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Iframe Links: Do They Pass Page Rank?

 4:41 pm on Mar 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi there, everyone:

Do links in an iframe pass page rank / get followed by google?

Thanks in advance.



 5:50 pm on Mar 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

If the URL displayed in the iframe gets indexed, then yes. However, a src attribute is not, itself a link. Last I tested it, a src attribute on its own was not enough to get the iframe's URL indexed.

[edited by: tedster at 6:26 pm (utc) on Mar 16, 2011]


 6:10 pm on Mar 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

tedster is right...

Sites that use frames or iframes won't pass pagerank betweeen eachother. This is due to the src attribute. Unless the individual pages are indexed and have backlinks, they won't pass anything to any of the linked pages. And I should mention that the menu part of a frameset, the smaller width frame with the navigation links, usually holds little to no PR; so you won't be passing any juice anywhere from that frame.


 6:28 pm on Mar 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

In a video a couple months ago, Matt Cutts did mention that Google's handling of iframed content might change - is this good news or bad news, eh?


 2:51 pm on Mar 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm unaware of that vid..link!


 3:02 pm on Mar 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

It was a closing comment on a video about another topic. They're are so many Matt Cutts videos now it's hard to pick out the right one. If locate it again, I will post the link.


 3:19 pm on Mar 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would think the src attribute is one way that Google can discover links for indexing. You have alternative content areas for both the <iframe> and <frameset> elements.

<iframe>Alternative content here.</iframe>
<noframes>Alternative content here.</noframes>

I will typically add a short summary of the src content along with a link to the <iframe> source. For example...

<iframe src="" title="" id="">
<a href="">Anchor Text</a> - 140-160 character summary of the src destination.

Don't ask me if the alternative content link passes PR, I wouldn't look at it from that perspective so I don't really know. HTML protocol suggests I utilize these areas in a specific way, that's what I do. ;)

My personal thinking is that most hrefs pass value in one form or another. Not just PR, but other signals too. It is all relative to the environment it is in - the context in which it is used.

Robert Charlton

 3:08 am on Mar 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts commented on a possible change in Google's handling of iframes back in his interview with Eric Enge in March 2010. I'm editing Matt's answer to limit how much we're quoting. A more complete exchange on the topic is in the interview following Eric's question....

Matt Cutts Interviewed by Eric Enge
http://www.stonetemple.com/articles/interview-matt-cutts-012510.shtml [stonetemple.com]

Eric Enge: If someone did choose to do that (JavaScript encoded links or use an iFrame), would that be viewed as a spammy activity or just potentially a waste of their time?

Matt Cutts: ...In my experience, we typically want our bots to be seen on the same pages and basically traveling in the same direction as search engine users. I could imagine down the road if iFrames or weird JavaScript got to be so pervasive that it would affect the search quality experience, we might make changes on how PageRank would flow through those types of links.

It's not that we think of them as spammy necessarily, so much as we want the links and the pages that search engines find to be in the same neighborhood and of the same quality as the links and pages that users will find when they visit the site.


 3:27 am on Mar 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

There's an implication here that might be missed. Even though the content of an iframe is displayed in the same WINDOW, it's not considered part of the URL (the "page.") So any content within the iframed URL wouldn't be available as a primary ranking signal for the parent URL.

If that iframe is not the target for any other link on the page, then my opinion is that Google will, some day, consider its content as part of the parent URL. That would be a tricky step, but it would also be more in line with a user's experience.


 6:19 am on Mar 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm a bit old school... can't say if G or anyone else works that way... iFrames are not "page content"... insertions. How all that plays out will be in the times to come.

Personally I don't use them. And I'm not all that thrilled with G's new implementation of :

But Google was already testing a new iframe script designed to reduce load times without requiring sites to change any of their AdSense code. "We want to minimize the amount of time we spend blocking the publisher page," Google mathematician Michael Kleber said at the time. "We want a webpage to be as fast with ads in it as without. But we want to do it without having publishers recast. We want to do it without them changing anything on their page, because, you know, AdSense is on millions of websites, and there's no way we're going to get millions to change their pages.

Which further destroys page content... but then again, as stated earlier, I'm old school. I have five sites where I play G... I have twelve sites were I don't... and one is unique and is the cash cow... and one where I don't do anything... and might be found in a profile.

Glad I am that G recognized their implementation was (over the years) krappy and slow, and this new version (iFrames) will make the pages load fast since they recently decreed that Page Speed was a marker in the algo...

I remain unimpressed. But that's me.

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