Understanding the Facts About Flash and SEO - Search Engine Optimization for Flash

by Todd Perkins

There are plenty of rumors, myths, and semi-myths about Flash and SEO floating around on the Web. The following are some facts about Flash content on the Web.

Search Engine Optimization for Flash book cover

This excerpt is from Search Engine Optimization for Flash. Search Engine Optimization for Flash dispels the myth that Flash-based websites won't show up in a web search by demonstrating exactly 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, as well as SWFObject, for building sites with Flash that will stand tall in search rankings.

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Is Flash Content Searchable?

Many, if not most, people in the world of web design think Flash content is not searchable. Are they right? It really depends on what you mean by “searchable.” At the time of this writing, search engines Google and Yahoo! are able to index text compiled into a Flash movie, as well as any HTML code that is automatically generated by Flash. And although Flash movie itself is not extremely searchable, any content inside a Flash movie can still be made very visible by using the right tactics.

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Google indexes SWF files on the Web. In Google, you can search specifically for SWF files by searching for filetype:swf + "search example", and the results will search page URLs and static text in Flash movies. The problem with using this method for Flash SEO is that users are unlikely to perform a search for a particular file type to find your site. Further, the pages found in a Google search are links to actual SWF files, not HTML pages, so you have significantly less control over what the user will see even if they do end up finding your Flash movie.

What About SWF Metadata?

In Flash, for a few versions now, you have been able to add metadata information like a title and description to your Flash movies. This metadata gets embedded in your Flash movies to make them potentially visible to search engines. Sadly, SEO in Flash isn’t that easy, because search engines don’t currently index this information.

If you enjoyed this excerpt, buy a copy of Search Engine Optimization for Flash.