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Flash & Search Engines

 8:53 am on Mar 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Morning guys,

Im currently looking into redesigning some of the sites im responsible for and during this process im looking into the possibility of using flash for on my site (in menus mainly).

My question is how do search engines cope with flash? I know many search engines do not like javascript for items like menus so wanted to find out if the same applies for flash.




 9:05 am on Mar 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

AFAIK search engines don't like flash.

More importantly, how are people who don't have Flash installed going to navigate your site?

If you provide an alternative navigation for them then it should also work for the search engines.


 9:18 am on Mar 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

yeah thats kind of the lines i also thinking along.

although flash is nice to look at, what real purpose does it serve? and if search engines dont like it, then neither do i :)


 11:30 pm on Mar 10, 2004 (gmt 0)


Some search engines, have the technology to read flash, so it is not exactly tru that they don't like it...

But no matter if the engine can or can not read your flash files, you can write the words in your page linking the pages inside the flash menu with the link tag in the head of the page

<link rel="next" href="next_page.htm" />
<link rel="next" href="some_folder/next_page.htm" />

This kind of lines works in many ways, but two of this ways are, fast loand of the manetioned page because of preload the page and link is so engines can index it.

About the preload feature, well it is not used or supported in every navigator, but it is in some, basically the gecko brosers...


Hope it helps



 11:50 pm on Mar 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some search engines, have the technology to read flash

Which would those be?


 12:00 am on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some search engines, have the technology to read flash

They can read JavaScript and probably understand common routines, but I wouldn't put too much on a site because they don't like it.


 12:01 am on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Which would those be?

Didn't AlltheWeb.com announce at one point that it had made progress in being able to index Flash content? This was well before the Yahoo purchase, and I never heard much more about it after that first announcement.

Anyway, to reply to the original question: Flash is very search engine un-friendly. Would definitely not recommend it for your site navigation, although it might be appropriate for other elements of a web site.


 10:35 am on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Which would those be?

Well for starters, how about Google:

This query [google.com] might help - look how many discussions are there on Google and Flash!



 11:33 am on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

as a general rule the problem with flash is that it is one single file , it contains no text that the spider can see. With that in mind you could design an HTML version of the site to run along side , if you have an index page which give viewers the choice of which version of the site they want the spiders will recognise the homepage and also the html version . problem solved.


 1:41 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have no doubt that they are cataloging flash files, but I have not seen much evidence that they are crawling flash files. I could be wrong, but even in that thread, they only showed cataloged flash files. There was nothing to support that google had crawled through a flash site.

Flash is mostly a graphics program. Spiders do not have eyes, and as far as I know can not "see" graphics. Even the catalog of G's images are based on what G finds around the image, the image name and links to the image. I suspect that the cataloged flash files are the same.


 2:01 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Reading from Flash files is not a big deal since Macromedia releases info on the file format:


You could obfuscate the code but that wouldn't help with the search engines even if they could pick it apart. And there would be no point dropping a thousand keywords into the files because there would be no way to tell how much of the text would be visible since it is a graphic file format. Don't expect too much from search engines because it would be too easy to hide text.

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