Improvements in Flash Indexation

Posted by Eric Papczun, Director of Natural Search

Adobe recently announced that it has taken steps to make Flash content more indexable for the search engines.  This means that Google can now read the text that users see when they view a Flash file, and Google can use this text to rank the page for relevant search terms.  This is big step forward in getting more Flash content, which has been essentially hidden from the search engines, into the index.  However, Flash will most likely still be a major obstacle for SEO, due to the following factors:

Most Flash files are images and video, not the text that the engines can now read

-The words in Flash files tend to be marketing copy that is not keyword optimized

-The content in these files is less structured

-As a user navigates, many Flash sites dynamically load text and images under the same URL, and URLs need to be unique in order to be indexed

-If the Flash content is executed by JavaScript, Google most likely won’t spider it

It’s possible that this newly found Flash content could actually create more "noise" on the page, making it harder for engines to identify the primary focus of the page.  SEO best practices, such as using Flash judiciously or creating identical HTML content for search engine spiders that sits behind the Flash, should still be considered when creating a Flash-heavy site.  While this new release by Adobe will aid in indexation, SEO best practices are still needed to get the indexed content ranked well.  It’s also important that marketers make sure their Flash text content (that Google can now read) is effectively optimized for the keywords the page is trying to target.

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