Google is Indexing Flash: Hooray for SEO!

Josh Chambers, Former Viget

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on

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.

Fail, Google.

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?


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