Rants & Raves
April 29, 2002 Search Engines and Sites Using Frames
I'm currently studying for CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster) certification. It's not the best way to learn how to build a web site. It seems better for having something to show a prospective employer. I get my best education from tackling problems on my and others' sites.
For instance, my cousin asked my why he couldn't seem to get his site listed on the Google search engine. Google hadn't even indexed it. Even when you entered the full web address in the search box, nothing came up. Since my site is well indexed on Google, I put an invisible link on one of my pages to his site a few months ago, so that Google would find it. I checked Google again recently. The site had been indexed but was not showing up on a search of the keywords because the only thing that shows up in Google's cache of the site is "This site uses frames, but your browser does not support them".
After a bit of research, I found that frames are a real obstacle to a site's being properly indexed by a search engine. When a page using frames loads, it has to then load the code separately for each frame. Indexing the internet takes a lot of time, so search engine bots, or robots, don't want to wait for the frame HTML files to load. So it doesn't wait for them, and only saves the frameset page, which doesn't contain any of the frame content. All it really contains is the alternate text ("noframes", if the web author has provided it) for browsers which don't support frames. So, a solution to this problem is to include a description of the site in the noframes section for the search engine to index.
But a far better solution is to avoid frames altogether if possible. They cause more problems than they are worth. In addition to search engine problems, they can cause problems when trying to bookmark or link to a page with frames. The most recent versions of Internet Explorer have solved this problem by saving the links for all of the frames in a page, but Netscape and Opera still do not retain this information. To illustrate, surf to www.leoville.com, click on the Cams link, and then bookmark the page. When you click on the bookmark in Netscape and IE, you don't return to the Cams page, but instead get taken to the main page. The same problem occurs if you have a webpage and want to link to a page with frames. Fortunately, Leo has counteracted this problem by providing frame-less versions of his pages.
Posted by Christy on April 29, 2002 10:08 PM
You make a very good point. Although frames do save on load time when surfing a site, there's the draw back you just mentioned. I won't be using frames anytime soon. Thanks Christy.
Posted by: John on April 29, 2002 10:22 PM
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