JavaScript vs. Iframes- Which Is Best for SEO?

In this digital era, people use search engines such as Google to determine who they contact, where they shop and how much money they spend on anything they need to purchase. Consequently, many businesses have made their transition to the internet.

As an entrepreneur, search engine optimization (SEO) helps you to reach potential customers who are actively searching out information that relates to your products and services. Therefore, understanding JavaSCript and Iframes potential impact on SEO is a vital skillset you should have.

In today’s post, we shall cover fundamental concepts relating to JavaScript and Iframes. Keep reading all the way to the end to find which one is best for SEO.

Let’s start with JavaScript.

JavaScript

The relationship between JavaScript and SEO is highly debated in SEO circles. While Google maintains that they can render JavaScript websites, some professionals claim that this programming language is too arcane to execute.

So, who is telling the truth? Can search engines rank a website made in JavaScript? Before we answer these questions, let’s first explore the following:

  • how JavaScript works
  • how a site using JS can be crawled, indexed and then ranked
  • whether search engines can execute all these activities for a site that uses JavaScript code.

How JavaScript works

JavaScript creates interactive web pages by using frameworks to control the behavior of different elements on the page.

In the past, JS was only ideal for front- end (client- side) browser. These days, the code can be embedded on other host software like server-side in website servers as well as databases.

JavaScript problems started when its implementation still relied on client-side rendering. As a solution, JavaScript frameworks with server-side rendering emerged to solve the problem way before it arises.

To understand why problems occur and how you can prevent them, you need to have some basic skills on how search engines work. Let’s have a look at the information retrieval phases: crawling, indexing, and ranking.

Crawling, indexing and ranking

Crawling is the discovery phase. It is a rather complicated process that uses software programs known as spiders or web crawlers.  A popular example of a web crawler is Google bot.

Here is what the process looks like:

A crawler fetches web pages. It then follows the links on these pages and the process continues until the pages are indexed.  During indexing, the crawler uses a parsing module that analyzes code and extracts URLs in the <ahref=”…”> script without rendering them. Web crawlers can validate HTML codes and hyperlinks.

 You can use a “robots.txt” file to assist Google find the pages to crawl. This file communicates to search engines on whether they should access and crawl your entire site or just some parts of it.

The indexing phase involves analyzing the URL to understand its contents and relevance. The indexer also attempts to render the pages and execute JavaScript with a web rendering service.

The crawling and indexing phase work together. The crawler sends its findings to the indexer which in turn prioritizes the URLs according to their high value and feeds more URLs to the crawler.

Once this stage is complete, and there are no errors in the search console, the ranking process begins. At this point, SEO experts and webmasters must offer quality content, optimize the website and build valuable links.

JavaScript and SEO

JavaScript means faster server load and more loading time speed. With JavaScript, code functions run immediately. They do not wait for the server to answer. It also leads to higher versatility, easier implementation, and richer interfaces. Unfortunately, JavaScript also brings SEO some issues. Especially if your webmaster fails to optimize your JavaScript code.

It is essential for webmasters to know that it is the indexer and not the web crawler that takes care of JavaScript.  With this knowledge, they can correct any errors that occur and obtain the desired outcome which is google ranking website pages.

The best approach when using JS code is to try and make it easier for Google to understand the generated content.  For Google to rank content that uses JavaScript, you need to use tools and plugins to make it SEO friendly.

Let us now look at iframes and their impact on SEO

Iframes

Iframes (inline frames) are part of HTML syntax. They allow you to embed another site on your website’s code. As such, it enables you to use resources from other sites without duplicating content.

For instance, you can use iframes to embed; maps from google, slideshows from SlideShare, videos from YouTube as well as content for advertisement.

Initially, the challenge with Iframes was that search engines were unable to crawl iframe content. Users could see the content but robots couldn’t.  Also, robots were unable to leave the iframes once they entered hence would not index content on the rest of the website.

These days, web crawlers can travel freely between iframes and regular website content. Just like when using JavaScript, you can make it easier for search engines to access the content in your iframes using robot.txt.

Iframes and cloaking

So, can we consider Iframes to be cloaking? If you are new here, cloaking is a technique where you try to obscure poor quality content with good SEO by presenting different content to search engines robots than what your users see when they visit your site. This approach can have negative impacts on your search engine ranking as it defeats the purpose of ranking.

Iframes are distinct from cloaking. They mark the source of their content in the HTML syntax. Search engines, therefore, understand that the content seen by users is similar to the content referred to in the source URL.

Iframes and search engine rankings

Can Iframes affect your site ranking? Search engines consider the content in frames to belong to another website. They do not hurt or improve your search engine ranking. The best practice here is to avoid using iframes on essential pages you want to rank high on search engines results. Also, create useful and unique content for your high priority pages then use iframes in other pages.

Finally

So which is better for SEO, JavaScript or Iframes? As we have highlighted above, iframes generally do not effect SEO. However, since they contain content from other sites, you should avoid using them on website pages that you consider important.

On the other hand, Google sometimes may have problems dealing with JavaScript content. However, with proper implementation and use of a few tools and plugins, it is possible to have your content rank high in search engines.

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