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Q: Cold Fusion and Search Engines ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Cold Fusion and Search Engines
Category: Computers > Algorithms
Asked by: circlesthree-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 12 Mar 2004 13:15 PST
Expires: 11 Apr 2004 14:15 PDT
Question ID: 316104
Is it true that a site that is predominantly in Cold Fusion cannot be
adequately searched by the search engines and that there is no hope
of this situation improving in the near future? Is CFM obsolete
because of this? What do you suggest to do other than tearing down and
rebuilding an entire site in straight html?

Clarification of Question by circlesthree-ga on 12 Mar 2004 13:38 PST
Is it true that a site that is predominantly in Cold Fusion cannot be
adequately searched by the search engines and that there is no hope
of this situation improving in the near future? Is CFM obsolete
because of this? What do you suggest to do other than tearing down and
rebuilding an entire site in straight html? The site in question is

Request for Question Clarification by robertskelton-ga on 15 Mar 2004 12:49 PST
I checked 5 pages at random from your site, and all are indexed by
Google. So it would appear that the answer to your question is that
Google can index cold fusion sites, including yours.

Clarification of Question by circlesthree-ga on 15 Mar 2004 16:26 PST
Hi Robert,

Thanks for checking this. We don't seem to come up in any rankings,
even for a keyword search on Urantia or The Urantia Book which is what
our site is based on. Yet our site is rich with content. What, in your
opinion is the reason for this. Is it the frames? Someone has
suggested that our front page is predominantly images and not words
because of the frames, and it is for this reason that we are not
getting cataloged properly. The concept is that the content rich pages
are not really being spidered, that the spiders get stuck at the
frames and cold fusion. Another suggestion is that our meta tags are
not good at explaining what's on that page. We are just at a loss as
to know how to fix this problem and we're frustrated with chasing our
tail. Right now it's been suggested that we completely rebuild our
site in HTML but we don't want to do that if it's really not
Subject: Re: Cold Fusion and Search Engines
Answered By: serenata-ga on 15 Mar 2004 20:14 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Circlesthree ~

For your search term "Urantia" (without the quotation marks), your
site,, is currently ranked 54 in Google's search
engine results pages (SERPs).
   - ://

When you include the quotation marks, it is ranked 48th in Google's SERPs,
   - ://

For the search term "Urantia Book", your site is ranked 18th (on the second page),
   - ://

In addition, you currently have a PageRank of 5/10. You can check your
PageRank using Google's toolbar, provided you have a Windows operating
system and use Internet Explorer. You can download the Google toolbar

Links to Your Site

Google's PageRank is weighted heavily by links TO your site. Google
explains PageRank in its "Our Search: Google Technology",

     " PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the
       web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of
       an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets
       a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for
       page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume
       of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the
       page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are
       themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to
       make other pages "important."
   - ://

As you can see, there are currently 30 links of sites with a PageRank
of 4/10 or higher linked to your site (from the "pages that link to"),
   - ://

and there are 1,810 pages that "contain the term" (generally, those
sites with a PageRank of lower than 4/10,
   - ://

Also note that some of those links (both on the "contain" and "linked
to" sections) are from your own site; and yes, they do contribute to

Updating content as well as adding RELEVANT links can always help with
your SERPs ranking, but you are ranked fairly high already. Remember,
everyone would like to be on the first page of results, and to get
there, you will no doubt have to make some changes to your present
design; otherwise you may have reached as high as you can with your
present site.

The Use Of Frames

You can use Google's search to check which of your site's pages are
indexed by typing "" (without the quotation
marks) in the search bar. This enables you to see all the pages of
your site that have been indexed by Google.

You might notice that it does not index your entire framed page, but
rather, the various frames, for instance, I found this,


and this,

and many pages like this, 

among your pages in Google's index.

The problem is, of course, that these pages as indexed are not in the
context you intended your visitors to see. Moreover, depending on the
browser your visitors may be using, they may not even be able to
actually view the pages as you intended, because some browser software
does not support frames. There is also the matter of graphics without
text content, which means anyone browsing your site with graphics
disabled (such as those on a slower dialup or smaller notebooks or
PDAs) will encounter a site which makes little sense to them.

