I saw the darnedest thing yesterday while browsing a few sites for research. I came across a website that wasn’t designed too terribly badly, but it had a forum that was embedded into a page using an iframe. My initial reaction was, Why?
And I’m still asking that question nearly 24 hours later.
If you must understand anything about iframes, the one thing you should know is that they can’t be crawled. If you have content in an iframe, search engines won’t see them. That’s a big negative. But it’s even worse when you have one of your most important content elements in an iframe and when that element is on a page all by itself. I just don’t know why anyone would do that.
A forum is a very important piece of user-generated content. Every time someone posts a new forum post it becomes a new page in the search engines. Yes, every single post – not just the threads – the posts are individual web pages. Each one has the potential to rank highly for your keywords. What’s more, an entire thread on a particular discussion can be an important search engine optimization and search engine marketing tool. But if you have the forum in an iframe it doesn’t matter. You’ll get no SEO benefits.
I would use iframes sparingly. They have their place, but don’t put your important content elements in them. You want those to be crawled and indexed. Otherwise, just do away with them.