Google and Yahoo Improve Flash Indexing

Using Flash can really jazz up your website. In fact many of the really beautiful sites I see are made using Flash. There has always been two knocks against using too much Flash on a website. The first is that it can be a bandwidth hog. However, with the proliferation of broadband use this is less and less of a problem. But still you need to be aware that certain segments of your visitors may not be on T1 type connections and hence may experience delays in load time causing them to abandon the site.

The second reason for not using Flash is the video content has not been  crawlable by search engine bots. It is essentially very unfriendly when it comes to improving your sites SEO. This is because the text and the marketing message contained in the Flash presentation is not indexable by search engines. Which means all that clever messaging, keyword use and cool graphics actually has no effect in helping you achieve greater search engine visibility. Not quit what you had in mind when you designed your website.

Well, that is all about to change starting today. Adobe (which owns Flash) announced that it has teamed up with Google and Yahoo to make Flash files indexable. Ars Technica has the following report:

As anyone who has had the pleasure of doing web design and development through marketing agencies knows, Flash tends to be wildly popular among clients and wildly unpopular among, well, pretty much everyone else. Part of the reason for this is because Flash is so inherently un-Googleable; anything that goes into a Flash-only website is basically invisible to search engines and therefore, the world. That will no longer be the case, however, as Adobe announced today that it has teamed up with Google and Yahoo to make Flash files indexable by search engines.

This announcement has been a long time coming, as Flash developers have been wishing for ways to make their content searchable for close to a decade. Adobe acknowledges this in its announcement, saying that although search engines are able to index static text and links within Flash SWF files, “[Rich Internet Applications] and dynamic Web content have been generally difficult to fully expose to search engines because of their changing states—a problem also inherent in other RIA technologies.”

This is great news for developers and web marketers. However, I will still caution you to not go overboard with the use of Flash on your website. Pay attention to where you visitors are coming from and the type of connections they have. Additionally, sometimes all the moving parts and movie like presntations can distract form your message. While Flash may now no longer be a SEO deterrent, it doesn’t mean you need to implement it to the max. As in anything there is a good balance and you should strive to acheive that balance.

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