iFrames is used in a HTML coding to embed another HTML document inside the parent or main code. You can think of it as a window. it allows you to see another page or even another website in your own website without having to direct them to the website. Sounds great right? It reality it’s not.. while it can create a seamless user experience, it is REALLY (and I mean really) bad for your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

There are a couple of factors that is composed as reasons to why we do not recommend the use of iFrames. Primarily because Search Engine algorithms do not consider the content that is pulled from iFrames as a part of the main/parent page. This will severely affect your SEO campaign – especially if the whole page content is pulled from iFrames.

As Google (the largest Search Engine in the world) keeps to their commitment to return a higher quality sites for its users, content plays the most significant part in determining the ranking of a certain page. This means that using iFrames to display content will put you at a great disadvantage for your SEO campaign.

There are two scenarios we can look at iFrames from SEO point of view.

  1. Firstly, content that is pulled from a different domain will not have the same value as the content that actually lives in your website. Therefore even though the content is unique and highly relevant, it will not benefit your website at all.
  2. Secondly, if the content is originated from the same domain (which is better), the content only contributes to the rank of the page where it comes from, not where the iFrame is sitting. Moreover, it will also hurt your internal linking as web crawlers are not able to crawl through additional site links within iFrames thus the crawling will stop there.

From SEO point of view, under most conditions I would recommend to NOT use iFrames to display text/content unless it is absolutely necessary. Having on-page content is the best practice in terms of search engine optimisation.

Image credit danbri on Flickr