Earlier this year at SMX Advanced, we announced the results of our Peak Ace test lab. These tests reveal some technical implementation points and how Googlebot deals with them.
One of my favorite tests looked at Google’s indexing of iFrame URLs and their content. In his SMX Advanced presentation of mine, I touched on various scenarios that could result in Google indexing content within an iFrame and “assigning” that content to its parent URL.
Parent URLs can sometimes rank against content that exists only in the iFramed URL and not in the parent URL.
Naturally, this got people excited and generated all sorts of follow-up questions.Here are some of them along with my answers.
In the iFrame test, was the iFrame content from the same domain or from a different domain?
In my example, I showed two URLs that exist on the same domain.
test.html You can rank by content that exists only in
externaldomain.com/tobeframedB.html – can still cause
test.html Ranking content that exists only in
tobeframedB.html, As well as iFrames residing on subdomains. After testing all possible combinations, we concluded that it makes no difference where the iFrame content is hosted.
If you want to prevent someone from loading (and ranking) your content into an iFrame, I recommend looking into the X-Frame-Options header. This indicates whether the browser should allow the page to be rendered in an iFrame.
If I use an iFrame on a non-indexed content page, will the parent page be ranked against the listed content for the purpose of speeding up the page?
As soon as the iFramed URL contains the meta robots noindex directive, the parent URL will no longer be able to rank for the iFramed URL’s content.
The same is true when iFrame URLs that are provided with X-Robots’ noindex header directive or actively blocked using robots.txt.
As far as page speed is concerned, an iFrame is
loading="lazy" This will delay loading the offscreen iFrame until the user scrolls nearby. This is an elegant solution for speeding up the load times of URLs that rely on iFrame content.
Does Google place enough value on semi-hidden content (content that usually appears after “read more”)?
It seems that the use of the “read more” feature within Google buddies is not very popular. John Mueller took notes here and here a few times, questioning the use of the whole feature. Mueller adds: […]”.
The purpose of the test when testing was to understand what difference the technical implementation might make. Also, in general it was to understand if the content behind “read more” is indexed (if configured correctly).
Simply put, content is indexed, searched, and returned regardless of whether the content is visible.
However, content that was not visible during loading was not highlighted in the snippet. The technical implementation makes no difference (as long as the content is part of the HTML DOM when loaded) and you are free to use it.
That said, in my opinion, various factors beyond our control make it impractical to create a test setup (including results) that can provide an exact answer regarding the “full value” part of the question. Is possible.
Did I mention that duplicates in certain areas of content are not indexed and can be fixed by implementing CSS?
We’ve seen some pretty interesting behavior with regards to CSS selectors. What happens technically is a selector like this:
::before Creates a pseudo-element that is the first child of the selected element. In practice, this is often used to add decorative content to HTML elements.
This can also be useful from an SEO perspective. This is because Googlebot seems to treat this the same way it treats Chrome on desktops/smartphones. The rendered DOM is unchanged (which makes sense since it’s a pseudo-class). As a result, content within these selectors is not indexed.
So, ultimately you can use this to prevent certain content from being indexed without preventing that content from appearing on your website. You may need to display certain content that is categorized as “boilerplate” (such as shipping information or legal information), or you may want to create a footprint for certain content. This opens up so many possibilities for further exploration.
Watch: Technical SEO Testing in 2022: Separating Fact from Fiction
Below is the full video of the SMX Advanced presentation.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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