Why Frames are BAD for SEO

Never, EVER Use Frames

Using frames is a very bad design choice for building web pages. This obsolete technique “cloaks” the real pages on your website by using them as parts of other pages, usually your home page. As a result, search engines may see your home page as empty and may refuse to index the content on your website at all.

The image shows an example of a framed website. In this example, the frame itself is in red. It is the URL of a web page that has no content whatsoever. It is called a frameset page, and its only purpose is to define the three separate web pages (or frames) A, B, and C that are stuffed into it.

In this example,
A – might be a page like logo.php, which is nothing more than your website masthead and logo.

B – might be a page like navigation.php, which is your website navigation bar.

C – might be a content page like something.php, which is any other page on your website.

A, B and C can be pages from someone else’s website. The URL will always look like your website because it is for the empty frameset page. The URL never changes when you navigate your website and this causes extremely serious problems for SEO:

Frames Cause Serious SEO Problems

All of the items below are show-stoppers.

  1. Your entire website looks like a 1-page website to search engines.
  2. At best, no matter how many pages your website actually has, Google will only see one page. Think about it- the URL never changes. So, how can Google index anything but that one URL?
  3. In some cases, your website may look like an empty, 1-page website, because what is actually being indexed is the empty frame (in red), not the contents.

Google may (or may not) make an attempt to follow frames for your home page, but nothing after that. This is because if it indexed a page like something.html it would have no idea what frame it belonged to, or even what website it belonged to.

Because it can not reconstruct frames, Google does not list such results at all. Otherwise, it would lead a visitor to a broken website with no navigation, or no content, or perhaps just a masthead! Then Google would be blamed. Other search engines do likewise.

How well do you suppose a 1-page website gets ranked by Google?

Framed website example

Bad for SEO

Using frames is the single worst thing you can do to your website if you care about SEO and search engine optimization.

Does your website use frames? It’s time for a new design. We can do it for you.