Monday, July 24, 2006

Search Engine Optimising Flash websites

Having been asked recently about optimising for Flash websites let me post here the details I provided to the online community I work with.

"With regards to Google, no the search engine is not (yet) capable of indexing Flash websites.

It is generally accepted in some circles that Flash can follow Flash links however I feel that it is not yet advisable to go down this route.

Why? Search engines prefer links that are easy to navigate as possible so are unlikely to be favoured if it involves more work for a search engine bot (means more work for the engineers!)

If you carry out a search on Google using "Flash" as the search term all listings actually link to HTML pages bar one!

Also bear in mind screen readers designed for those with vision problems/visual challenges
cannot read Flash websites either. So there may be potential discriminatory issues there.

Some ways around this are to offer a Flash based website and HTML site though usually this involves using a "Splash" type screen - something I am not fond of.

Here are a few tips you COULD use that MAY help:

* Make sure that relevant content text in the .swf files is text
* Descriptive text & meta info is used for the header of each page
* Use HTML href links in the footer of each page
* Make sure that title tags use targeted and/or keyword phrases & are unique for each page

I'll be honest and say I am not a fan of Flash UNLESS its done creatively and differently which down to development costs can only IMHO be afforded by those with deep marketing and creative budgets.

If I see one more animated logo in Flash!!!!!!!! :(