Not This Kind of Frames

Optimizing Frames-Built Websites

Note that the <frame> is officially deprecated HTML code, meaning it was abandoned in newer versions of HTML and replaced by the <iframe> HTML tag. The <frame> tag; should not be used when making modern web pages. As of 2023, iframes still have a use in technical SEO; when you want to keep Google from viewing some part of a web page (such as redundant navigational menus) you can call the file containing it within an iframe, but prohibit Google from accessing that particular file through the robots.txt file and a robots meta tag at the top of the little file. The net effect is that humans will see the information you want to display on your page, but Google will disregard it. It's a minor but effective SEO technique that helps keep Google focused on what you want, when siloing a website.

ARCHIVAL CONTENT (from circa 2000):

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 Google, 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 content in a <noframes> tag is some snarky 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 your website
and Get Rid of the 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 entire linked website 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 - [I linked to an article about it at from January 2003--that website has since disappeared.]

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 search.

Contact us for details.


A website built using <frames> will have nothing but trouble getting top Google placement.

You can put in a <noframes> tag, but that won't cure everything.

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