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FrontPage 2002 Tutorials - Search engine optimization techniques  - SEO -  for your FrontPage Site

by Tina Clarke

(some tutorials cover FrontPage 2000 as well)

If you have not optimized all the pages of your site, it’s not worth submitting it to the search engines, so lets get busy.

Adding information to META tags is useful for describing your web page; it can help search engines find and index your page, as well as document information such as how your page was created and what theme it is using.

However there are other factors that make a difference in getting listed with search engines and we will discuss tools to help and methods you can employ.

Page ranking methods to employ

Methods that can affect page rank (or loading performance), yet give little or no warning a problem exists.

Missing Meta tag-Description
Missing Meta tag-Keywords
TITLE - missing or blank
TITLE - not first element in <head> section
Missing Image Alt Tag
Missing Image dimension (size) attributes

Are your Page <title> elements out of position?

NOTE: Surfers generally only look at the first 10 or 20 results in a search so it’s important to get a high ranking. It can make a big difference in your page hits.

Meta Tags

To add information to the HTTP header for a page (the information about a page that is not visible to the site visitor; i.e.: source code), add a user-defined or system META variable. The NAME or HTTP-EQUIV attribute declares a variable for the page and the CONTENT attribute assigns a value to the variable. A META tag supplies information about the page, but does not affect its appearance.

NB: Meta tag code should be on one continuous line and not break or wrap.

~ System META variable

Meta tags that use the HTTP-EQUIV attribute as the name portion of their name-value pairs supply special instructions to a Web browser, such as an expiration date or a display-refresh (redirect) value.
EG: <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL=">

~ User-defined META variable

Meta tags with a NAME attribute, which do not correspond to HTTP headers, are used to reflect
property associated with the page.
EG: <meta name="keywords" content="frontpage,tutorials,help,tips">

However, the distinction is a little fuzzy; some agents may interpret tags such as "keywords" declared as either "name" or as "http-equiv".

The Custom Tab

The Custom tab displays Meta Tags (system variables and user-defined variables) that are associated with the active page.

1. To insert Meta tags:

Right click on a page, click on 'Page Properties'

To insert a ‘user-defined’ META variable

Click on the 'Custom' Tab and go to 'User Variables'.
Click on ‘Add’ and in the 'user variable box', under ‘Name’ insert the meta name, E.G. author.
Under 'Value' Insert the Meta content, EG: content="Tina Clarke”
Click ok

In the html view this would look like:
<meta name="author" content="Tina Clarke">

To insert a ‘System’ META variable such as HTTP-EQUIV

Click on the 'Custom' Tab and go to 'User Variables'.
Click on ‘Add’ and in the 'user variable box', under ‘Name’ insert the meta name,
E.G. reply-to
Under 'Value' Insert the Meta content, EG: content="”
Click ok

In the html view this would look like:
<meta http-equiv="reply-to" content="">

2. Dialog Box Options

System Variables (HTTP-EQUIV) and User Variables (user-defined) Meta tags

Name = The name of the Meta tag.
Value = The value to associate with the tag.
Add = Click Add to add a new Meta tag.
Modify = Click Modify to modify the currently selected Meta tag.
Remove = Click Remove to remove the currently selected Meta tag.

Tags to use

Title, Description and Keywords are the three meta tags that should always be used. Irrelevant META Tags can be more of a hindrance. Certainly the FrontPage generated tags are only needed by the FrontPage application to alter the icons in the folder view to indicate whether one is open or not and other similar indications. You can get rid of them by using the Jimco No FrontPage Meta which will remove the GENERATOR and ProgId meta tags when you save your pages.

