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It’s impossible to know too much when you’re trying to build an ecommerce store. Knowledge is power. But the information pool surrounding website building and ecommerce in general keeps evolving. As a result, the technology and terminology supporting the ecommerce space is in a constant state of change.

As a result, there are many tools and methods available for individuals trying to build an ecommerce site. However, these are not all on equal footing. iFrames are at the center of this debate over usefulness. Here’s why they are bad for e-stores.

What Are iFrames?

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In simple terms, an iFrame, or an inline frame, is a website structuring tool that allows users to embed HTML within a page. This can be useful for people who want to put the content from another website onto a webpage. They can have their own scrollbar, and allow for content to change within the iFrame without reloading.

While these factors both sound beneficial, there are actually many more drawbacks to iFrames than positives.

Search Engines Don’t Like Them

If you’re new to the world of ecommerce, know this: You need to understand what makes your site friendly to search engines—especially Google. Having a search-approved e-store will get your website more traffic through better organic search performance. To get the most out of your ecommerce site, you need to familiarize yourself with the basics of SEO (search engine optimization).

The majority of search engine best practitioners agree that iFrames are bad for your ecommerce store. Some search engines don’t support iFrames at all because it’s complicated to index them. This can be totally devastating to your site’s SEO.

They’re Not Hard to Manipulate

Site security is one of the most important elements to building reliable enterprise ecommerce solutions. An unsafe website is one of the best ways to totally kill the legitimacy of your ecommerce store. People won’t want to shop with you if they feel their data is at risk. This can happen quite readily to sites that use iFrames. The HTML in an iFrame can be manipulated beyond the control of the site’s administrators.

Back in 2008, iFrames were making the news for all the wrong reasons. Several major news sites, such as CBS, fell victim to iFrame hacks, which gave malware to unsuspecting users.

They’re Outdated

As stated in the previous section, they were having vulnerability issues way back in 2008. However, they thrived because iFrames were perceived as the best way to embed HTML. Many sites still use it despite the SEO penalties now being levied against iFrame by companies such as Google. But this transition in search preferences is the perfect opportunity for you to boost your own site’s SEO potential by avoiding outmoded shortcuts and doing things the right way.

Other Options Besides iFrames

There are now a number of better alternatives to embedding HTML. Employing Web Components is one of the smartest ways to accomplish this task. Essentially, Web Components uses different code to achieve the desired effect of iFrames without so many of the drawbacks. Yes, you will need to do a bit of homework to get comfortable with using them. However, because of their effectiveness, many enterprise ecommerce providers are using it to ensure they have more secure and search engine-friendly platform.

Long story short, iFrames are bad for ecommerce stores—period. The drawbacks outweigh any sort of convenience they might hold.  If you want to optimize your traffic and protect your customer’s personally identifiable information, there are a number of more effective ways of accomplishing the same thing.