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I made a widget that would ideally live on other sites. Here is an example: http://www.comehike.com/outdoors/widget.php?type=hike&hike_id=108&width=500&height=500

I guess since the widget would link back to me, it would be an SEO boost for my site. Is that correct? Or would it be just an SEO boost for that particular URL?

If it is just an SEO boost for the particular URL, it does me little good since that page does not link to any of my other pages.

Am I thinking about this correctly? How are these things typically handled so that there is a benefit to my site's SEO?

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Updated answer

Google does not like links generated from widgets and will penalize sites that use them.

However, some widgets add links to a site that a webmaster did not editorially place and contain anchor text that the webmaster does not control. Because these links are not naturally placed, they're considered a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Old Answer

That widget will do you no good as it is a frame which is not SEO friendly. So the content inside the widget is essentially invisible to the search engines. Additionally, there is no link to your website in that HTML so you're not getting any links from that widget anyway. Basically this is not how you want to make a widget.

You should have that widget be powered by JavaScript and use the <noscript> tag to add alternate content that works if the JavaScript is not available for that user. In that content you should link back to your website.

For example:

<script src="http://example.com/widgets/widget.js"></script>
<noscript>
  <iframe src="http://example.com/widgets/iframe.php">
    <img src="http://example.com/widgets/placeholderimg" width="200" height="200" alt="Map Widget">
  </iframe>
  <p><a href="http://example.com/">This widget provided by example.com</a></p>
</noscript>

That example uses graceful degradation (JavaSCript > iframe > image > image alt text) so the content is available to everyone (good accessibility) and does not use any black hat techniques while still getting a real link to your website.

  • Thank you! So Essentially, I just have to wrap my current iframe with the code you showed there? – Genadinik Apr 17 '11 at 21:00
  • @Genadinik, pretty much, yes. :) Just don't forget the link back to your site or else you're not really accomplishing anything. – John Conde Apr 17 '11 at 21:01
  • According to the answer here (webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/13640/web-widget-and-seo), the contents of a script are not parsed by Google so you will not get SEO benefits this way and it is better to use a <div> tag with html inside. – gaefan May 11 '11 at 18:43
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    @Jeff, if you can keep the contents of the <div> small then that is a better way to do it. However, if the widget is going to have lots of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript then using JavaScript to power the widget is best as it is easier to distribute. It also allows you to fix bugs and modifications to all users at once. Then, for seo purposes, you can use the <noscript> tag to include a link to your website probably as part of a "powered by" statement or watered down widget for users without JavaScript enabled. – John Conde May 11 '11 at 18:49
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    @lame_coder Yes, this is true in 2016 – John Conde Mar 15 '16 at 11:04

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