Google is Indexing Flash: Hooray for SEO!
Josh Chambers, Former Viget
This is my first time referencing, and being referenced by, an Inspire blog post. Cross-pollination delight. Frankly, I’m honored. Hopefully the designers will let me sit at their lunch table now.
In case you didn't know, Adobe & Google have teamed up to make Flash content SEO friendly. For as long as I can remember anyone interested in SEO has steered clear of Flash – which in my mind is unfortunate as Flash can provide a web experience that non-Flash sites cannot replicate. Erik covered everything really well, so I’ll just throw in a few additional thoughts.
Yahoo! Too: First, it’s worth noting that Adobe also passed along their technology to Yahoo! and while Yahoo! has not yet implemented the technology, Yahoo! said , “Yahoo! is committed to supporting webmaster needs with plans to support searchable SWF and is working with Adobe to determine the best possible implementation.”
Meta data and cache: As Erik mentioned, this step forward is still only indexing any text and links within a Flash piece, it won’t be indexing photos (even if they are ALT tagged) or other non-textual content.
The same goes for meta data. These algorithms (I just pushed my glasses up) will not index meta data nor will Google cache the indexed information. I know there are debates on whether meta data even matters anymore; but when your site is Flash and needs all the help it can get – meta data could be helpful. But, moot point. Also, the lack of cache means we won’t be able to discover what exactly Google has indexed.
But that's not all folks. I have, of course, saved the best for last...
Improved URL tracking: This is a big deal. Indexing URLs within Flash content was a key component missing in the crawlability of Flash – but no more I say! One of the best ways to increase your site’s search rankings is with internal and external links. Think of those links as a vote in the crawlers…eyes? (Mind? Soul? Psyche?). Search engines like sites with an “open door” and they hate dead ends. A lack of links makes your site appear static and unimportant – and the spider-bot gets tiffy when it sees your site has no friends. Now that URLs can be crawled in Flash, Flash sites should experience a boost in their search rankings.
That’s the gist of it. If you’re still interested in nerding out on this topic, I found Vanessa Fox’s post at search engine land to be very helpful.
Maybe in the future Erik will grace us with a post on how to design SEO friendly Flash. Erik? Yes?