How to Build SEO Friendly Flash Websites?

21
Jun

How to Build SEO Friendly Flash Websites?

Anil Kumar T   The universal fact that Search engines love text based websites more than the best looking Flash based websites makes it tough for both web designer and website owners to decide on whether it is alright to give in to search engine ranking drop penalty . Flash content is often weighty consisting of images, interactive features, animations, light on text thus confusing the search engines to decide what is in the Flash movie! The condition is worse if the website is built completely using Flash technology as this is devoid of page structure elements, distinctive page titles and internal linking. The situation has been better since 2008 when Google announced the improved search engine Flash indexing hence a ray of hope in making Flash websites search engine friendly.   Main setbacks while working on SEO of Flash Websites : 1.       Even the most basic SEO attributes like title tag, img alt attributes, anchor text, headline tags (h1, h2, h3) are not very simple to implement in Flash.   2.       Even when your Flash content is organized uniquely according to the topic, importance, and category - search engines fail to see that. That means different kind of content is not on different urls instead everything is on the same url. This makes it impossible to link to unique parts of your Flash content.   3.       Search engines do not index the content from outer files to your website called by any of your Flash content. Also they don’t allow the execution of external JavaScript calls which most of the Flash websites are relied upon. This results in a lot of content being not able to get crawled. Example: Dynamically loaded file such as an xml file.   4.       Animated text in Flash is often considered as duplicate content by the search engine spiders!   5.       Links in Flash are readable but only when they are pointed to HTML pages. Link which takes to a .swf page is not followed by the search engine spider.   Some Tips to Make Flash Websites Search Engine Optimization practice friendly: Build separate HTML page for each FLASH page and embed related Flash content on every HTML page. This is to ensure that even the search engines will be able to index your content and you get your message across your reader through the user friendly Flash content which is on every page.   1.       Use metadata feature for title and description of .swf files even when it is stated of as lesser importance.   2.       Adobe Flash Search Engine SDK applications help search engines to extract textual content which includes text and links from .swf files to html file.  The tool which comes in handy is swf2html.  Even when this does not assure the highest quality results this step will get us the best possible input for Search Engine Optimization process for Flash websites.   3.       Making use of Flash Programming: Search engines bots can’t view Flash but they can view primary content in the page such as headings, links and other usual content we can add to an HTML page. To solve the problem in a better way “alternative content” concept could be used. But unfortunately this privilege is being abused to trick the search engines. One of the tactics is: a)      SWFObject   This can be used to provide alternative content to the Flash pages. And is considered as white hat SEO method. But if this is used to disguise the content i.e. showing some different content to the search engine crawlers to manipulate them while the Flash displays something else then those sites will get penalized.   More about Flash Programming for SEO in the next article!  
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