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Search Engine Optimization for Flash

Book Description

Some people believe that because search engines can't index all of the content in SWF files, Flash-based websites and Rich Internet Applications don't show up in web searches. This breakthrough book dispels that myth by demonstrating precisely what you can do to make your site fully searchable no matter how much Flash it contains. You'll learn best practices for using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build sites with Flash that will stand tall in search rankings.

Search Engine Optimization for Flash shows you how search engines work, what constitutes a search-engine-optimized (SEO) site, and what to watch out for in the way of SEO pitfalls. With this concise book, you will:

  • Know what content is searchable, and why metadata, keywords, and links are so important
  • Learn how to place HTML content in your Flash applications
  • Create an SEO website by connecting Flash to JavaScript and CSS
  • Work effectively with SWFObject by understanding its capabilities and limitations
  • Discover the advantages of using the Adobe Flex framework for SEO

The first and most authoritative book on how to optimize Flash content for search engines, Search Engine Optimization for Flash is an invaluable resource if you develop with Flash and want to be sure your audience can easily find your site.

Table of Contents

  1. A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
  2. Foreword
  3. Preface
    1. Introduction to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    2. Understanding SEO and Reasons to Use SEO
    3. Understanding SEO and Flash
    4. Understanding SEO and Web Standards
    5. What You Should Know Before Reading This Book
      1. Flash CS4
      2. ActionScript 3.0
      3. HTML
      4. JavaScript
      5. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
      6. PHP
    6. Setting Up Your Software
      1. Adobe Flash CS4
      2. Dreamweaver CS4 or a Plain-Text Editor
    7. Understanding the Facts About Flash and SEO
      1. Is Flash Content Searchable?
      2. What About SWF Metadata?
    8. What Should I Expect to Learn in This Book?
    9. Who This Book Is For
    10. Websites
    11. Who This Book Is Not For
    12. Conventions Used in This Book
    13. Using Code Examples
    14. Safari® Enabled
    15. How to Contact Us
  4. 1. SEO Fundamentals
    1. Understanding How Search Engines Work
      1. Spiders
      2. Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
      3. SEO Versus SEM
        1. What ads are paid?
        2. Who clicks the paid ads?
        3. Should I pay for ads?
      4. Page Rank, Relevance, and Popularity
        1. Page rank
        2. Relevance
        3. Popularity
    2. Understanding Black Hat SEO
    3. Getting into a Searcher’s Mind
      1. Likely Visitors to Your Site
      2. What People Search For
      3. Connecting with Your Searchers
        1. Establishing trust through security
        2. Establishing trust through design
        3. Establishing trust through content
        4. Connecting through community
        5. Connecting with the locals
    4. You and SEO
      1. Effectively Choosing Keywords
        1. Highly competitive keywords
        2. Unique keywords
        3. Use online tools to see what people are searching for
      2. Important Parts of a Site
        1. Design
        2. Typography
        3. Accessibility
        4. Usability
        5. Site search
      3. Ways to Track SEO on Your Site
      4. Keeping Up with the Latest Info
    5. Key Terms Used in This Chapter
  5. 2. Creating an SEO Website
    1. Search Engines and HTML Code
      1. Page Titles
        1. Adding page titles to HTML code
        2. Choosing an effective page title
      2. Working with Links
        1. Writing links
        2. Understanding the link voting system
        3. Working with link attributes
        4. Inbound links
        5. Outbound links
        6. Link limits
      3. Headings
        1. Creating h1, h2, and h3 elements
      4. Bold/Strong Text
        1. Creating bold and strong elements