Google suggests downloading and using the Lynx browser (a test
browser) which will give you some idea of what a search engine crawler

     "Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site,
      because most search engine spiders see your site much
      as Lynx would. If fancy features such as Javascript,
      cookies, session ID's, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep
      you from seeing all of your site in a text browser,
      then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling
      your site." [From Technical Guidelines]
   - ://

Or you can try the Lynx simulator, which isn't quite the same, but
will give you an idea of what they may be encountering. You can find
the Lynx simulator here,

What they're seeing for your left navigation is this:

   [left_news.gif] [left_heart.gif] 
       Hubble Slide Show
       Pathways To Peace
       The Interview With God

Or for your page,,

 [USEMAP:title_discover_search.jpg] [splash_quote_off.gif] 
   [left_upper_button.gif] [top_ubook_off.gif] [top_world_off.gif]
   [top_gallery_off.gif] [top_family_off.gif] [top_support_off.gif]


The above are not very helpful to search engine crawlers or certain
visitors, are they?

In addition to the above, here's what Google says about the use of
frames in its "Reasons your site may not be included.",

     "Your page uses frames. Google supports frames to the
      extent that it can. Frames tend to cause problems with
      search engines, bookmarks, emailing links and so on,
      because frames don't fit the conceptual model of the
      web (every page corresponds to a single URL). If a user's
      query matches the site as a whole, Google returns the
      frame set. If a user's query matches an individual page
      on the site, Google returns that page. That individual
      page is not displayed in a frame -- because there may be
      no frame set corresponding to that page."
   - ://

Moreover, every search engine optimist and design specialist will tell
you that there is no reason to use frames, that there are better and
more efficient ways to design your site than the use of frames.

For instance, Jill Whalen, of High, 

Webmaster World's advice on the use of frames (using the search term "frames"),

     "Deprecated - Search Engine Submission"

     "HTML and Browsers"

     "Search Engines and Frames" by Danny Sullivan, Editor,
      Search Engine Watch, December 5, 2000

And from designers, including the World Wide Consortium on web standards (W3C),

and its Contents for Web Accessibility Guidelines,

and Jakob Nielsen (considered one of the foremost experts on
user-friendliness and usability) on frames in Top Ten Mistakes in Web
Design (Alertbox),

In all fairness, he does say the use of frames is wrong "most of the
time" in his article, "Frames Suck Most of the Time",

As you can see, nobody really advocates the use of frames, and with
minimal adjustments, you can utilize deprecating CSS to achieve the
same thing you are currently trying to achieve by the use of frames.

HTML - Back to the Basics

Cold Fusion is definitely NOT one of the better website tools, and
there can be problems with using it to design web pages, but if it is
your "weapon" of choice, you should also know enough HTML to clean up
the proprietary coding for many reasons, among them the bloated file
sizes it produces with its proprietary coding.

If you're wondering about the importance of good HTML, Shari Thurow,
one of the leading authorities in web design and search engine
optimization (and author of the book "Search Engine Visibility"),
recently made the following observation with regard to HTML:

     "Clean HTML is absolutely imperative for search engine
      indexing. Browsers are extremely forgiving when it comes
      to displaying pages with "unclean" HTML (unclosed tags,
      no quotation marks, etc.).  Search engine spiders are
      not so forgiving.  Even something as simple as a missing
      quotation mark on the <.a href="page.html"> can cause a
      spider to not index text or a link." (See: Link Exchange
      Digest, July 3, 2003, "Clean HTML")

She explained how errors in HTML can affect your ability to be
indexed, and ultimately, ranked.

While your ranking isn't too bad now, it does beg the question of how
good it *could* be if you incorporated good HTML practices.

Google makes the following recommendations in its Guidelines,

     "* Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links.
        Every page should be reachable from at least one
        static text link.
      * Offer a site map to your users with links that point
        to the important parts of your site. If the site map
        is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break
        the site map into separate pages.
      * Create a useful, information-rich site and write pages
        that clearly and accurately describe your content.
      * Think about the words users would type to find your
        pages, and make sure that your site actually includes
        those words within it.
      * Try to use text instead of images to display important
        names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn't
        recognize text contained in images.
      * Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive
        and accurate.
      * Check for broken links and correct HTML.
      * If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL con-
        tains a '?' character), be aware that not every search
        engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static
        pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the
        number of them small."
   - ://

You can optimize the design of your website and it will only help in
the long run for your SERPs placement.

