HTML Frames

This article is the third part of our series of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) related articles - Web Page Content Search Engines See. In this article we will look at HTML frames.

What are HTML Frames?

With HTML frames a web page can be divided into multiple sections which display different information in each section. Each frame is an independent web page.

Example of website using frames

In the example above, the top section is one web page and the bottom section is another web page. There is a third web page involved in this example which contains the paths and instructions to insert the other two web pages into this one.

The top web page would just contain the logo image, no content for the search engines to read, if they found the page in your website directory. This top web page might have the navigation system for the website, but no valuable web page content for the search engines to base their evaluation on.

The bottom web page would have some content, but traditionally would not contain any navigation links to other web pages on the website. If the search engines were to find this page in your website directory, it wouldn't find the related pages to this one. Also, if this page was indexed by the search engines, and a person clicked it in the search engine results, you have lost an opportunity for the visitor to know who you are and what other information is on your website.

Websites built using HTML frames also create an accessibility issue for your visitors who have difficulties surfing the internet. Another lost opportunity to present your valuable website content to the visitor.

How Search Engines Read Websites Created Using Frames

When a website is built using html frames all the search engine spider (web crawler) will see is the links to the pages within the frameset.

Example of what search engines see on frames web sites

Well now you are going to say you can add content to the noframes tag content. This is not the purpose of this set of tags. It is for your visitors who are using really old browsers that do not support frames and those visitors who use text based browsers. If you are going to add content to the noframes tag content then you may as well have created a proper web page instead of a HTML frame based website.

If you look at Google Information for Webmasters - Does Google index sites with frames? you will see that Google specifically states the following about websites that use HTML frame type websites:

Google supports frames to the extent that it can. Frames can cause problems for search engines because they don't correspond to the conceptual model of the web. In this model, one page displays only one URL. Pages that use frames display several URLs (one for each frame) within a single page. If Google determines that a user's query matches the page as a whole, it will return the entire frame set. However, if the user's query matches an individual frame within the larger frame set, Google returns only the relevant frame. In this case, the entire frame set of the page will not appear.

Source: Google Webmaster Help Center Does Google index sites with frames?

In summary, websites that are created with html frames do not contain web page content for search engines to index.

Search Engine Optimization Articles

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