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Google and Flash files
When will it read flash?
manilla




msg:110464
 8:12 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google cannot read the content of flash files, whilst ATW can.

Is this peripheral to Google's serps or a core to keeping it in 1st place?

 

Patrick Taylor




msg:110465
 8:44 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why would it be a core to keeping it in first place?

doc_z




msg:110466
 8:47 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

manilla,

Google can find getURL links within a flash movie. However, use absolute links, otherwise it could cause some problems.

manilla




msg:110467
 8:58 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

<Why would it be a core to keeping it in first place?>

Well, my very recent experience with ATW showed me some reasonable results, including some flash sites, which are not even in the Google directory. Wouldn't this just add much more meat to the serps in G, giving it richer content?

<Google can find getURL links within a flash movie>

I'm aware that G can get the links - does this mean that it could read the content if it wants?

Total Paranoia




msg:110468
 9:02 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

G can read the alt tags and file names - but unless you mix some HTML in with your flash - how can you expect googlebot to know what your website is about?

G will still look at links to a flash site and index it based on anchor text - I would say ATW does the same.

DaveN




msg:110469
 9:14 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google can read a flash file, well it can read certain areas and it can certainly find links, even if they are hidden ;) it just has problems indexing them.

My spin on G and flash is like a jigsaw with a few pieces missing it can't get enough of the pieces to build a complete picture, but it can read enough to have an effect on other sites.

Dave

Patrick Taylor




msg:110470
 10:44 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

manilla:

Well, my very recent experience with ATW showed me some reasonable results, including some flash sites, which are not even in the Google directory. Wouldn't this just add much more meat to the serps in G, giving it richer content?

Yes.

TravelMan




msg:110471
 10:51 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Send in emperor ming.

That flash expects way too much.

You cant pin him down, you cant quote him, he takes forever to arrive, and he has a habit of repeating his opening lines every time you visit him.

Ming, sort him out.

SlowMove




msg:110472
 10:55 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

you could just put a lot of text under the flash. it's simple and it works

zafile




msg:110473
 11:20 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello manilla:

ATW doesn't read Flash. Search engines rank pages based on the text contained within the HTML code.

Only companies that don't require to be found by search engines can afford to have ALL their pages made of 100% Flash.

Therefore, if your company doesn't have the cash to pay for TV, newspaper, and magazine ads, you should restrict the use of Flash within your pages.

Don't use Flash to represent the main content of your page and don't even attempt to use Flash in your navigation. If you commit such a mistake, your site will not be found by potential clients.

Take a look at Yahoo's homepage and see how it incorporates, once in a while, Flash in it. Follow the example. Cheers!

Chris_D




msg:110474
 3:21 am on Jun 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Q. Why do developers make 100% Flash sites anyway?

A. Because when you only have one tool in your toolbox - the big Flash hammer - then everything looks like a nail

Generally, it is developers with little understanding of how the internet works, using the only tool they have learned - the Flash 'hammer' - to make client websites.

They have one tool in their toolbox - so they use the hammer to make navigation movies, content movies, pictures of words and word movies, movies of pictures, and movies of movies.

Would you trust a motor mechanic to fix your car if he only had one tool?

Flash is a great technology, when used appropriately. But - unfortunately - it becomes a hammer in the hands of people who aren't actually capable of learning how to use more than one tool; or who understand the limitations of the tool they are using.

I think Google does the world a favour not indexing flash - it helps people have more than one perspective.

Again - used appropriately - flash is a great technology, and can be an important part of a well designed informative site - just like jpgs or gifs or bodytext. Used inappropriately - it deserves to be ignored.

jomaxx




msg:110475
 3:33 am on Jun 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

zafile: Alltheweb does actually index Flash content.

Personally I think Flash is pretty cool for some purposes (esp. animation), but I can't imagine ever wanting to see Flash content mixed into search results.

Krapulator




msg:110476
 3:58 am on Jun 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hell no, you'd see a whole new generation of flash spam where people stuff thousands of links and keywords into a tiny 5x5 swf file.

Keep Google flash free IMHO

zafile




msg:110477
 1:26 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

manilla and jomaxx:

I found an interesting article about the issue titled "Vision of Flash-based Web raises doubts" at [news.com.com...]

