Optimizing Flash

As we referenced several times earlier in this chapter, Flash is popular on the Web, but each presents challenges to the search engines in terms of indexing the related content. This creates a gap between the user experience with a site and what the search engines can find on that site.


It used to be that search engines did not index Flash content at all. In June 2008, Google announced that it was offering improved indexing of this content (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/06/improved-flash-indexing.html). This announcement indicates that Google can index text content and find and follow links within Flash files. However, Google still cannot tell what is contained in images within the Flash file. Here are some reasons why Flash is still not fully SEO-friendly:

Different content is not on different URLs

This is the same problem you encounter with AJAX-based pages. You could have unique frames, movies within movies, and so on that appear to be completely unique portions of the Flash site, yet there’s often no way to link to these individual elements.

The breakdown of text is not clean

Google can index the output files in the SWF file to see words and phrases, but in Flash, a lot of your text is not inside clean <h1> or <p> tags; it is jumbled up into half-phrases for graphical effects and will often be output in the incorrect order. Worse still are text effects that often require “breaking” words apart into individual letters to animate them.

Flash gets ...

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