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How do search engines handle frames?

Google

Reasons your site may not be included: Your page uses frames. Google supports frames to the extent that it can. Frames tend to cause problems with search engines, bookmarks, emailing links and so on, because frames don't fit the conceptual model of the web (every page corresponds to a single URL). If a user's query matches the site as a whole, Google returns the frame set. If a user's query matches an individual page on the site, Google returns that page. That individual page is not displayed in a frame -- because there may be no frame set corresponding to that page -- Google: Webmasters

Inktomi Web Search

Our crawler does not index frames. This is due to the fact that frames are created as secondary part of a page, and website administrators do not like content linking directly to frames (which is what would happen if we were to return a frame as a search result). -- Inktomi: Search FAQ

Excite

Possible reasons why you can't find your site Your site uses frames and frames are not indexable. [they are they just don't want to] Frames allow a Web author to present several windows within one Web page, which is fine for design but not for indexing. Framed content is not indexable. [...] -- Excite: Getting Listed

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