There are a few examples in fact when flash websites are indexed, though major search engines claim to index flash files. Yes, search engines can analyze SWF files. That, however does not guarantee a full and satisfactory website indexation.
Why flash websites are not search engine friendly
The problem comes from the way flash websites are structured but not from their flash format. Same problem, for example, exists with AJAX websites.
- Why is there a problem with the structure? Let’s follow search engines’ behavior and compare it with the human behavior. In the case of standard websites – search engines can mimic the user behavior step by step – so whenever or whatever a user can do or reach to - search engines can do too.
With flash pages things cannot go the same way. Why? Cause they are structured in a way that by SWF files information becomes available to the user after a successful sequence of events. This for the human user, in most of the times, is the easier way to get all the info he needs by just using a sequence of clicks and Graphic User Interface operations.
What is the case with search engines and why they have a problem of indexing such convenient for the human user websites as the flash ones? They are built to search for every page and index it, aren’t they? The thing is they are not designed to capture the meaning of SWF files. For a search engine an SWF file is just a part of the html page where it is embedded. It associates the info retrieved from a flash SWF file only with the single page where it is embedded but not with a sequence of actions, though the info from the SWF file might be equivalent to many standard pages.
- Another “misunderstanding” between flash pages and search engines is the anchor text for links. Search engines evaluate in their algorithms the so called back links (those are the links from other pages) to rank a certain page. The most important factor with same evaluation is the way the anchor text is built. In a standard page same anchor text can be wisely used to translate certain info to the search engines.
Flash pages in same order of thinking do not have a proper anchor text for links like HTML.
What the solutions and the alternatives are
With that type of introduction we opened the gate to introducing you to a variety of solutions and alternatives treating the same problem – namely “FLASH WEBSITES ARE NOT SEARCH ENGINE FRIENDLY”. That we will try to do by a sequence of articles. So the current is exposing solution number one: “ if you continue to use flash websites how to SE optimize them”
Part1: If you continue using flash websites – how to SE optimize them!
- Considering the upper analyses the SWF is better to be split into parts – so that to have a separate part for each of the website pages. In same order of thinking – the site is better to have several pages and several SWF files should be used – one for each page. There will be inconvenience in that case – the transitions between pages – because the website won’t be loading all at once. Having in mind, however, that that method will provide your flash site with better page ranking – we strongly advise you to do so;
- Build an alternative HTML content for the browsers – which does not have flash. Thus giving the opportunity
to search engines to index your pages by that content;
- The alternative HTML section will be also the place where you can position the backlinks with a proper anchor text;
- Do not put your text into images on flash. Such kind of texts - as a part of an image - are not recognized as text content by search engines when they parse flash files. Solution here is to use text boxes and flash controls to “show” your text;
- It is advisable to use text in the navigation buttons and place links inside flash so that to replace proper anchor text;
- Your pages should have an excellent title tagging and meta description so that to give the opportunity to search engines to display that in the SERP page.
We hope we have been successful in convincing you about the up-to-date axiom that flash website content is actually very attractive and human user affective, but quite not search engine drawing!
Our first idea for a solution was just exposed – namely – if you continue using flash content and you arenot
ready to drop it just because it is hard for SEO – you should handle it with attention and optimal SEO in mind.
Expect the coming chain of articles treating the same problem: Flash vs SEO – solutions and alternatives!
To be continued…