* <title>The name of your site</title>
<title>AccessFP - FrontPage Resource Centre with Ezine, Forum, List Journal.</title>

* <meta name="description" content="What is this page about?">

<META name="description" content="FrontPage Resource Centre for 97, 98, 2000, 2002, 2003 and FrontPage Express (fpe). The biggest collection of FrontPage sites, themes, templates and addon links and help. Tips, how to's and tutorials. FrontPage Forums, AnyFrontPage Bytes Ezine, AccessFP list and Journal. All FREE FrontPage resources and Information.">

* <meta name="keywords" content="What, words, describe, this, page?">

<META name="keywords" content="Microsoft FrontPage,Tips,Help,webmaster resources,Discussion forum,Journal,fronpage,fpe,fp,free,addons,Tutorials,98,
2000,2002,2003FPE,FrontPage Express,tips,how to's,tutorials,help,Add-in's, Third party applications,MS FP98,addons,free, FP,Frontpage,download,
themes,Image Composer,FAQ,templates,Ezine,list,journal">

Here are a few of the other meta tags that can be added to your head tags,

* <meta name="author" content="Who made this page?">
<meta name="author" content="Tina Clarke">

* <meta name="language" content="version of language and the country">
<meta name="language" content="en-uk">

* <meta name="revisit-after" content="30 days"> This tells the search engine to come back again and re-index your site every 30 days using this example.
<meta name="revisit-after" content="30 days">

* <meta name="owner" content="Who owns this page?">
<meta name="owner" content="Tina Clarke">

* <meta name="copyright" content="When did you make this page? and the name of webmaster">
<meta name="copyright" content="Copyright© 1999 - 2004 Tina Clarke, All rights reserved">

* <meta name="contact_addr" content="">
<meta name="contact_addr" content="">

* <meta name="rating" content="which audience is this website for?">
<meta name="rating" content="general">

* <meta name="robots" content="you want all robots to spider your site, don't you?">
<meta name="robots" content="Index, Follow, All">

* <meta name="distribution" content="you want the site distributed everywhere, don't you?">
<meta name="distribution" content="global">

* <meta name="classification" content="what kind of directory heading does this come under?">
<meta name="classification" content="Web Master Resources">

* <meta http-equiv="reply-to" content="">
<meta http-equiv="reply-to" content="">

* <meta http-equiv="Content-Script-Type" content="type"> to specify the scripting language used.
* <meta http-equiv="Content-Style-Type" content="text/css"> to specify the default style sheet language.
* <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=characterSetName"> to specify the document character set in use on the page.

FrontPage tools and add ons for search engine and meta tag optimization.

Jimco Tools

Jimco Meta 2.0 and No FrontPage Meta (FREE FrontPage add on)
Jimco Meta 2.0 makes it easy to add Meta tags to your FrontPage Web!

Control whether or not the IE6 Image toolbar is displayed on your pages.
Add Keywords and Description tags for search engines.
Add refresh tags to redirect the browser after a specified amount of time.
Add cache-control tags to control the caching of your page in a user's browser.
Add an Author meta tag to identify you as a page's author.
Control whether or not FrontPage puts its own Meta tags on a page

No FrontPage Meta will remove the GENERATOR and ProgId meta tags when you save your pages.

NOTE: FrontPage will often add the meta tags back when a page is opened in FrontPage. Therefore, this add-in is designed to remove the meta tags right before a page is saved. If you view the source of your page in your Web browser or view the source in an editor other than FrontPage (such as Notepad), you will see that the meta tags are indeed gone. For even greater control of FrontPage's meta tags, get Jimco Meta 2.0!

Meta Tag Maker 2002 (14 Day Trial)

Meta Tag Maker 2002 is a fully integrated add-in for FrontPage 2002 that sets the meta tags used by search engines to index your web pages. Fill in dialog boxes and have your meta tags automatically generated on your open web page. Meta Tag Maker checks your entries against predefined standards, allows you to apply meta tags on multiple web pages in one step, allows you to suppress SmartTags, and much more!
(Works in both FrontPage 2002, FrontPage 2000 and FrontPage 2003)

Other tools for search engine optimisation and meta tags

GoodKeyWords (FREE)

“Windows software for finding the perfect set of keywords for your web pages. It uses the tools provided by search engines like GoTo, 7Search, Direct Hit and Lycos to build a suitable keyword set. Once you are done, a simple click will get you the required keyword meta tag” Which you can then use in conjunction with TP_ErrOmi.

