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I thought frame and iframe are something bad for SEO.

Today I was doing some search and searching for "numismatica" in Google.it and the 3rd site is www.lemonete.com (ranks high also in Google.com). It's all made with frames.

A competitor site (www.nummus.com) that is all done with no frames ranks much lower when searching for the same word: "numismatica"

So can we use frame, don't they hit SEO ranking anymore? Any explanation (possibly simple) would be appreciated also about the fact the 2nd site ranks much lower. :)


UPDATE: thanks for all the replies , I noticed now I wrote down the wrong url, it was not lemonete.it (which is just a spam site) but lemonete.com.

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I noticed the same thing on some documentation that I host, I didn't really even think about iframes. Interesting find :) –  Tim Post Aug 15 '10 at 17:34

5 Answers 5

up vote 12 down vote accepted

According to this article,

The content in an iframe is not considered part of the parent page.

Seems like that would be pretty bad for SEO purposes.

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Just because the site with Frames outranks the site without frames doesn't means that frames aren't harmful. The site with the frames may simply rank well despite the frames. The frames may be hurting them but thanks to quality incoming links and/or poor SEO on the other site they rank higher.

Frames are still bad for accessibility and there is rarely, if ever, a good time to use them. Even if they no longer negatively affect SEO it doesn't make them ok to use.

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You say: "Even if they no longer negatively affect SEO" could you provide some links to articles or something else stating tha same? –  Marco Demaio Aug 18 '10 at 11:38
    
@Marco Demaio, I didn't say it was true. The questioner suggested it. That's why I said "even if" since there was no evidence presented. –  John Conde Aug 18 '10 at 19:02
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I would also note that the frames site looks like a spam site (just contains a "sponsored listing" of off-topic links and no informational content whatsoever), so they're likely using a lot of blackhat SEO techniques like link wheeling and spamdexing. That's why SEO is harmful, it DEoptimizes search engines and lets poorly designed, non-useful sites rank better than well-designed, useful sites that have superior accessibility. –  Lèse majesté Sep 9 '10 at 6:39
    
@Lese majeste: you are perferctly right cause I wrote down the wrong address, I also updated the question with the right url, I'm very sorry for this. –  Marco Demaio Sep 12 '10 at 15:30

I think there is a misunderstanding about frames affect SEO that I've heard from a lot of people. There is no inherent penalty for having iframes on your site, as there are several legitimate uses for them. There are iframes in GMail for example. but as tnorthcutt said, The content of an iframe isn't part of the parent page and isn't going to be indexed as such (if at all), so that could be problematic.

Also, there are a lot of factors that go into search rankings, which is why you can't say that one site should be ranked over another because of just one of them.

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you are right, I also found this excellent article searchenginewatch.com/2167901 about frameset/frame, directly suggested on Google official guides google.com/support/webmasters/bin/… –  Marco Demaio Aug 22 '10 at 10:26
    
An here is another very interesting article, but this time about IFRAME. blog.futtta.be/2010/03/03/… –  Marco Demaio Aug 22 '10 at 10:41
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Even if SEO applied to your Gmail inbox, which it doesn't, Google doesn't need to crawl Gmail to index your e-mails. That frames have legitimate uses doesn't mean that using frames doesn't impact SEO. Flash has legitimate uses too, but a 100% flash site is not going to rank as well as a non-flash site. Aside from offline webpages (e.g. software manuals, DVD libraries, etc.) and other non-search-engine-indexed content, you should not be using frames. –  Lèse majesté Sep 9 '10 at 9:46

There is no SEO penalty for having frames... framed pages are just pages! Only the frame page itself is different... you usually only have one if using frames or a few with iframes.

At one time (early 90's) some search engines could not follow framed pages. Browsers have supported frames since IE3 and Netscrape 2. Search engines have followed frames for well over 10 years now! People read stuff on the web written sometime ago and rewrite it and another will read that and rewrite it again... on and on... net fiction! If used in an iframe or a frame it is still a page and crawlers find them and index them.

Framed pages do need some extra coding, noframes tag and javascript to open page inside of the complete site. Only the noframes tag has any bearing on SEO.

Frames have some SEO benefits also as there are usually more pages. I have also had good results with frame forwarding... the only way to safely forward a site without a 301 and still use it for keyword searches.

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Can you cite a source for the claim that search engines crawl frame contents and rank frame pages as well as non-framed pages? –  Lèse majesté Sep 9 '10 at 6:41
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I'm the source for this as i have many sites using frames with hundreds of pages... these pages show up in the stats. –  Michael Brown Sep 9 '10 at 6:59
    
1. keyword phrases from search engines 2. spidered pages from search engines 3. entry pages 4. paths Also simply typing "site:www.mydomain.com" reveals pages indexed. Been using frames for well over 10 years. The pages are just pages to the search engine... the only real question is can the search engine find the pages. The answer is yes! –  Michael Brown Sep 9 '10 at 7:03
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After reading Google's FAQ, it does appear that they crawl frame contents, but they don't promise that it will be linked to the frame page itself. But that doesn't mean frame pages don't suffer a ranking penalty. If you use noframes you still have to either exclude the content of all but one page or combine the content from all pages--both of which will likely have SEO implications. Additionally, how many backlinks are you losing because your pages are hard to bookmark or link to? Just because you're listed doesn't mean you're optimally listed. –  Lèse majesté Sep 9 '10 at 9:43

From my experience the only thing you can count on is that they will index the page that is held in the frame. These are just the same as any other pages they may index and will get the same ranking as any other page on your site. There is nothing on a page held in a frame that is different! Using the noframes tag has an effect on one page only the frameset page, and is used to add content that the search bots will read on that page only. I use a bookmark button with a script on each framed page so the backlinks are not a problem. Using frames in regards to SEO may not be for amateurs as there are some tricks to it but these are old tricks (javascript, noframes) well known and easy to use by the pros. If you don't know what you are doing... don't use frames! However there is NO penalty for using frames.

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