curacao-seo-project-wabiclubcom

Curacao SEO Project – wabiclub.com

May 14th, 2007 by Joost Schrier

The Wabi Club is a group of antique car enthusiasts (Wabi is the local word for antique car) who have set up a club to promote the restoration of these golden oldies. Especially in the more rural areas of Curacao many a car can be found in backyards or the “mondi” (bush) just waiting for somebody to give it some tender loving care.

The cars that are restored enter into a second life of appearing at shows and festivities with their proud owners. They even get a special license plate with the word Wabi and their number. If you’ve ever been to a festival on Curacao or have taken a cruise here, chances are that you have seen one or more of these magnificent cars.

This post is not about antique cars. It is about the status of wabiclub.com in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) terms and what can be done to improve its search enine positioning. So, let’s get to that.

The numbers

Before you can determine what can be done to improve a website’s SEO, you need to know the current status. The following is a list of important factors in search engine positioning which will help us draw our conclusions.

URL www.wabiclub.com
Google PageRank Homepage 2/10
Frames Yes
Incoming links
Google
Yahoo
MSN
0
14
n/a *
Indexed pages
Google
Yahoo
MSN
0
1
1
Indexed pages (frameset)
Google
Google supplemental
Yahoo
MSN
12
11
30
1
Open directory listings
ODP
Yahoo
Google
No
No
No
Age domain 4 Years
Meta tag “Description” homepage n/a
Meta tag “Description” internal pages 1 page
Meta tag “Keywords” homepage n/a
Meta tag “Keywords” in internal pages 1 page
Title tag homepage n/a
Title tag internal pages Yes & different
Use of header tags No

*: MSN’s interface to see the incoming links has been off-line for a while so we can’t see this number.

Explanation

The website of the Wabi Club is laid out in frames.The domain name wabiclub.com holds one page which basically loads another page in the visible space. Thus creating the illusion that you’re looking at wabiclub.com while you’re actually looking at another domain. The page it loads in the visible space is alss divided into frames (one in the top and two below it side by side).

Using frames can seem useful to do because it enables you to have one page hosted under the domain name and the rest at another domain. When people see the website this is not obvious (you could call it ‘cloaking’) and it saves you money (which clubs like this one usually don’t have). The problem in SEO when using frames is that the search engines don’t like frames and prefer not to list websites that use frames.

One of the most important reasons Google et al. don’t like frames is the fact that you can only get to the internal pages when you see the entire frameset. If the search engines would link to an internal page in such a website all navigation and such would be gone and the searcher would not have the best “experience” with such a website. As a result all internal pages are usually “downgraded” and only the homepage would have a small chance of ranking.

This is exactly what has happened with wabiclub.com. If you look at the indexed pages in the table above you will see that Yahoo and MSN have one page indexed (there is only one page so this makes sense), but Google has not indexed wabiclub.com. When you look at the amount of pages the search engines have indexed of where the website actually resides (the frameset pages in the table above) you will see that Google has indexed 12, Yahoo has indexed 30 (including 3 css-files) and MSN has only indexed one page. Google has also put 11 of the 12 pages it has indexed in the supplemental index thus severely limiting the chances they will be found.

From this information we can draw several conclusions about how the search engines handle frames. NB: the following is, of course, not conclusive on the basis of just one report. It does, however, substantiate the way in which the SEO community thinks about frames.

  • Google understands frames and will apparently crawl the pages the pages in the frameset, but it will not index the main url when you ‘cloak’ the location of the pages. Furthermore; it puts the internal pages in the supplemental index and only the main frameset at the actual url will be in the main index to be found.
  • Yahoo also understands frames and will crawl the internal pages. Yahoo even lets the internal pages be found on their own so people can click to them and read them without seeing the navigation which is in the other frames.
  • MSN does not crawl the internal pages in a frameset and lists only the main url (wabiclub.com).