      5. Emphasized Text
        1. Creating emphasized elements
      6. Images
        1. Images and the alt attribute in HTML
      7. Metadata
        1. Using keyword metadata
        2. Keywords in HTML code
        3. Creating a metadata description
        4. Metadata descriptions in HTML code
        5. Controlling spiders via metadata
      8. File Sizes
        1. Understanding file and folder syntax
        2. Consolidating URLs
      9. Don’t Forget the Content
    2. Sitemaps
      1. Why You Need a Sitemap
      2. Creating a Sitemap
      3. Creating an XML-Based Sitemap
        1. Warning: special characters
      4. Creating a Plain-Text Sitemap
      5. Placing Your Sitemap
      6. Submitting a Sitemap
    3. Preventing Spiders from Indexing Pages
      1. Creating a robots.txt File
      2. Placing the robots.txt File
      3. Verifying That robots.txt Is Working
      4. Other Ways to Prevent Files from Being Indexed
        1. Using noindex in metadata
        2. Password-protecting pages
        3. Removing pages from Google’s index
    4. Directory Listings
      1. Submitting Your Site to a Directory
      2. Directories You Should Submit To
    5. Local Searches
      1. Benefits of Local Searches
      2. Setting Up Your Site for Local Searches
      3. Submitting Your Site for Local Searches
    6. SEO, Web Standards, and Accessibility
      1. Separation of Content, Structure, and Behavior
      2. Accessibility
    7. SEO Pitfalls
      1. Unethical SEO
      2. Too Much Dynamic Data
      3. Excessive JavaScript/AJAX That Controls HTML
      4. Too Much Flash Content
      5. Frames
      6. Slicing
    8. Monitoring Your Success
      1. Number of People Visiting
      2. Patience and Time
      3. Poor Results
    9. Exercises in Creating a Simple SEO Site
      1. Exercise 2-1: Viewing Optimized HTML
      2. Exercise 2: Viewing Pages That Contain Flash
      3. Exercise 3: Setting Up a Google Webmaster Tools Account
      4. Exercise 4: Adding a Simple Sitemap
      5. Exercise 5: Consolidating Home Page URLs
      6. Exercise 6: Protecting Private Data
    10. Key Terms Used in This Chapter
  6. 3. Creating Optimized Content in Flash
    1. Flash SEO Myths
      1. Myth 1: Flash Content Is Bad for SEO
      2. Myth 2: Flash Content Isn’t Searchable
    2. Flash SEO Pitfalls and Challenges
      1. Using Too Much Flash
      2. The Link Dilemma
      3. Data Security
    3. Creating SEO Flash Content
      1. Flash SEO Original Methods
        1. Understanding SWF metadata
        2. Adding metadata to a SWF file
        3. Viewing XMP metadata
        4. Flash text in HTML
      2. Recent Developments on the Flash SEO Front
        1. Understanding what content is searchable
        2. Understanding how to make searchable Flash content
        3. Understanding how to make non-searchable Flash content
        4. Optimizing a Flash application for search
        5. Using HTML text with CSS in ActionScript 3.0
      3. Solving the Link Dilemma
        1. Understanding named anchors
        2. Creating multipage applications
        3. Understanding deep links
    4. Exercises
      1. Exercise 3-1: Optimizing a Flash Application
      2. Exercise 2: Optimizing ActionScript-Driven Text in a Flash Application
    5. Key Terms Used in This Chapter
  7. 4. Using JavaScript with Flash for SEO
    1. Prerequisite JavaScript Experience
    2. Essential Flash SEO JavaScript
      1. SWFObject
        1. Benefits of SWFObject
        2. Downloading SWFObject
        3. Using SWFObject in a Flash application
        4. Using the static publishing method
        5. Using the dynamic publishing method
        6. Using the SWFObject generator
      2. SWFAddress
        1. Benefits of SWFAddress
        2. Limitations of SWFAddress
        3. Downloading SWFAddress
        4. Using SWFAddress in a Flash application
    3. Exchanging Data Between Flash and JavaScript
      1. Understanding the ExternalInterface Class
        1. Reasons to use ExternalInterface
        2. Using ExternalInterface to call JavaScript functions
        3. Using returned JavaScript data
