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Can Google Crawl The Contents of iFrames on a Website?

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Google crawls iFrames. This much is acknowledged by Webmasters. Along with recognition enters the debate over why the search engine company crawls content? Are Google’s capabilities a support or detriment to webpages? Should Google’s crawl of iFrame content be controlled?

The fact that the search engine can crawl website content of iFrames indicates that Google has taken great strides to mitigate detriments caused by inline frames. Although Google’s ability to crawl iFrames is limited, Webmasters can also take advantage of this action by managing inbound links from search engine optimization (SEO) advertising blogs or other content.

articleimage187iFrame Definition

iFrame Definition

The definition of an iFrame or inline frame is sourced in HTML embed. Developers use iFrames to create content in websites. Coding of an iFrame is used to maximize content integration features. Programming an iFrame in JavaScript or HTML requires an anchor target attribution to identify the source code.

When inserting content to a web page from another source, a developer will design-in an iFrame to establish full visualization. Web designers can alter the content of an iFrame without scripting new code. By refreshing the webpage that surrounds it, an iFrame can be manipulated as an object.

Much like images, iFrames are relatively easy to insert to a webpage. The great thing about an iFrame is that a scroll bar can be added independent of a parent HTML page scroll bar feature. Other interactive applications such as e-Commerce elements can also be programmed into an iFrame to customize a website’s user interface.


How Google Crawls iFrames

Google has some ability to crawl content in iFrames on webpages it the iFrames are SEO link engaged. The search engine’s tracking capabilities audit websites for content ratio to optimization. This includes inbound links. Google is known acknowledge iFrames via links.

If it is true that Google crawls backlinks to reach iFrame content, then the next question is it a matter of ratio rank order priority? One would assume that Google’s commitment to categorizing website domains along the lines of search niche, defined by keywords, has created vacuum for iFrame crawling of over-optimized sites. According to this logic, inbound links not promoting top-level domain results would not be crawled in the first place.

Will iFrames Search Engine Penalties?

The paradox of Google’s crawling capabilities is that the search engine now penalizes over-optimized websites. Contrary to marketing strategy, the effect of over-optimization can lead to Penguin penalties. This includes iFrames content sharing embed with other sites. This is the danger of embedding content from another unknown website. Without continuous monitoring of backlink detriments, and request for link disavowal from Google, a site can by default get swept under the rug with nearly zero top level results in the future.

Still, Google has a right to crawl iFrames at this time. The detriment of unauthenticated content is real. Security applications breakdowns are common now. Domain owners and users want to protect themselves from viruses. Google recognizes the threat of iFrames embeds. It is up to webmasters to sift through security issues, to sustain an organic and risk free page.

Some of the issue can be resolved at the level of the domain. Google-friendly websites are assigned one URL. Webpages following this model have a better chance of escape. Deployment of iFrames pages with multiple URLs are far more likely to be crawled. Google crawls webpage iFrames by way of association of all framed content with the parent HTML page document. In the end, however, Google is not 100% in its iFrame audit efforts. This gives webmasters some room to work with.

articleimage187Making iFrame Friendship with Google

Making iFrame Friendship with Google

Where once discouraged, developers can now integrate iFrames to a webpage without the stress of losing traffic. Make content viewable to the public to ensure that your site is not suspect. Google-Friendly webpages are those that are indexed with robots.txt. By using this convention, you set up cooperation with web crawlers, allowing the robots to investigate your website for any risks.

Google also offers Web Master Tools. The tool framework allows for addition of URL to the iFrames ona page so that the index of the content is not the parent HTML document. When crawling, Google will not rank the iFrame content and its keywords has high on a search engine result. This separation of localized content on a website is distinct from inbound links that may be hidden on SEO and other Web objects. Making a webpage secure in an overt manner distinguishes a website from the crowd. Google’s global iFrame crawling capacity is less likely to be activated by content that is upfront.

Additional iFrame Tips

Evaluation of a website’s HTML or Javascript foundation is not a bad idea when considering the overall impact of iFrame on Google. The fact that iFrames are not inherently detrimental, yet may be causing interference or worse, means it is highly probable that Google and other search engines are crawling.

Audit of a website and the surrounding document to an iFrame on a website is assurance that that search engine optimization is most likely functioning properly. iFrame placement also assists in controlling the perils of search engine crawling. If establishing a designated link to an iFrame is not your style, move as much iFrame content to the main page so that the URL is consistent with the parent domain.

Inbound links from SEO or other collateral on the Internet can be connected to iFrames on a website. IF click-thru is established with iFrames the result to the conversion experience, it is possible to use Javascript to redirect or button a link to a website’s main page.

Scroll bars should be designed into the iFrame content so that users can access it without struggling with browser configuration, operating system, and monitor issues that may arise at time of engagement. Testing iFrame content with a browser will illustrate if vertical scroll bars are required.

iFrame Alternatives

If a developer or webmaster decides that iFrames are not essential to a website, the next task is to come up with alternatives to content insertion. Websites not supported by automatic tool applications will still require programming. Supporters of iFrame continuity point out that iFrames are the essence of web application; adding value to each stage in the HTML, CSS and Javascript process of building webpages.

There is no hard and fast rule to making a decision about iFrame integration, yet the potential found in this easy developer solution has some wondering if Google’s crawling tendencies are really worth worrying about. The sum of all concerns is really seen in the results to penalty. Websites deemed over-optimized by Google are penalized. While a secondary cause of conversion loss, the fact that search engines are becoming more unpredictable, if not volatile, has developers and webmasters doing a bit more than wondering.

Should developers avoid using iFrame content? With so many unknowns ahead, Google’s discretionary crawling of content in iFrames is something to consider when building a website. At this time, iFrame content is open. If freedom of choice is what website owners want, then the best thing to do is to continue embedding with Google’s right to crawl in mind.

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James Parsons

I'm an avid blogger on SEO, social media, and design. When I'm not working with the awesome guys at AudienceBloom, I'm writing for my personal blog at or working on my next big project.

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