Optimizing a Frames-Built Website
for the Search Engines
SEO for Frame-based Websites
If you have a frames-built website, you probably won't like our advice: If your website was built using frames, re-design it so it no longer uses frames.
We know that is harsh advice, but rather than pull punches and do workarounds that don't work all that well, you might as well know that, in our experience, any website that has been fully optimized for the search engines has done away with using frames. To get the best rankings in as many search engines as possible, it is a necessity to re-design the site and get rid of the frames entirely.
Most search engines (and there are exceptions) will not read any further into your site than your index.html page if the site is built in frames. They don't look at the information which is called for and displayed by the frames themselves. The search engines only look at the info between the <noframes> and </noframes> tags on that page.
So, what CAN you do if you are determined to stick with frames?
Put in a <noframes> tag in the <HEAD> of your main frame page, and cram it with what amounts to a whole web page worth of text, headings, alt tags, links, and so on. Put the same things in the noframes tag that we advise you to put in a web page on our Search Engine Optimizing page.
Often we find that the only thing in a <noframes> tag is some smart-alec comment about how you should upgrade your browser to one that supports frames. That's not enough as far as the search engines are concerned.
For best Search Engine Optimizing results, build a <noframes> tag that contains duplicates of the text, headings, meta tags and alt tags (basically everything on our Search Engine Optimizing page) from the info displayed in the frames area of the page.
In other words, build a basic web page INSIDE the <noframes> tag that contains all the points we mention on our Search Engine Optimizing page.
If you are going to do that, however, be warned that it is more trouble than simply re-designing the website to do away with Frames entirely. Hence our advice: Redesign the website to do away with frames.
Other factors mitigating against frames:
- Using frames can cause the browser's "back" button to fail to work, trapping people in a page of your website. This can be very frustrating for the person visiting the site.
- Unless you are very careful, your links can cause duplicate frames to come up within your frames.
- Clicking on a link from a framed site frequently causes the linked site to show up inside your frame. Users don't like that.
- It is nearly impossible to bookmark a specific page in a frames-built website. Instead, all you can bookmark is the index.html page displaying the frames. The content of the various frames pages themselves cannot be specifically bookmarked by the average visitor.
This subject of "problems with frames sites" comes up a lot - here is an article about it at PromotionData.com from January 2003.
All in all -- if you really want the extra traffic that full search engine optimizing can give your website, then you're better off re-designing it to get rid of the frames. If you need help redesigning your website so it no longer uses frames, feel free to contact us. We've done it many times and are experts at the easy way to take websites out of frames in order to fully optimize them for the search engines.
Back to SEO page.