        4. Calling Flash functions from JavaScript
        5. Using data returned from Flash with JavaScript
      2. Other Methods of Flash and JavaScript Communication
        1. Working with flashvars
    4. Exercises
      1. Exercise 4-1: Optimizing with SWFObject
      2. Exercise 4-2: Deep Linking with SWFAddress
      3. Exercise 4-3: Flash/JavaScript Communication with ExternalInterface
      4. Exercise 4-4A: Installing a Testing Server (Windows XP and Windows Vista)
      5. Exercise 4-4B: Installing a Testing Server (Mac OS X)
    5. Key Terms Used in This Chapter
  8. 5. Optimizing Dynamic Content
    1. Understanding Dynamic Content and Static Content
    2. Dynamic Content and SEO
      1. Challenges for Optimizing Dynamic Content
        1. Dynamic URLs
        2. Logins and other forms
        3. Cookies
        4. Session IDs
        5. “Hidden” pages
        6. JavaScript
      2. Ways to Optimize Dynamic Content
        1. Creating static URLs
        2. Optimizing content hidden by forms
    3. Understanding AJAX
      1. AJAX SEO Issues
      2. AJAX SEO Solutions
        1. Creating searchable AJAX applications
    4. Exercise: Optimizing a Dynamic Application that Uses Flash
    5. Key Terms Used in this Chapter
  9. 6. SEO for Rich Internet Applications Using Flex
    1. Getting to Know Flex
      1. Reasons to Use Flex Instead of Flash
      2. Understanding Flex Applications
      3. Becoming Familiar with Flex Builder
        1. Design view
        2. Source view
        3. The Flex Navigator
      4. Creating a Flex Project
      5. Building a Simple Flex Application
        1. Adding components and modifying properties
        2. Adding simple interactivity
        3. Testing the application
        4. Viewing the files created by Flex
        5. More to learn
    2. Searchable Flex Content
      1. Static Text
      2. Dynamic Text
      3. Other Searchable Elements
      4. Best Practices
      5. Essential Flex SEO Steps
    3. Loading Text into Flex
      1. Understanding Data Loading
      2. Understanding E4X
        1. Working with XML elements in ActionScript 3.0
        2. Working with E4X attributes
      3. Using XML Data in Flex
    4. Understanding History Management
      1. Using History Management
      2. Benefits of History Management
      3. Weaknesses of History Management
    5. Understanding the BrowserManager Class and Deep Linking
      1. BrowserManager Essentials
        1. Properties, methods, and events
        2. Using the URLUtil class
      2. Creating a Deep Linking Application
      3. BrowserManager Limitations
    6. Implementing SWFObject in a Flex Application
      1. Using SWFObject with Flex
    7. Using SWFAddress with Flex
      1. Implementing SWFAddress in Flex
    8. Deep Linking with URLKit
      1. Benefits of URLKit
      2. Implementing URLKit in a Flex Application
        1. Adding urlkitFlex3.swc to your project’s build path
        2. Adding the URLKit code
    9. Exercises
    10. Exercise 6-1: Loading XML-Based Text
    11. Exercise 6-2: Using SWFObject with a Flex Application
    12. Exercise 6-3: Deep Linking Using SWFAddress
    13. Exercise 6-4: Deep Linking with URLKit
    14. Key Terms Used in This Chapter
  10. 7. Optimizing Your Site
    1. Looking at Your Site As a Search Engine Optimizer
      1. Reviewing Flash SEO Techniques
        1. Creating searchable text
        2. Adding deep links
        3. Optimizing development time with reusable XML data
      2. Case Studies: Two Flash-Based Websites
        1. ChrisOrwig.com
        2. AndrewThorn.com
      3. Top SEO Hazards
        1. Searchable text
        2. Deep links
      4. Improving High and Low Priority Areas
        1. Identifying higher priority areas
        2. Recognizing lower priority areas
    2. Exercises
    3. Exercise 1: Optimizing a Site’s HTML Code to Adjust Its Description in the SERPs
    4. Exercise 2: Adding Searchable Text to a Poorly Optimized Site
    5. Exercise 3: Using XML Data with PHP to Optimize Development Time
    6. Challenge
  11. Index
  12. About the Author
  13. Colophon
  14. Copyright