Are Cruise Nation Guilty of Gaming Google by Using IFrames in Order to Sell Cheap Cruises?
OK; this may well be off target however Cruise Nation has risen up the rankings in Google for numerous cruise related terms; so I took a look at their link profile and am not sure if what they are doing is right.
Cruise Nation is using Iframes
Cruise Nation is using Iframes (hence “I Frame Cruise Nation”) on at least 28 websites that belong to one person whom I will not name; these websites are all hosted from one ip address.
All of them are nigh on identical and all are using an Iframe to Cruise Nations homepage. Now some will say; “well Google doesn’t index Iframes”. So the question is do they? If they do, then this is a clear breach of the Google Webmaster Guidelines and Matt Cutts’ explanation that linking just a handful of relevant sites together may be acceptable.
There are two video’s that support this practise of being able to link relevant websites together; these are:
However; note the use of numbers; he is talking about cross linking a handful of websites; not 28 websites and he also mentions about the content; these 28 websites have no content other than that showing via the Iframe which is duplicate to say the least.
So back to the other question; does Google count the links from an Iframe? There is an interesting post from 2012 entitled “IFRAME TEST: DO SEARCH ENGINES FOLLOW LINKS IN IFRAMES?” This clearly shows that Google does.
That post came after this post on SEO Roundtable called “Links In IFrames Pass Value In Google”; now I know you will be thinking but Google is now vastly different than in 2012. A post at the beginning of 2014 (Google Is Known to Crawl iFrames on Your Website) suggests it still happens.
My feelings are that Cruise Nation is deliberately trying to game Google via these websites which have been dressed up as franchisees sites due to the use of broker numbers on them.
After enquiring about their [Cruise Nation] franchises I believe each person gets a site like this; BUT each of them is creating links back to the main website; that of Cruise Nation. So I wonder how effective they actually are for the franchisee?
Instead of paying for links; this guy is getting paid for receiving links…kudos!
To summarize; we have at least 28 websites with duplicate Iframed content; all linking back to Cruise Nation and each link counts in Google. All websites are cruise/travel related which can help with rankings. I think this is in breach of the Google Webmaster Guidelines and is a clever attempt at building a link network that looks legitimate.
Update: I will just add that I have found out that Cruise Nation has 68 brokers; do all of these have websites and are are all of these pointing back to Cruise Nation?