SilverLight SEO by Optify

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December 29, 2009

6 tips for Silverlight SEO
Written by @Scott Fasser and posted on Optify Lead Generation Blog

Silverlight is a cross-browser and cross-platform web application framework that helps developers to design and deliver rich, modern applications and experiences on the web. Silverlight provides functionality similar to that in Adobe Flash by integrating multimedia, graphics, animation, and interactivity. Like Flash, Microsoft’s Silverlight is a Rich Internet Application (RIA). By virtue of being an RIA, and displaying web pages dynamically instead of statically, search engines do not identify Silverlight sites in the same way as traditional text-based pages. As such, if you are working with Silverlight and want to ensure that information is recognized and ranked by search engines you must make some adjustments in your page design. How to rank in search engines if you use Silverlight Web pages are highly ranked in search engine results because the words on the page match the keywords used to search. The presence of dynamic and nonstandard elements such as script, style, object, and embed tags in the page (all of which are part of Silverlight) pose a challenge for search engine optimization. Search engines are biased towards recognizing text and HTML content on Web pages as a means of valuing and assessing data. At this time, they do not recognize Silverlight content natively. To make Silverlight content indexable by search engines, you can use approaches that search engines are already familiar with, such as combining the islands of Silverlight content with HTML metadata about that content. 6 Tips for Search Engine Optimization of Silverlight Below we present a few ways for you to ensure that your web pages created with Silverlight are recognized and ranked by search engines. The overarching way to think about making Silverlight indexable by search engines is to use the approaches that are used to build in viewability by browsers that don’t support Silverlight. Presenting contextual metadata and alternate content that makes Silverlight content viewable by down-level users also makes it friendly to search engines. If you are planning to build a Silverlight application, there are things you can do to make sure that your application is discovered and returned by search engines.

1. Mix HTML with Silverlight content on a page. This approach involves mixing HTML text with Silverlight content in the same page so that it delivers richness in functionality while the native HTML content is still identified by search engines. Consider designing your Silverlight content in such a way that it fits within, or around, a block of text. 2. Put a strong <H1> title in text above the Silverlight application. The words that you use in your titles, page and section headers, body content, and alternate content play an important role in how the search engines find and index your content, and also how a user finds your content. 3. Use captions under the Silverlight application with an <H2> for good quality anchor link content. Similar to point #2, if you add H2 captions using the keywords you are targeting, this simply provides more evidence to the search engines as to what the page is about and will result in more traffic to the page. 4. Include the keyword you are targeting in the Silverlight application name. So for example if you are trying to attract visitors searching on the term “web hosting”, name your Silverlight application “web-hosting”. 5. Use the object tag instead of embed tag. This allows you to present alternative nested content if SilverLight is not installed. See the following as an example of how to use the object tag:

Optify, Inc. | 710 2 Avenue, Suite 840, Seattle, WA 98104 | p: 206.388.4234 | f: 206.787.1410

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6. Put readable text under the Silverlight application using a SilverLightContent Div ID. The SilverLightContent Div ID should contain the exact same content in the Silverlight application. See the example below where we’ve used the SilverLightContent Div ID:

Optify, Inc. | 710 2 Avenue, Suite 840, Seattle, WA 98104 | p: 206.388.4234 | f: 206.787.1410

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Here are a couple other great posts on SEO for Silverlight that you might find useful:
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Silverlight SEO: http://www.silverlightshow.net/items/Silverlight-SEO.aspx Search Engine Optimization for Silverlight Applications: http://silverlight.net/learn/whitepapers/seo-for-silverlight/

Optify, Inc. | 710 2 Avenue, Suite 840, Seattle, WA 98104 | p: 206.388.4234 | f: 206.787.1410

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