I would say Flash websites are the real horror for an SEO expert. Despite of its great techniques such as providing great interactive tools, entertaining users by including sounds and picture on the web site, it plays a big barrier role between the SEO experts and the Web designers. Because, unfortunately Flash websites have fewer chances of getting higher rankings in search engine result pages. The logic is quite literal – search engines cannot or at least not easily read the Flash websites, unless we instruct them the text that are inside the websites.
Search Engine’s Concern for Flash:
Search engines hate the Flash web sites as the flash movies are too complex for a spider to understand. As like plain pages, crawlers( except Google bot may be) do not read the flash movies directly, although they index filenames, they do not index the contents inside. Considering search engines as the most important and effective promotion tools, sites that miss out the search engine result pages undoubtedly will lose a lot of more important traffic and revenue.
Even though Google search engine has started teaching their bots to index, crawl and rank the flash websites, still it is in the elementary stage and so we cannot depend on it fully either. And ofcourse, other than Google no other search engine can claim that they can read flash files, and so far there is no such evidence that they read enough content to usefully rank a flash site in their index. Here is an example of Google showing Flash content in its SERP:
Effective Approaches to optimize Flash Websites:
Here I would like to discuss some various possible workarounds for optimizing the flash websites and unless search engines start to index the flash websites like they do with plain text, these workarounds are just a blundering way to optimize Flash websites.
Instead of creating a whole site with Flash, it is a best practice to use Flash movies in place of images, buttons, and banners. Because Flash can be used for enhancing a website rather than incorporating the website with Flash entirely. That is, if you have some text with the main points of the story (and the keywords that you optimize for) and then you can have the Flash movie to add further detail or just a visual representation of the story. In that case, it is blameworthy to have the whole site made in Flash and there is poor possibility of getting high rankings!
Even though the metadata carries less important in search engine point of view, it acts as a essential factor in case of Flash websites. Flash development tools allow easily to add metadata to the Flash movies, so the metadata fields should not be left empty.
An html version of the Flash site can be created, preferably one html version for each Flash page of the site and provide this as an substitute to the users and the search engines. Infact, creating a seperate html page and embedding both the Flash movies with the non-flash content together will be more advisable. But this will lower the dramatic effect of the Flash, so you should use it solely if your overall website design allows it.
Whenever creating a flash website, it is recommended to provide the users or visitors with two version of the website, such as high bandwidth version (with maximum Flash content) and low bandwidth version (with minimum Flash content). By doing so, we will avail the user (depending on their internet speed), to adopt the best suitable version of the website to go with, which will further enhance the user experience with the website.
Check the website with all the browsers, to make sure that the flash content in the website are compatible with all the browsers.
Finally I would like to discuss about Flash Search Engine SDK, which is a tool that is capable of extracting text from a Flash movie. The swf2html utility used by the SDK extracts text and links from a Macromedia Flash SWF file, and outputs it to stdout or to an HTML document. When a search engine deploys this SDK, users can locate relevant Flash content when searching by keyword or file type. So implementing SDK will prevent us from manually extracting the text and links from Flash content.
These approaches are just some of the important examples of how to optimize Flash sites. There are many other approaches as well. Further, if you are looking for creating or optimizing a Flash website, please contact us, where our SEO and Web Design experts are capable of building and integrating HTML sites around your current Flash one, or at integrating your new Flash site into an HTML shell to help both viewers and search engines.
Disclaimer: The Post is Completely based on individual thoughts and SEO Services Group bears no responsibilities for the thoughts reflected in the post.