FREE on-line META Tag Analyzer

A combination spider and syntax checker.

Apart from the paid listings, which we won’t discuss here, it seems that there is a small group of sites one should submit to that will show up on other search engines. You can indeed submit to the others directly but these listed here are the major search engines.

Search Engines you should submit to

dmoz Open Directory Project

The two listed above are absolutely essential.


NOTE: If you submit your site as it will only be seen that way if you wish it to be seen without the www ie you must submit it that way. Whatever way you submit ALWAYS present your site domain in the exact same way not only to search engines, but on your signature lines for emails, lists and forums. Though in forums you can use a keyword and link the text to your domain, thereby obtaining backlinks with each of your posts.

Search results on AlltheWeb are now provided by Yahoo!. If you are interested in submitting your site to be considered for free inclusion in the Yahoo! Search index, please Click Here. (Yahoo! registration required).

Yahoo! Directory

Follow their guidelines exactly to submit your site. (ONLY AFTER OPTIMIZING)

If you do want to submit to more sites here is a listing of many more search engine add pages. Search Engine List

What other search engine optimization techniques (SEO) can you employ?

It’s not just your meta tags that you need to tweak, having as clean an html code as possible is also a must. A little hard for those WYSIWYG users who have not delved into the html, but a couple of solutions to this is are:

CSE HTML Validator Lite
There is a free version that can help clean up your code.

However for those that like to do everything the FrontPage way check out this tutorial on ‘Integrating HTML Tidy into Microsoft FrontPage’ as an add-on.

Broken links are something a Search Engine spider doesn’t want to see either, so do regular maintenance. See: Dust out those cobwebs with a weekly sweep  

Using a text-based navigation especially for large sites is a must, even if it’s a supplement to what you consider your main navigation such as a drop down menu, if you do use a JavaScript based menu use an external sheet.

When making your page, consider the file name carefully. Don’t use uppercase or spaces. Use an underscore ( _ ) if you need a space in the file name. Try to reflect the page’s contents that you intend to insert, and if your using a phrase use a dash like so frontpage-tips.htm using this method has proven to give the best results. Changing file names later can become a pain. These two FREE add-ons from Jimco’s site will help.

Case Changer 1.5
Case Changer will change all files and folders in your Web to lower case. This is a lifesaver when working with Unix servers!

Space Replacer
This add-in replaces spaces in file and folder names with an underscore character.

If those pages are bookmarked, you can end up sending your visitors away so it’s best to get it right from the beginning. If you do find you have to change a name, wipe the page and insert a redirect, e.g.
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL="> (change the URL to yours) Also insert a link on the page for browsers that won’t recognize this tag, to your new page. If you think this is not important, stick a hit counter on the page, and check the results. Don't leave any content on the page as this can be seen as spamming by the search engines.

You can also utilise a 301 here are a couple of server based options

Windows IIS (asp)

When you have built your content, you don’t want to have a page that is too long (no more than two page lengths) and keep the download of the page to 20 seconds on a 28k modem. You can do this by setting the Reports View.

Go to Tools | Options | Reports View
Set ‘Slow Pages’ to 20
Set ‘Assume connection speed’ to 28.8

Or you can obtain the FREE FrontPage Add on PageWeight

Study your content for keywords to start building your title and meta tags and proceed step by step.

NOTE: When counting characters include spaces and punctuation, etc.

Next build your TITLE using no more than 60 to100 characters. Try to reduce the insertion of words such as at, the, and, etc.

Then, incorporate words into your DESCRIPTION using no more than 150 to 250 characters. At this point try to use phrases.

Use words from your description in your KEYWORDS, using no more than 800 to 1024 characters. Try to keep the keywords that are used in your title and description in as the first few words used, and try to make a phrase out of them, phrases are preferred before keywords because they narrow down the volume of sites that will display with any given phrase. This of course makes for a higher ranking.

