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Links and Search Engine Optimization
If you wonder why your website is hard to find in search engine it could be that your information is not "search engine friendly". The information below will make your site easier to find by most search engines. Just a few simple steps sill make a word of difference.

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If your listing doesn't show up properly in our links section it won't show up properly in our search engine and many other search engines. These search engines, and our Links section get information directly from your site. How it shows up depends on how you set up your site. Below we have listed some of the factors that may cause your website to show improperly. This information is based on the www.lets-ride.com search engine but the information will apply to thousands of other search engines also. Although some search engines don't use all of the information listed below the use of this information on your site shouldn't hurt your site. 

When a page doesn't show up properly it is usually caused by one of three things: Improper or missing "Meta Tags," "Frames," or a "Dynamic WebPages"

Meta Tags
Meta Tags are the most important things you can have on your website. They are designed to give accurate information to the search engine. These tags set in the "HTML" of the page and do not show up when the page is loaded. Many times these are left out by web designers because they are not seen by the end user. 

I like to compare "meta tags" to signs. Without them it becomes more difficult to find a street, business, or product. There are three tags that should be included on every page of every website, the "Title", the "description" and the "keywords."

Title Tag
The "Title" tag is perhaps most important. You can compare the title to a sign for a store. Do you ever see a store without a sign or with the wrong sign. If the store just opened they might not have a sign but you can bet they'll get something soon even if they write it on the window.  The title tag is used in the same way. It must be correct! 

Many software packages assign a "default" name to the page. Quite often these are not changed when creating a page. Leaving the default title tag would be the same as putting a sign in front of a business that says "Store". Can you imagine going into the mall where every business had only a sign that says "Store". How would you ever find what you were looking for?  This may seem obvious to most of us but there are thousands of websites that have made this mistake. Some are even large corporations.

To verify your site has the correct "Title" tag you must view it in the "HTML" form. If you are not the web page editor you can still view the "HTML". To do this simply go to the page, Click on the "view" menu and then select "source".  A window should open showing the "HTML" coding.  Look for a line near the top similar to the one below:

 

<title>Joe's Motorcycle Repair Shop</title>

The example above is for a fictitious website called "Joe's Motorcycle Repair Shop. Your title tag should always include the name of your business or website. You may want to go a little farther and include some information about the site. (keep it short). Joe added a bit to his title tag:

 
<title>Joe's Motorcycle Repair Shop - Expert Harley-Davidson Repairs </title>

You can't put too much here. Remember it's like a sign in front of the store. You don't have a lot of room.

Description Tag
The "description tag" is also very important and surprisingly this is the one most often left out. The description tag tell what the site is about. Here is where you tell the people about your site. You can find the description tag in the HTML using the same method as described above. It should be found near the top of the page usually below the "title" tag. Here is Joe's description tag:

 
<meta name="description" content="We specialize in repair of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. We have the expertise, equipment, and time to do your job right. Our website also contains tips that you can use to keep your bike in top running condition.">

If your site doesn't have this tag the www.lets-ride.com search engine will attempt to get a description from the web page itself. Sometimes this will result in strange and unrecognizable descriptions. Some search engines don't use the description tag, but having it on your page doesn't hurt.

Keywords Tag
The Keywords tag help the search engine find the information it's looking for. The keywords are simply a list of words that are relevant to your website. Joe's keywords tag is below:

 
<meta name="keywords" content="Motorcycle,Repair,Joe's,joe,Harley-Davidson,harley,Brighton,Colorado">

The words above are one-word descriptions of Joe's shop. If you search for a "motorcycle repair shop in Brighton Colorado" you'd have a good chance of finding Joe's website. 

Incorrect use of Meta Tags can cause problems
Some unscrupulous people try to lure you to their site by incorrect use of meta tags. One of the most common practices among biker websites is to add words like Daytona and Sturgis in their keywords to attract visitors. All tags should accurately reflect your site. If you try to deceive the www.lets-ride.com search engine your site may be banned from the search engine. Most other search engines have a similar policy.

There are also companies that will contact you to get you to the top of the search engine listings. Be very cautious of these companies! While many are very good there are far too many that will get you to the top by ignoring many rules imposed by the search engines. They may get you to the top for a few weeks only to find yourself banned a few weeks later.

Frames
Frames is a method where a web page is placed inside another web page. One page usually contains information and the other usually contains navigation tools and information. Frames can be arraigned in many different ways for many different reasons. Search engines can usually only index one frame. If you are using frames you must be sure that the main frame contains the meta tags described above. When a search engine can't find the Meta Tags it will try to index the information in the website. Since it can't index the frames it usually tries to find an alternate. Usually it finds the message designed for early browsers that didn't support frames. This message usually reads "This page uses frames, but your browser doesn't support them."

There are two methods that will correct this problem. First add Meta Tags to the main frame. If you're not sure which one is the main frame add Meta Tags to all pages. (search engines that index all pages will use them anyway). If this doesn't work you may also make an alternate index page that doesn't use frames and then submit that page to the search engine.

Dynamic WebPages
There are two kinds of Dynamic WebPages. One is a page generated by a process of another page.  When you do a search the results of the search are usually displayed on a dynamic web page. This type of page can't be indexed by the search engine.

The other type is becoming more popular on the internet. Pages that use graphics of graphic programs (such as "Flash") to create the page are dynamic web pages. Because the search engine can't read this program it can't be indexed. Most of these are inserted on a regular HTML page. If this is the case the site will be indexed properly on the www.lets-ride.com search engine provided the Meta Tags are correct.  Some search engines (such as Google) will no longer index this type of page.


Making any of the above corrections on your website will not cause your listing to change immediately. It will change next time the search engine is re-indexed. The search engine is re-indexed about every 30 days.

If you have questions about any of the information above please e-mail . Be sure to explain your problem and include the URL to the web page your are asking about.

 

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