Flash SEO – Fact or Fiction? SEO Theories Tested…

Brian Ussery wrote a great post on Monday discussing the relatively recent notification from Google that they are beginning to index flash content. Instead of just talking about his theories, Brian actually puts them to the test – if you develop in Flash at all, you’ll want to check out his post, which you can find here – SEO and Flash.

I know from experience that you CAN rank high with a flash developed site, simply by optimizing your Title and Meta info, and of course getting inbound links…but if it’s a highly competitive market I’m trying to penetrate, I don’t even waste my time trying. I’ll develop the site in another format, such as simple html or php, etc…

Some quick points to take away from his post :

  • When it comes to text, “Don’t use it for something when there’s already a standard whose output can be easily parsed, easily processed, and whose openness makes its processing easier for browsers and searchbots.”….
  • Avoid text content and links in Flash
  • Don’t use text content in Flash supplied via third party file
  • If you must use text content in Flash and sIFR isn’t an option, create individual Flash files laid over each corresponding (X)HTML page via SWFObject
  • When using SWFObject, consider using absolute URLs in underlying (X)HTML and Flash files
  • When using SWFObject, be sure to include “alternative” images for users without Flash
  • Avoid using text content in Flash for pages employing “seamless transitions” where URLs don’t change, or, instead, include “pound signs”
  • Provide links to important pages within Flash files using absolute URLs for users who arrive at the Flash file via Google search engine results pages

I think flash IS an excellent tool for engaging the website visitor, and I DO recommend using it to enhance the feel of a website, or to demonstrate concepts that are better understood visually, video presentations, etc..as it can often increase conversion ratios, depending on the product or service.  For content that needs to found via a search engine though, stick with HTML.