Flash and SEO
The subject of Flash and SEO is an often the last piece of the puzzle thought of in a vast amount
of work a website in flash entails. If not forgotten all together. This is a dangerous practice
considering all the hard work can be lost if no one can find your site. The bad news is that Flash
still needs to come along way to catch up to HTML in dealing with SEO. The good news is there
are techniques to improve Flash’s relationship with SEO. The following information will explore
the good and the bad, and hopefully find some solutions to a continuing problems of Flash and
Basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Leading Search Engines - Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft
In order of Importance
1. Direct URL Submission to Search Engine
2. Accurate descriptive Title Tags
3. Accurate descriptive Keywords
4. Linking from other sites. Get people to link to your site. Link trade with friends and other
5. ALT Tags on Images, Flash, and other Media
6. Update your site on a regular basis.
7. Extra – Sitemap XML file. Robots.txt File http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitemaps
Bad Practices – Can get you removed from search engines.
1. Keyword Stuffing – excessive keywords ex. Woman, girl, she, her, lady.
2. Using Link Farms – group of web sites that all hyperlink to every other page in the
3. Cloaking – Practices like having same color text as background color to hide extra
descriptive words and paragraphs.
SEO Tools For the Google, MSN, and Yahoo!
Google Webmaster Forum
Inherit Problems with Flash and SEO
1. Flash files cannot be crawled by search engines like traditional HTML
2. Search engines cannot yet read the contents of the Flash file and therefore have
difficulty understanding the context of the site.
3. Flash typically does not have any html text associated with it.
4. Flash sites are contained within one file or one URL. There are not a variety of
sub pages which can be optimized for search engine visibility.
5. Flash single URL sites inherently have deeplinking issues and can frustrate
viewers when they want to send specific information to other users.
Flash SEO Solutions
1. Create Hybrid Sites using flash/html/css elements. Create text and other
searchable descriptive elements in html.
2. Create descriptive and accurate HTML Title Tags and META Tags.
3. Possibly use <noscript> tags to further describe although risky – Can be
4. On Hybrid sites us the ALT Tag to describe flash elements.
5. Links in HTML
6. Add metadata to your Flash File. Flash 8 and up can publish for all versions of
Flash. select Modify > Document – Ad Title and Description to your flash file.
7. Be sneaky and put your text below the browser fold out of view.
Progressive Enhancement Web Design
The main philosophy behind progressive enhancement is that you enhance the "basic
version" of your content with additional presentation or behavior by using technologies
browser technology support is available.
Progressive enhancement applied to a Flash project could look something like the
1. An HTML page that includes content that is optimized for web crawlers and low-tech
2. Style sheets to professionally lay out and style this basic version, aimed at visitors
that use CSS-enabled browsers but don't have the required Flash plug-in
aimed at visitors who don't have the appropriate Flash support
4. Flash content aimed at the biggest part of the target audience, for the full-blown user
The only downside I see in this approach is development time and costs. This technique
may work well for very small, or very large sites. A small site can be created quickly by a
small talented team, or a large site can be developed by an organization who has the
resources and money to develop full accessibility.
Beware of Shady SEO Firms
Google List a great deal of Scams on their site.
Flash SEO Summation
Well known brands may not be effected by full flash sites. Smaller and no name brands
may need the HTML/CSS/Flash approach. Full accessible sites should take the
Progressive Enhancement Web Design approach.
References not listed above:
Bobby van der Sluis
Extra Info Not Discuss:
Macromedia Flash Search Engine SDK (Software Development Kit)
The Macromedia Flash Search Engine SDK 1.0 provides search engines with the means
to search and index Macromedia Flash (SWF) movies. 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.