Los Gatos, Calif., Web designer Scott Stevenson commented: "Macromedia's argument about a single-screen model where you don't have to reload screens, that's a good argument. But the usability is limited because you can't bookmark anything or send a link to anyone. The concept of sharing links is what makes the Web fundamentally more useful than something like America Online."

Dale Dougherty, vice president of online publishing for programming-guides publisher O'Reilly & Associates, said "By doing everything in Flash, you're kind of going back to the early days of CD-ROMs, where the data is tightly linked to the application. One of the benefits we've had from HTML is that its openness allows for a variety of unexpected applications--all the Yahoos, Googles and AltaVistas were in one way or another able to index all the content that was out on the Web and make it a lot more valuable that way."

Enjoy the article!

[edited by: zafile at 3:28 am (utc) on June 14, 2003]

Chris_D




msg:110478
 2:02 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Excellent find zafile.

BigDave




msg:110479
 2:11 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think Google does the world a favour not indexing flash

AMEN!

I don't even have flash installed on most of my machines. I have one machine that I keep IE with flash on for lousy sites that I really need to get to anyway.

I would really hate to have google cluttering up their results with those garbage 100% flash sites.

digitalghost




msg:110480
 2:12 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>where people stuff thousands of links and keywords into a tiny 5x5 swf file

They do that now, and it works.

jomaxx




msg:110481
 3:23 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

That article pretty much sums up my thinking: although there's a methodology for indexing Flash content, the lack of deep linking makes it borderline useless. What's the point of knowing that a phrase appears somewhere within a Flash application?

One kind of paradoxical thing I've noticed... I run an art guide and have seen MANY Flash-based sites. On the Flash sites, the gewgaws like buttons, arrows and transition animations are always exquisitely crafted, but the ART itself is usually smallish and of mediocre scan quality. I don't know if that's due to download sizes or Flash limitations or just not keeping one's eye on the ball, but you'd think graphic designers would have more of a visual sensibility.

zafile




msg:110482
 3:47 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Chris_D:

I'm glad you found the article useful.

Since 1994 thru 2002, there used to be a lot of fiction in regard to Web issues.

Thanks to New York's Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, companies now give reliable information to users. [oag.state.ny.us...]

Apple used plenty of fiction in its press releases. It was until January 2002 that Apple recognized the superiority of Intel hardware. [apple.com...] Steve Jobs used too much fiction such as "Mac users can now do things on the Internet that Wintel users can only dream of" and "Our Macintosh G3 computers are up to twice as fast as Intel Pentium II-based computers, and we want the world to know." [apple.com...]
and [apple.com...]

Nevertheless, fiction such as "ATW can read the content of flash files" needs to be clarified.

[edited by: zafile at 3:56 am (utc) on June 14, 2003]

jomaxx




msg:110483
 3:56 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

What fiction are you talking about? This has been around for some time. The article you linked to specifically discusses indexing of Flash content.

God knows what that Apple stuff is about, but here's an ATW press release describing what they do.
[fastsearch.com...]

zafile




msg:110484
 4:02 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

jomaxx, the ATW press release was issued in Oslo, Norway on 2002-09-12. Norway is out of the jurisdiction of New York's Attorney General. Maybe now that Fast belongs to Overture fiction will end.

zafile




msg:110485
 4:15 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

jomaxx, the News.com article clearly states that "Flash, for instance, doesn't readily lend itself to indexing, the process whereby search engines find a particular page."

I mentioned the Apple stuff to illustrate how some companies use fiction in press releases.

jomaxx




msg:110486
 4:24 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yeahrightwhatever

martinibuster




msg:110487
 6:46 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

manilla, googleguy answered this question already in his answers to 10 questions [webmasterworld.com]. Look at message #10.

Goodnight.

:( Y

shaadi




msg:110488
 7:04 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

LOL martinibuster

manilla




msg:110489
 8:08 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

OK - the general feeling is that flash wouldn't add value to Google.

Is that because we don't want flash diluting the serps in Google, and then have to the adapt the marketing of our own sites (an SEO persepctive)?

What about from a user's perspective? Richness of serps.

I do believe that Google currently gives good results to some Flash sites that have good backlinks, title, description etc.

My surprise with ATW was to see a flash site with no backlinks, title, description, etc., built in flash, which could be found by a search using the keyword for the company name only, (this name only appearing in the flash content - so ATW can read the content!) in 1st place.

It's never been found in Google.

