Figuring Out Domain Forwarding & Redirecting

September 2nd 2009 | Google & SEO

Iframes and 301 Redirect

iframeAs part of our grand plan to lead you through the various aspects of optimizing your new Wix website we noticed some of you have showed an interest in various aspects of domain forwarding and iframes. Our support team received lots of questions on why their new Flash website isn’t listed in Google and other search engines and when we checked we discovered several cases in which iframes were being used. For this reason, we decided to explain iframes and shed some light on the issue.

Iframes: Yes or No?

Iframes (or inline frames) allow you to display content from one domain, under a different domain. For example, you’ve built a free website with Wix all about photography and you have another new domain called photography.com. You want all the content you’ve uploaded onto the Wix website to appear under your new ‘photography’ domain. What you do is, you add an iframe into the source of your photography domain and place your Wix website into the iframe. None of the content will appear in your photography domain. Your new domain will appear to have zero content, no fresh content, no links, no updates, nothing. You can add the basic Meta tags, such as title, description and keywords into your photography domain, but that will be the only thing the search engine crawler will see, and as you can read in our previous blog post on Getting Your Site Listed in Google, where there is no content there is no crawler, no indexing and no ranking. Content is Google’s king, bread and butter. In fact, if you visit Google SEO sites you’ll discover that they strongly advise against using frames and iframes in general, as it places you in quite a disadvantage.

Redirecting 301 & Domain Forwarding

The 301 redirect code is an HTTP status code used for redirection. The 301 status code indicates that a resource has been permanently moved to a new location, specified by the ‘location’ header that follows (in the source). What this means is, that the old URL is obsolete and that the crawler should replace any references to the old URL with the newly indicated URL.

What will actually happen is that as you load the web page in the browser you will automatically be redirected to the new location specified in the ‘location’ header. This is a permanent redirect, so when you press the back button, your browser won’t send you back to the original page. Using the 301 redirect also tells search engines that all link equities from the original URL should be credited to the new one. In theory, this also means that the new page will inherit the rankings from the original page.

Let’s take a look and see what happens to your ‘photography’ domain in this case. In practice, your ‘photography’ domain is considered the ‘original’ domain, because that’s where you’re sending your visitors. As they attempt to visit your ‘photography’ site, they are automatically redirected to your Wix Flash website. This means that your Wix website will continue to gain strength, as all the content and links are ascribed to it now, and the original URL, (using the example of the ‘photography’ URL) will lose its ranking.

Summary

After taking a quick glance at the ways in which you have been using iframes and the redirect option for your Flash website, it appears that they are usually used to create an individual domain name.

By using the iframe you lose your page ranking and undermine every optimization effort you’ve made.
By using the 301 domain forwarding you are strengthening the Wix URL instead of your new URL.

Getting your own domain name with Wix is cheap, starting from about $5 a month. Is it really worth the hassle, the trouble and the loss of your page ranking?


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