I haven’t optimised too many flash sites, in fact, this isn’t something I have on top of my list when it comes to working on SEO. I am just not a huge fan of flash sites. Maybe because I have no design skills myself. Well, I have been reading up on SEO for flash due to a current project and thought I would share a few learnings.
1. How Searchable is Flash Content
Most people within the SEO industry would tell you flash isn’t that searchable. The two main search engines Google and Yahoo (or should we say Yahoo + Bing) can index text compiled into a SWF and any HTML code generated by Flash. You can also add metadata like a title tag and description to your SWF. This allows you to target a keyword in the same manner you would map a keyword to the page title.
2. Getting Pages With Flash Indexed
It can be a little more difficult to get pages with Flash or with some kind of dynamic content indexed. A quick way to improve their chances is to create either an xml sitemap or a static sitemap i.e. http://www.searchbrat.com/links/. This should help get your content indexed although its not guaranteed. You should link to your sitemap in place where Google is likely to find it. I would often look to put it above your top navigation i.e. the first link on a page.
3. How to Create Optimised Flash Content
Although I previously did give Flash a little bit of a bashing in a previous post, Flash can actually work with SEO. Surrounding Flash with keyword rich text and making sure you add optimised content for the metadata can vastly improve your chances of getting ranked for target keywords. Adobe has also recently announced that both Google and Yahoo get a special version of the flash player that allows them to crawl through a Flash movie similar to how it can index HTML pages. This allows both search engines to index all URLs and text within the text fields.
Just to clarify this point, any text in text fields and any URLs in your ActionScript are now being indexed by search engines. That’s right, you don’t need to do anything to make this happening.
I do want to say, in my original post, I did say creating your entire site in Flash is a terrible idea and I stand by this.
One of the main disadvantages I see with Flash sites is the navigation and internal linking, both of these are made a lot more complicated by Flash sites. If your site is entirely made up of Flash, people may have to navigate through your entire application to view a particular page. This can make things a lot more complex. Being able to interlink between pages using in content keywords is one of the most effective ways to increase your rank, especially if you have a relatively large site with lots of content indexed.
These are just some musings on Flash, feel free to add some of your own …
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