Googlebot's iframe handlingGooglebot's iframe handling

At SMX Advanced earlier this year, I presented the findings from our Peak Ace test lab. The results of these tests provided some insight into a number of technical implementation issues and how Googlebot would handle them. 

Googlebot’s iframe handling

One of my favorite tests looked at how Google indexed iFramed URLs and the content they contained. In my SMX Advanced talk, I discussed a number of scenarios that could cause Google to index the content contained in an iFrame while “assigning” that content to its parent URL.

In some cases, the parent URL may appear in search results for content that is only present in the iFramed URL.

Was the content that was being iFramed in the iFrame test coming from the same domain or a different one? 

The same holds true for externaldomain.com/tobeframedB.html, which still allows test.html to rank for content that is only found in tobeframedB.html, as well as for iFrames that are located on subdomains. Every possible combination was put to the test, and the results showed that it didn’t matter where the iFrame content was hosted.

Looking into the X-Frame-Options Header would be a good idea if you want to stop someone from loading (and ranking for) your content in an iFrame. This indicates whether allowing a browser to render a page in an iFrame is appropriate. 

In terms of page speed, iFrames support the loading=”lazy” attribute, which would delay the loading of offscreen iFrames until a user scrolls close to them. This is a tasteful way to shorten the time it takes for URLs that use iFramed content to load.

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