One of the most important factors in SEO is the amount and quality of incoming links. When you want to get the amount of incoming links from Google through the normal interface it gives you a much lower number than the truth. The way in which you can see the actual amount of incoming links that Google knows are pointing to your website you need to use the Google Webmaster Tools. You can only use the webmaster tools if you have access to the files of the site, which we don’t, so we can’t do this. The fact that Google, via the normal interface, says that there are no links to the website does say something; that it’s not much. Yahoo’s interface tells us that there are 14 links that point to wabiclub.com. MSN’s interface is broken so, regretfully, we can’t tell how many links it has to the website. Our guess is that Yahoo is pretty much right about the amount of links (or at least close to the truth).

The amount and quality of the links, together with the age of the domain, most probably account for the fact that wabiclub.com does have a PR of 2 even though Google implies that it doesn’t exist.

The ‘cloaking’ frameset on wabiclub.com does not have a title, nor any kind of meta-tags. The actual frameset on the other server does have a title and meta-tags and the internal pages only have title, but no meta-tags. Those titles are also all different.

The title of your pages is one of the most important elements in onsite SEO. The titles of your pages (and framesets if you have them) should always have a title, preferably with your keywords in it. The titles should also be different for every page. In wabiclub.com all pages have titles and they are all different, except for the homepage.

Meta-tags are not as important as they used to be for SEO. The simple fact that they are invisible to the website’s visitors means that they are easy to abuse by people out to game the system. The description meta-tag though, is shown to people looking for your website in Google and MSN below the title of your website. If the page does not have a description meta-tag it will take two lines from your text which hold the words the searcher was looking for (like Yahoo does by default). So, by adding a description meta-tag to your pages you can control what people see in Google and MSN and you can sell your website to them.

When you do a search for wabiclub in Google, Yahoo and MSN you get very differing results. Google shows the frameset on the other domain with the correct description, Yahoo shows a link to wabiclub.com with the title of the other frameset and a description it took from the contents of the description and the website and MSN shows a link to wabiclub.com without the title and description. They clearly show that they don’t know what to do with this website.

The keywords meta-tag has practically no value in SEO. It is said that if the keywords are actually present in the content of the website they have a small effect on the website’s rankings for those keywords. It does not help however to stuff keywords in this meta-tag to get ranked for more search phrases. If you are using frames it is even better to take them out completely because all search engines have a different way of dealing with the content of your website when you use frames (see previous paragraph).

The last element we want to discuss here is the use of header tags (<h1>,<h2>,<h3>, etc.) . It is a commonly held belief that putting your keywords in the heading of your text helps you to be ranked for them in the search engines. This also just makes plain sense. If you are writing an essay, you need to explain what you are going to talk about (i.e. the subject of your chapter or subchapter) in the chapter’s title. So, it makes sense that the text in a header tag is important to the search engines because it explains what the text is about.

Wabiclub.com does not use any header tags in its pages. Instead; the headers are only shown visually by making the text bold. It is better to use an <h1>-tag for the page’s header because it is so much stronger than just making text bold.

Recommendations

The most obvious recommendation (if you have read the preceding part) would be to remove the frames structure and put everything on a hosting account under wabiclub.com. Nowadays hosting is not expensive anymore. You can get a decent hosting account for a few dollars per month in the US or Europe (or Curacao for that matter). If you want to maintain the current look & feel and not have too much work on it, you can create a table with the same structure as the frameset and paste the separate frames in the table’s cells.

You will need to make sure that all pages have a title, a description meta-tag (and a keywords meta-tag) and you need to make sure that they are all different from the other pages. On the pages themselves it would be wise to change the headings to actual headings by using the <h1> and <h2> tags.

As for the keywords: some obvious keyword phrases you will want to target are “wabi club”, “wabi curacao”, “cars curacao” and “antique cars curacao”. If you implement the other recommendations it will not be difficult to rank for the first two phrases because of your domain name and the fact that most links to your website have “wabi club curacao” (or something similar) in the anchor text of the link to your website. For the other phrases you will need to use your title tags, header tags and content, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to also get a good ranking for these phrases.

This search engine optimization review for wabiclub.com is provided courtesy of Dragonfly Media Curacao under the Curacao SEO Project. This is NOT a sponsored review and NOT a means to sell our services to wabiclub.com. For more information please visit the explanation of the Curacao SEO Project on this website.

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