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How do frames prevent high rankings?
If you go to any web site that has frames, right click anywhere on page, and choose 'view source', you'll notice that HTML that comes up has nothing to do with text on page. The main frameset usually calls other frames for content and doesn't contain much relevant content on its own. At best, this hurts importance placed on your target keywords (known as keyword prominence) and at worst, it prevents your real text from even being seen by search engine. Either way, these effects are undesirable.
"I have to use frames, is there no hope?"
If you have to use frames, you will want to make sure that your main frameset page is optimized for your target keywords. Make sure it has a relevant title, meta keyword and meta description and that is contains at least a little text on topic of keyword.
Avoid frames at all cost
The disadvantages of using frames for your web site greatly outweigh any perceived advantage for easier navigation or any desired design effect. I would recommend that you avoid using frames at all costs.
Joe Duchesne is a partner in a web hosting business http://www.yowlingbuilder.com that specializes in offering an easy to use web site builder that even a beginner to the internet can use to create a professional looking web site. Reprint freely as long as my links in this resource box are live.