Thursday, July 3, 2008

Flash's New SEO is Over-Hyped

Its exciting to hear that Adobe, Google, and Yahoo are all working together to enable SEO within Flash files, however, I feel their progress is being a bit over-hyped. In fact, Google’s spiders with their new technology seem almost no different than they did before these press releases.

I say this because of the top 2 technical limitations listed on Google’s Blog:

1. Googlebot does not execute some types of JavaScript. So if your web page loads a Flash file via JavaScript, Google may not be aware of that Flash file, in which case it will not be indexed.
2. We currently do not attach content from external resources that are loaded by your Flash files. If your Flash file loads an HTML file, an XML file, another SWF file, etc., Google will separately index that resource, but it will not yet be considered to be part of the content in your Flash file.

In regards to issue #1, Adobe is making swfObject the standard way of embedding swf’s. swfObject just so happens to be based off of Javascript. This means that a majority of recent and future projects will not be recognized by Google's new spiders.

In regards to issue #2… Google is basically saying it will only be indexing static text. How many Flash sites rely on static text? Let’s take the site I mentioned yesterday as an example. Transitions wants it to be able to handle multiple languages so almost all of the text is either retrieved from XML files or the .NET backend. The only static text field I can think of says: “Brought to you by” and is followed by the Transition’s logo. Google’s spiders will ignore the logo since its an image and will then index our EyeGlassGuide Tool as “Brought to you by”. Very descriptive. Very promising. I realize that project was for a large company and not everyone will want their tool to support multiple languages, but even during my freelancing days, small clients wanted everything in external files so they could change content quickly and easily.

Granted, those smart folks over at Google are working on figuring these two technical limitations out. But for now, nothing seems to have changed with Flash SEO. The future has great potential, but the current best option is to continue using the swfObject and placing your SEO information in the alternative content section… just like before the press releases.

98 comments:

samiq said...

Same as you, I blogged earlier on my view of all this SEO+RIA thing... it's great but there is still lots to be done before call it successfull.

Check out my comments here

Shanon said...

My recommended Flash SEO method uses a DIV with search-engine-accessible, primary content, and an open source Javascript function called swfobject() to detect when browsers are capable of viewing Flash. When an appropriate version of Flash player is present, the Javascript manipulates the page's document object model (DOM) to replace the primary content with the Flash movie. Most search engine spiders can't handle Flash, so they will elect to view the primary content. The primary content may contain links, headings, styled text, images—anything we can add to an ordinary HTML page. With SEO copyediting and coding skills applied to the primary content, Flash becomes a non-issue.
------------------------------------------------
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Ickydime said...

@Shanon
Right, the standard has been to place your SEO content in the javascript disabled DIV. But that has been there for awhile now and the fact that you are still using it as your recommended SEO method just further confirms that Google/Adobe SEO update has not changed the current landscape.

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My recommended Flash SEO method uses a DIV with search-engine-accessible, primary content, and an open source Javascript function called swfobject() to detect when browsers are capable of viewing Flash. When an appropriate version of Flash player is present, the Javas

Blackberry said...

In regards to issue #1, Adobe is making swfObject the standard way of embedding swf’s. swfObject just so happens to be based off of Javascript. This means that a majority of recent and future projects will not be recognized by Google's new spiders.

giay da bong said...

With SEO copyediting and coding skills applied to the primary content, Flash becomes a non-issue.

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