Missing Elements of Good Design

1. Alt Tags.

You really need to add ALT tags to those graphic links so search
engine crawlers and visitors who are not seeing what you intended have
a navigation system to follow.

2. DOCTYPE Declaration

DOCTYPES are essential to the proper rendering and functioning of web
documents in compliant browsers. It is also essential for the search
engines to understand and follow the coding contained on your pages.

DOCTYPE is explained and discussed further in "A List Apart",

and in Web Design Group's article, "Choosing a DOCtype",

You do not have a DOCTYPE Declaration and you should add one to every
page on your site.

Without a stated DOCTYPE Declaration, your visitor interprets your
page according to the DOCTYPE of the last site he visited. If it
doesn't match, the results could be disastrous.

Those are all valid arguments for proper HTML design.


Your site's pages are spidered, but they're not always showing up for
the search terms you might like because of problems with HTML.

Proper use of Title and ALT tags, as well as text content for those
pages will help in your SERPs rankings. The use of frames in your site
isn't keeping it from being indexed, but it surely does create
problems for a lot of visitors and some search engines. Changes could
be accomplished using other methods, either the use of tables or CSS,
or both, to make your site more search engine and user friendly.

Many of your pages are indexed and ranked, some as recently as March
13th (the day before yesterday), but it could be a better experience
if you seriously consider a redesign.

If you pay attention to the recommendations and suggestions Google
offers to webmasters, it will and can help your SERPs ranking even

Important Google Links For Your Reference

I am including important links from Google's site. This information
will help you understand Google's goals and responsibility to the web
searcher (and not the webmaster or site owner).

Webmasters who follow the guidelines and avoid Google's "Thou shalt
nots" usually have no problem getting listed and showing up under the
search terms they desire.

   * Google Today (absolutely the best information you
     can read about the "how and why" of Google's results
     - ://

   * How Do I Get My Site Listed on Google?
     - ://

   * My Web Pages Are Not Currently Listed (a good 'primer'
     on how and why Google works so well)
     - ://

   * PageRank Information (covers both Google's PageRank and
     - ://

   * Webmaster Guidelines (contains both the dos and don'ts)
     - ://

   * Google Facts & Fiction (can  you buy your way to a
     high ranking in Google?)
     - ://

   * Search Engine Optimizers (some good advice on what to look
     for if you're going to hire a Search Engine Optimizer)
     - ://

   * Frequently Asked Questions (pretty much what it says, but
     definitely worth wading through)
     - ://

   * Remove Content from Google's Index (just in case you feel
     a burning need to start all over again)
     - ://

Other Sources of Information

There is also good information from many of the top search engine
optimization experts, such as

   * Detlev Johnson, Search Engine Guide

   * Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Watch

   * Jill Whalen, High Rankings

   * Shari Thurow, Web Pro News (and quoted all over the Internet)

who all have columns or newsletters to which you can subscribe and
keep abreast of the best way to use good content for better
positioning in search engine results.

In addition, Webmaster World - - has
discussion boards on most of the search engines. While some of the
discussions are anecdotal and/or questions for information, there is
usually enough discussion to keep abreast of what seems to be

There is an entire section devoted to Google at:

It never hurts to keep track of the discussions; but remember, trying
to optimize for search engines only is like trying to hit a moving
target. You'll notice among the more experienced contributors to the
discussions - plus the SEO experts listed above - that there really is
no substitute for content, relevant links and good HTML.

Search Terms

Google search:
   * Urantia
   * Urantia Book
   * frames + SEO
   * frames + usability

Plus the individual searches on the following sites, which are mentioned above:

   * Webmaster World
   * Search Engine Watch
   * High

In addition to the above, I used resources and bookmarks for material
used in my regular day-to-day business.

I hope this addresses your questions, but if not, just let me know,
and I'll try to clarify.

Warm regards,

Google Answers Researcher
circlesthree-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

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