BTW - because Google cannot read the flash content, it enables flash users to market their site by concentrating on what Google can actually see - the tags it wants to put into the html. It can put anything it wants into the flash file, forgeting about the normal rules of engagement - which can be an advantage in certain instances.

zafile




msg:110490
 9:13 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

The main issue not to index Web sites with mainly Flash content is because "in less than a decade, Web authoring and Web browsing have already gone through one revolution, and they stand poised to begin another."

The next revolution isn't Flash, it's XML.

"XML is becoming the foundation upon which all text-based content is being managed and transmitted, and it may soon become the basis for all communication on the Internet." [msdn.microsoft.com...]

Another issue is "transforming Web pages so they can be viewed on the tiny green screens of some mobile phones, as well as on the five-inch, color displays of top-of-the-line PDA's." [newsfactor.com...]

"What happens if someone tries to access your [Flash] Web site from a cell phone with a built-in Web browser? For most sites, the answer is nothing—it won't work. 'Why does it matter?' you might ask. 'Who's going to be looking at my Web site on a cell phone?' Good question. The answer depends on what information your Web site provides and what people use it for." [msdn.microsoft.com...]

"Think about keeping things simple, because everything is about to change. Take your complex HTML documents and make them modularized. Use CSS, or XSL, or modularized script. Even if you don't jump on the bandwagon of the latest and greatest craze, such as XHTML, you'll find it much easier and less time-consuming to make modifications to your HTML files." [msdn.microsoft.com...]

Dale Dougherty, vice president of online publishing for programming-guides publisher O'Reilly & Associates, said "By doing everything in Flash, you're kind of going back to the early days of CD-ROMs, where the data is tightly linked to the application. One of the benefits we've had from HTML is that its openness allows for a variety of unexpected applications--all the Yahoos, Googles and AltaVistas were in one way or another able to index all the content that was out on the Web and make it a lot more valuable that way."

[edited by: zafile at 9:35 am (utc) on June 14, 2003]

Chris_D




msg:110491
 9:30 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Manilla - you don't 'get it' do you.

You need to read the w3c guidelines. Google won't index the contents of my VHS video library either - which isn't personally surprising. Just because I have a collection of videos in a cabinet - why should Google - an internet search engine - index a pile of my movies? Do they conform with the www founders guidelines? Obviously not.

When did Google say it wanted to be a film catalog!

Flash - in the hands of many 'web developers' - is just a big hammer. Typically - people use a 'big hammer' because they have no knowledge of the many other - and often much more appropriate - tools, which often require more finesse to use.

If a site is 100% flash - I treat it as being neanderthal. One big hammer to build everything. No knowledge of any other tools. Just a big hammer.

Try this Manilla.

Listen to an old silent movie on Radio. Then - make a silent movie to be played on radio. Was that appropriate?

Watch a live broadcast of a concert performance on television - but turn off the audio.

Now Manilla - close your eyes - and navigate a 100% Flash based website. What did you learn?

Do you get it now?

And - as others said - there are also a whole range of spam related issues with Flash.

My advice? - learn to use a new tool for text content and site navigation. Use Lynx,. and always disable javascript, before you decide that your site is perfect.

And - always remember- that on the internet, 'a picture might paint a thousand words' for a sighted user on your site - but - if you are a blind user - or a search engine spider - THEN A FEW WORDS will always rank higher THAN THOUSANDS OF FLASH MOVIES!

Choose the tool - and use it appropriately. Or at least be aware of the consequences.

Chris_D

manilla




msg:110492
 11:13 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Chris I do "get it".

I saw your last message and I do get the hammer/toolbox/one tool analogy you've now referred to twice. You can post it again if your wish .... :-)

The question is ATW can read flash, but Google can't or doesn't want to.

The question I initally posed was immediately after going to ATW, and seeing this. It's an objective (not subjective) question.

Your one tool analogy ... Anybody can create a webpage (the amateur can create a page from word, use frontpage, etc.) and voila, there it is. There are many one tool wonders. And html pages can be created by the very simplest of programmes, and often are, and they can all be read by Google, but Flash can't. That's all the question is really about ....

Anybody care to do the same searches on ATW and Google, and see what results they get ...?

<edited by manilla for typo>

manilla




msg:110493
 11:17 am on Jun 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Interesting ATW Google thread here too guys ..

[webmasterworld.com...]

This 61 message thread spans 3 pages: 61 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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