When it comes to framed sites and the effect that the use of frames by a site has on its search
engine ranking, there are two schools of thought. Some people say that framed sites, if done
properly, have no problems in getting good rankings in the search engines. Others claim that if
search engine optimization is important to you, never use frames.
In my opinion, the truth lies somewhere in between. Yes, the use of frames does throw up a few
issues when it comes to getting good rankings in the search engines which don't understand
frames. Hence, when you are designing a new site, I would recommend that you avoid using frames,
unless you have a specific reason for doing so. However, if you already have a site which uses
frames, all is not lost. You can still get good rankings in the search engines even though you
have used frames. Furthermore, using frames also has its own advantages when it comes to search
engine placement, as we shall see later on. This article assumes that you have a working knowledge
of frames. For more information on frames, click
In case your site uses frames, the key to getting good rankings lies in using the NOFRAMES tag.
The NOFRAMES tag is intended to help framed web sites display some content for those people who
are using non frames enabled browsers. The search engines which don't understand frames also
look at the NOFRAMES tag. Hence, if you are using frames, you need to add content to the
What you should do is to add a complete web page within the NOFRAMES tag. Ensure that this page
repeats the important keywords for your site a number of times. Also, in order to ensure that
the content within the NOFRAMES tag is as prominent as possible to the search engines, you
should put the NOFRAMES tag right after the FRAMESET tag. However, don't put the NOFRAMES before
the FRAMESET tag. If you do that, Internet Explorer will display your site correctly but
Netscape will display the content present in the NOFRAMES tag, rather than the content present
within the frames. Furthermore, you should also place a link to the page containing your
navigation links in the NOFRAMES tag. This ensures that the search engines are able to spider
the internal pages in your site.
Here's what the source code of your page might look like:
<title>Put an attractive title which contains keywords</title>
<meta name="description" content="Put an attractive description which also contains keywords">
<meta name="keywords" content="Your target keywords separated by commas">
<frameset border="0" cols="150,75%">
<h1>Heading containing keywords</h1>
<p>Here, you should add a lot of content and should repeat your keywords a number of times.
<p>More keyword rich text for the search engines.
<a href="left.html">Link to page containing navigation links</a>
<frame src="left.html" name="left" scrolling="no" noresize>
<frame src="main.html" name="main" scrolling="auto">
One problem that occurs when you use frames is that the search engines may often display one of
the internal pages in your site in response to a query. If this internal page does not contain a
link to the home page of your site, the user will be unable to navigate through your entire
site. The solution, of course, is to add a link to the home page from that internal page. When
the visitor clicks on that link, she is brought within the context of the frames.
However, simply adding a link to the home page presents yet another problem. If the visitor had
already been viewing that page within the context of the frames and then clicks on the link to
the home page, a new set of frames will be created in addition to the frames already being used.
In order to solve this problem, you have to use the TARGET = "_top" command in the link, i.e.
the HTML code for the link would be something like:
<a href="index.html" TARGET = "_top">Go to our home page</a>
Wrapping things up:
As I mentioned earlier, there is also an advantage to using frames. Since most Internet users
are now using frames enabled browsers, it means that not many people are going to know what's
present in your NOFRAMES tag. This allows you the repeat your keywords a few more times in the
NOFRAMES than what you could have done if you were writing a page which humans would also see
(of course, don't repeat the keywords too many times - that can cause your web site to be
penalized for spamming). You can also avoid using tables, graphics etc. which you would
otherwise need to use if humans would also view that page. However, it is debatable whether this
small advantage is sufficient to justify using frames.
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Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected and recognized search engine positioning specialists on the Internet. For more articles on search engine placement, subscribe to his 1st Search Ranking Newsletter by sending a blank email to mailto:1stSearchRanking.email@example.com or by going to http://www.1stSearchRanking.net