaste, and the Crest Ultra-White was the 3rd product entered into my database, I'd want to reference it as "toothpaste.com/products.asp?id=3". This means that the ID value is passed through the query string and is picked up when users bookmark or when spiders crawl through my site. The query string is the only way to go in my opinion (unless you don't want the data viewed - such as e-mail forms or other data-sensative pages).

    Hope that helps,
    Goof
    Nathan Rutman
    A slightly offbeat creative.

  3. #3
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Search engines don't care about the extension used on your files.

    .asp, .html, .fbi, .canola_oil

    It makes no difference.

    What does make a difference to some, but less now, is how you structure your URL.

    For search engine, and people, friendly URLs I recommend you read my article on them (linked in my signature).

    And yes, lose the frames.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
    My Guide to Building a Successful Website
    My Blog|My Webmaster Forums

  4. #4
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    1) I know there are ways around that, but it just seems like a hassle.

    2) Actually, the products change pretty regularly... it's quite a task just to keep up with that. Still, I think it would be worthwhile... We'd be indexing down to categories. One the ACME page there would be categories like Acme > Widgets. That link would lead to a keyword search and find all the Acme Widgets. So, if someone searches for "Acme Widgets" we'll show up... currently we don't =>

    Right now, the main menu on our site is on an Active Server Page (www.oursite.com/products.asp?UID=123). The "UID=123" is a User Id that's assigned when someone arrives at the site. When you first get to that page, there are 10 main categories that show... the user clicks one and sub-categories appear... then they click again and sub-sub-categories appear. The Active Server Page is pulling the menu information from a .dat file. My guess is that spiders can't index that (and even if they did, they'd only be indexing the main page within the frame).

    3) I didn't write the ASP and my knowledge of it is limited - just fyi. The URL for a product on our site looks like this... http://www.oursite.com/item.asp?UID=123&No=456 ...

    One site that has single products coming up in search engines has the exact format you listed... another is like this... http://www.theirsite.com/x/shop/list.asp?merchant=theirsite&sec=ACME

    Might ours eventually show up once we get rid of frames? I'm really not understanding this last part. Thanks, though!
    Last edited by halo; Jul 30, 2002 at 14:04.

  5. #5
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    Wink frames and tables

    Are tables treated the same way as frames with regard to search engine spidering? I've gone to mostly tables as it makes my site look nicer, but I've noticed the numbers have dropped quite a bit. Thanks.

  6. #6
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    tables are easily handled by search engines.


    Get rid of that UID in your URL, put it in a cookie. Having someone like that in a URL, especially when it changes often, is search engine poison.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
    My Guide to Building a Successful Website
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  7. #7
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    Aspen - It turns out we "can't" use cookies... the company that set up the site doesn't use them on any of the sites they do for security reasons of some sort. Maybe once I learn more about ASP, I can look into that...

    What do you think about XQASP? Seems like other search engines will follow Google's lead... so it's probably not worth it?

    Looks like I will be able to get rid of frames... so that and the manufacturer pages should help.

  8. #8
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Cookies are not a security risk. People worry that they are used to track them online, but unless someone has physical access to your computer they can't read your cookies (access over an insecure LAN would be the same thing). Cookies can only be read by the domain that made them, officially, who knows what kind of bugs lie in IE though. Even so, you don't use a cookie to store a CC number, you store a session identifier. If this company thinks that that is a security risk its time to find a new company.

    The bottom line is that if you force a session identifier in your URL you might as well not even submit to search engines (you could still submit to directories).
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
    My Guide to Building a Successful Website
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  9. #9
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    I understand all that... but we can't just find someone else.

    So, since we have a session identifier in the URL, the engines won't find anything beyond the front page?

  10. #10
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    If you do a serverside redirect on the front page to insert the session variable, they probably won't even see that.

    Well actually the search engines see the page, they just see it with the session URL attached, and since no one links to that exact URL, then your link popularity will be abysmal and while you may be listed, you won't be listed highly.

    If there is one thing you can do to hurt your SE ranking its changing your URL structure, and you do that on every unique visit. Google has an array of spidering robots, usually your site is visited by more than 1 at once. They will all find different URLs and this may cause them to think your site spam and not list it at all.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
    My Guide to Building a Successful Website
    My Blog|My Webmaster Forums


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