Flash and SEO

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Published: 31st October 2014
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What is Flash?

The flash software allows you to create animation and movies. Flash is normally used for websites because the sizes of the animation and videos created using flash are small. Since videos, images and animations are important to a website, designers prefer using this software because they can smaller videos, animations and images. However, many people think that flash based sites may not be very desirable for SEO because it is different from HTML.


SEO concerns about Flash

• The different content cannot be put on different URLs when using flash. You can have many kinds of animations and movies, but there is no way to link these to each other.

• When you use flash, most of the text used is not clean and may not be easily read by Google. Tags could be mixed up into half phrases for effects. In some cases, the words may be broken apart into letters that animate.

• Content created using Flash can be linked only to other Flash content. This can lead to a low page rank since no other external or internal URL’s are referenced.

• It is not possible to test the crawlability of a Flash based file. Since Google does not execute JavaScript, most of the Flash files will not be crawlable.

• One cannot get external links like HTML using Flash. If a site is made extensively using Flash, the internal pages can take a hit if there are a large number of URLs linking to the homepage.

• Most of the times, flash sites lack basic SEO. It may not always be easy to add anchor texts, headings, strong texts, images, alt text, etc to a flash site.


SEO best practices for Flash

Sites created using only Flash can prove to be problematic since Google cannot crawl and index the pages of these sites. This is because there will be no links for Google to crawl and index. Google announced that it had improved indexing of Adobe Flash Files in 2008. As a result many designers were able to use text in Flash files. Now, over a period of time, a number of practices have evolved that can help optimize Flash content for the search engines.


SEO for Flash keeping Google in mind

• It is possible for Google to crawl and index text in Flash files. As a result, flash files can be treated like HTML text or PDF files. However, one must be careful not to use the same content for both HTML and Flash files. If this is done, Google will treat it as duplicate content.

• Google can identify links in Flash files.

• It is possible for Google to index external content and connect it with a flash file. As a result, external content can also appear in search results if the file was designed using external text content.

• The JavaScript techniques that are used for embedding flash are supported by Google.

• Action Script can be indexed by Google.


SEO tips for Flash

• Avoid using Flash as the navigation

• Try and embed flash files into HTML

• Make your titles and meta descriptions as descriptive as possible

• Don’t create an entire website in one Flash file. Try and use multiple flash files for the content

• Limit the flash to design elements and lesser important content on the page. You can use HTML for content that is important

• Try and enhance the web fonts in the Flash files using slfr as the flash files will enhance the HTML content instead of replacing it

• Make sure the file naming is right. Make the file naming as descriptive as possible

• Ensure that the surrounding text is correct

• Try and load the text into Flash files from an external XML file

• Use flash to design things that you do not want Google to crawl


Using Flash, Ajax and JavaScript can enhance the user experience a great deal on your site. However, it is important that you make sure that there is a balance of these rich media on your site or they can adversely affect your internet marketing efforts.

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