Top 3 ways to SEO Flash

In spite of the fact that Flash websites is less SEO and browser friendly than usual HTML sites, more and more people want to use Flash elements for their websites. Why? The main reason is that flash animation, menus and buttons are visually appealing and help to attract visitors' attention. Your visitors and customers want not only good content, they also want it to be in a nice "wrapper". And flash is exactly this wrapper. Developers like Flash because it allows to place more content in a less space without spoiling page structure, it's perfect for presenting multimedia content and can be easily combined with such technologies as MySQL, XML, PHP, etc. Besides, flash is not so unSEOable as it's often believed to be. Here are the top 3 ways to make flash content seo-friendly.

  1. Using CSS element DIV with the content which can be accessed and indexed by search engines along with using JavaScript SWFObject to detect user's (or browser's) ability to handle Flash. It allows both search engine bots and users without Flash plug-in to view non-flash content, while users with Flash player installed will see enhanced Flash content. This method let you kill two birds with one stone. You'll have no problem both with search engines, and with users who can't (or just don't want to) see flash content – they'll still get full accessibility and functionality. Non-flash content within DIV can contain everything you're able to add to usual HTML page, including links, text, images, etc.
  2. Creating an alternative HTML version of the pure Flash sites. Maybe, this'll add you work, but this also will give you better rankings and visibility. As well as with DIV element, creating an alternative HTML content will ensure that your site will be indexed by search engine spiders and viewed even by people without Flash player plug-in, while other visitors will see its Flash version. The best way is still to create each page as HTML with installed Flash movie, even though this won't have a smoothness of all-Flash sites.
  3. Using SWFAddress for deep linking. This smart developer tool creates virtual URLs for Flash websites that enables visitors to bookmark certain pages, send links via e-mail or IM, use browser history and back/forward/reload buttons. Also, this helps you with search engines as they can find specific content on a website. To learn details, read SWFAddress blog.

Also, don't forget basic SEO techniques like META tags and title tag, building inbound links, etc. and I hope your rankings will as high as you dream :)



Very useful information. Thank you.

Helen said...

Hey Helen. Your post is very useful.

Wish you good luck in further exploring of Flach technology!

I also have some posts about flash tools for webmasters on my blog


Coolbuster said...

hi. nice blog here.

btw, thank you for commenting on my post Top Ten Sotwares for 2008


hisham said...

Good information on your post!

Anonymous said...

I too work for (actually own) a website development company that utilizes a lot of flash exactly for the reasons you've discussed. It's nice to see that search engines are at least attempting to accomadate for the public's desire for more attention grabbing graphics. Thanks for the info.

Andrea Hill said...

Interesting article, although a bit misleading. The three techniques you mention do NOT make Flash indexable by search engines, they just add the content to the page. There IS a difference..

In fact, with the announcement on July 1 that Google and Adobe made re: Flash actually BEING indexable, by putting your content on the page and in the Flash, you could possibly be dinged for cloaking.

Helen Grigor'eva said...

Re: @Andrea Hill
Hi, Andrea! I strongly believe the methods I've described to be not only the ways of embedding content into a webpage, but also the ways to make Flash more searchable and user friendly. Still, I appreciate your feedback, thanks for the comment!

Mathilda said...

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anyway thanks for visiting and comment on my Barbie blog

Anonymous said...

Andrea's point about the risk of getting penalized for duplicate content certainly raises questions about the strategy of mirroring your flash content with similar HTML content. Any suggestions, Helen?

Helen Grigor'eva said...

Reply @Anonymous
Hi, thanks for the interesting question. The point is to create not mirror but alternative HTML content. 'Mirror' is the same. 'Alternative' is one which is like to the primary yet not the same as primary. HTML content can never be the truly mirror of Flash content. HTML means more text, Flash means more visual content. I've never heard anyone to be penalized because of having an alternative HTML site. Nevertheless, I still believe that the best way is "to create each page as HTML with installed Flash movie, even though this won't have a smoothness of all-Flash sites" (you can see it in my post). Thanks for your feedback!

Eamon said...

Interesting / useful.
For the person who doesn't know that much about Flash but thinking of using it more on site, is there any general advice you can offer about Flash and SEO overall (I mean do you have to get someone who knows a lot about SEO or Flash or both when getting site designed?).

Helen Grigor'eva said...

Reply @Eamon
Hi, Eamon! So, you wanna have Flash or partly-flash site? If you can't create Flash elements yourself, of course you should hire (or ask :)) someone to do this for you. What about seo - you can try to do that yourself if you have at least a minimal knowledge of how the Web works :). I hardly can imagine one person who can manage both tasks perfectly, as for me, the best variant is a Flash-programmer to create and embed into a website everything you wand and a SEO/marketing specialist to promote a site. Of course, seo-er will work in close cooperation with the site administrator and programmer. But it's a 'perfect' variant. To save money, one part of the work (depending of what you know better) you can do by yourself. After a few tries you'll learn how it works and get a desired result. Wish you good like in creating your flash website! :)