Differing authorities suggest using different methods to display the keywords. Based on research, I use the method of writing keywords like this: One,two,three using commas and no spaces. Even spaces and commas count as characters so this gives you many more characters for your keywords usage.

NOTE: Remember there is no point in inserting keywords that are not used on the actual page. However it’s crucial that all this matches the content on the page the tags are on. Don’t use the same word more than three times.

Use the heading tags H1 and H2 your title and H1 tag should be the exact same phrase and your H2 tags should show part of that phrase.

DMOZ - You are allowed to submit only one page to each category

Google - Link popularity is a must especially for Google, which employs a PageRank (PR), method, so start working on getting linkbacks from other sites. The more popular the other sites, the better for you.
See this article:
Increase Your Site's Traffic With Reciprocal Links (August 2002)

If you utilize frames or splash pages or Flash on your home page, think again. Search Engines don’t like them and, with Flash, can’t see them. 

NOTE: DO NOT take keywords from other sites, as you would be infringing on their copyright and this is against the law.

Teoma / Ask Jeeves has a comprehensive ‘you can’t do this’ policy and you would do well to apply that to all the other search engines.   

Google is now considered the main search engine and is known for it’s ethical opinions, so following Google’s lead is the best optimization method you can achieve. That means no spamming, no same colour text on same colour background or small fonts. Make sure you include, if possible, a link to the home page, a site search page, and a site map. No doorway pages, no redirection, and no cloaking, and no Flash on the homepage and certainly no frames. Use include pages instead.

Try to optimise your homepage and sitemap as these two pages will do a lot to help your placement include the meta tag <META NAME="revisit-after" CONTENT="30 Days"> only on those two pages.

It’s a good idea to get your site labelled: e.g.:

<META HTTP-EQUIV="pics-label" CONTENT='(pics-1.1 "" l gen true for "" r (cz 1 lz 1 nz 1 oz 1 vz 1) "" l gen true for "" r (n 0 s 0 v 0 l 0))'>

Content Labels generated by ICRA conform to an Internet industry standard known as PICS - the Platform for Internet Content Selection.

Tags to use to deter ‘some’ search engines listing your graphics


NOIMAGEINDEX - prevents the images on the page from being indexed but the text on the page can still be indexed.

NOIMAGECLICK - prevents the use of links directly to the images, instead there will only be a link to the page.

Google supports a NOARCHIVE extension to this scheme to request the Google search engine from caching pages. See the Google FAQ

See also the robots.txt exclusion method.

When you mouse over an image in IE6, a menu pops up with options such as Save, Print & Email Image. To disable this, include the following meta tag
<META HTTP-EQUIV="imagetoolbar"CONTENT="no">

The important thing to remember about search engine optimization is that tweaking your site can be more important than your meta tags, though they are still a necessity, so work on both.

You can also include a robots.txt file on your site that will tell search engine spiders to ignore folders and to spider the site.

Apart from graphics, if you wish to indicate to a spider that you don’t want a certain page indexed, insert the following Meta tag.


NOTE: Not all spiders will notice the meta tag and not all spiders will take notice of the robots.txt file.

If you don’t want your page showing up in the FrontPage Table of Contents component or Search Page insert an underscore in the file name, like so: _mypage.htm to prevent this happening.

Remember, the golden rule is don’t submit without optimizing. Keep following the latest news about what’s going on (see a listing of Search Engine and Meta tag resource sites below) and, like doing maintenance on your site, it’s a chore that has to be done over and over again to keep that ranking high. Good luck.

Search engine/meta tag resource links

Search Engine Watch  
Meta Data Activity  
Spider Food  
Jesset - Meta tags  
Help 4 Web  
High Rankings  

Lastly I Highly Recommend you join this FREE SEO Techniques Class I'm a member and I have the E-book, both worth their weight in gold.

First Published in ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers
Volume 16, September 2002