Are iFrames Bad For Your Website’s SEO?

Brandon LazovicMay 10, 2021

Iframes have been a part of web design for years and they are still used today. They can be used to display ads, videos, or other content on your website. However, is the use of iframes bad for SEO? This article will explore that question and give you some answers.

What Are iFrames? 

IFrame is an HTML element that lets you embed another HTML document inside your own. It's easy to use and has become one of the most popular ways to embed multimedia content in text.

Examples Of Commonly Used iFrames

Below are a few examples of iFrames that are commonly used on most websites.

Display Ads

Display ads are often employed via an iframe so that they can be placed on multiple websites - a common use case is on news sites that often have several pop-up ads per article.

YouTube Videos

While you can self-host videos, YouTube videos are often embedded as iframes on websites, with the same functionality as if you were watching directly on YouTube.

Social Media Post Embeds

If you've ever wanted to share social media posts, you can directly embed posts, tweets, or pinterest pins on a web page, instead of copy and pasting a screenshot, which also allows users to directly engage with that post from your website (such as liking or favoriting).

Google Maps

Maps and locations via Google Maps can be directly embedded on a website as an iframe, allowing users the ability to directly navigate the map without leaving your web page.

Can Search Engines Read iFrames? 

While search engines can crawl and read an iframe, all of the SEO value goes to the original page or content that's embedded.

Are iFrames Bad For Your Website’s SEO?

Some web developers use iframes on their websites to embed videos or social media posts without copying and pasting them from the original site.

They also provide a way for users to more easily interact with content on your website by clicking links embedded in an iframe rather than leaving that page entirely (such as liking or favoriting).

However, it's important to note that search engines cannot index these pages when they're framed, which means you may not be showing up in Google searches even though you have high-quality content elsewhere on your website.

Like I mentioned before, all the SEO credit of an iframe will be passed to the original page or content; while iframes aren't inherently bad and can provide a better user experience, they don't directly benefit your website. either.

How To Find iFrames On Your Website

To find iframes on your website, use the Google Chrome browser's built-in developer tools.

Open up a new tab and type "chrome://inspect" into the address bar; this will open up developer tools in a separate window. You can then click on any element to look at its code (which you'll want to do for either iFrames or nested iframes). If you have an old version of Firefox, install Firebug via addons - it has similar functionality.

This might require some playing with both browsers until they work smoothly together--just be patient! And remember: don't try to edit anything while viewing live site elements through development mode.

To find bulk iframe elements on multiple web pages, you can also create a custom Xpath filter in Screaming Frog to find them site-wide.

JavaScript API - An iFrame Alternative

One popular solution to the iframe problem is implementing a javascript API. Javascript allows Google to crawl individual UI components like maps, videos, and reviews which can help build your site’s authority by providing more authoritative information about your product or service while retaining the SEO value on your web page.

Best Practices To Follow When Using iFrames

When using iFrames, you should keep the following best practices in mind.

Make Sure Google Can Crawl Your iFrames

First, you want to make sure Google can crawl your iFrames. The most common issue among websites is when there are directives in place on your robots.txt file that disallow Google from crawling your iFrames - make sure this isn't the case, you still want Google to crawl and discover them so they aren't getting an incomplete snapshot of your web page.

Don’t Include Important Content

Because SEO value is being passed to external websites via iFrames, you also want to make sure that important content (like the keywords you want to rank for or internal links to other pages) aren't only found in the iFrame, but in the surrounding elements of your content.

Make Sure Your Page Is Being Properly Rendered

Lastly, make sure Google is properly rendering your web page. Like I mentioned with the robots.txt file, if Google is getting an incomplete snapshot of your web page due to rendering issues, then your website won't rank nearly as well as it could be compared to if your web pages are being properly crawled / rendered.
Be sure to read our search engine optimization guide for more helpful SEO tips!

Are iFrames Bad For SEO? Here's What We Know
Are iFrames Bad For SEO? Here's What We Know

IFrames are a type of HTML element that can be used to embed one web page into another. Is this bad for SEO? The short answer is no, but it's important to understand the pros and cons of using iframes so you can make an informed decision.

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