How iFrames Are Killing Your Website

January 6, 2024

It’s 2024: Do not use iFrames for interactive content. They are old-school, outdated, and do you no SEO favors. In fact, if your site is currently using interactive tools built on iFrames, it’s up to you to switch out those ASAP. 

And it's not just the friendly team at Chimney that shares this opinion, even Google's Webmaster says to avoid iFrames.

Unfortunately, you probably don’t have any control over how your web pages are actually built – that’s what your web agency or IT team is paid the big bucks for. But, as a marketer, the effectiveness of your site elements definitely affects your KPIs, so don’t be afraid to make your voice heard and tell your developers in no uncertain terms that the iFrame calculators have got to go.

And when they say, well, do you have any better suggestions? You’ll have an answer for them – switching is easy if you choose a modern-thinking calculator vendor that leaves iFrames back in the 90s where they belong.

How did iFrames become popular in the first place?

Inline frames (shortened to iFrames) were introduced in the late 1990s by Microsoft, making it one of the oldest HTML tags. From a technology perspective, it’s ancient. That said, there are still some legitimate use cases for iFrames. 

The Downsides to Using iFrames

We examined a few key areas that digital marketers care about most:

  • iFrames are killing your page speed - When you have iFrames on your page, you’re really loading two (or more) pages simultaneously – and it can take forever! Anything you can do to keep the page size and load time down will improve the user experience. Plus, page speed is a ranking factor for SEO.
  • iFrames are killing your SEO - Interactive tools built on iFrames are a missed SEO opportunity. That’s because iFrames cannot help you at all when it comes to driving keyword traffic since all of the text and metadata within an iFrame belongs to another site. Therefore, it is not crawled or indexed. Since calculators are likely going to be placed on important content pages for which you want to rank well, you’d be much better served to use calculators that you can access and tag with high-ranking keywords.
  • iFrames are killing your conversions - If you are a digital marketer, you know it’s all about the metrics. But It’s impossible to track if and how your iFrame content is helping you convert since another website owns the content that’s inside an iFrame. Therefore, you won’t be able to do any tracking as you would with a tool that lives within your site.
  • Integrations & Maintenance - It’s much more difficult to manage iFrames than it is to maintain and update custom-built tools that are housed on your own site, within your own code. Constant manual updates and complicated code files means that you will be filling ticket orders to make changes with your dev team anytime you want a simple update.

“It’s best to refrain from using iFrames on main pages that you want to rank high in search engine results. Instead, fill high-priority pages with useful, unique content.” 

SEO experts at Boostability

Google Says Do Not Use iFrames

By definition, iFrames were a late addition to your website. The parts didn’t come from the factory, they’re mismatched, and create more risk. In addition to the negative impact on your site’s overall appearance and the user experience, they also have a deadly impact on your traffic goals.

In fact, even Google says, don’t do it – straight from its developer site: “We recommend that you avoid the use of iFrames to display content.”

When iFrames are useful

An iFrame is basically an easy way to plop a third party element onto your web page. It’s basically another window that lives within your page, but draws its content from an outside source. For example, when you embed a YouTube video into a blog post, you are using an iFrame. As long as the user can see the video and it adds content value to your page, it’s done its job.

There are some instances in which using iFrames makes sense – like the YouTube example, or if you’re embedding a Google Map to help customers find your branch location. In those instances, you don’t necessarily care that the user is seeing another company’s branding within your page because being a video platform or creating maps are not part of your core services. You’re also not trying to score extra SEO points with such iFrames – you just want to supplement your page in some way.

How to Win the Anti-iFrame Argument

It might seem daunting if you go into your next meeting and declare that you need all new calculators. Instead, show that you’ve done your homework by letting your web development team know how easy it is to make the switch. Choosing a partner like Chimney to create, implement and maintain your custom calculators takes most of the work off their plate, while still allowing them to retain creative and SEO control.

We'll even provide a free no-risk 30-day trial so you can see how easy it is to get a custom calculator setup for you.

On one call we’ll build you new calculators and send them to your web team for free. They can test them before making the switch.

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