Here's what G says about it.
Best usage of flash from Google Webmaster Central Blog
Clearly stats how you can optimize flash for Google.
In answer to your question I cannot remember the last time I saw a Flash site at the top of the results. They just do not perform well and that's a fact.
Google looks for all the HTML elements when indexing a site. They are just not there in Flash and while it seems that they can extract some info they are seldom going to put them at the top of the results when compared to standard HTML websites.
I think the Disney site would be one.
I don't think so but this is a good example of what happens. Have you ever chanced upon the Disney site? If you search for "disney" they are at the top but then you would expect them to be there on a name search by virtue of their inbound links alone. What other searches rank them highly?
To test this I had a look at their site and I noticed that they are releasing a new animated movie called Wall-e. I Googled Wall-e and their site was not in the top 50 results for this.
If you go to Google and do a site:www.disney.go.com you will see that this returns only 56 pages. When you look at cached text only for many of these pages there is none proving that Google knows nothing about them. As I say a good example of how hopeless Flash can be for SEO.
If used creatively, Flash can also be used to create some great linkworthy content of course - so it's not all bad on the SEO front.
Just don't use it exclusively.
|What other searches rank them highly? |
Walt Disney company
Winnie The Pooh
Personally I wouldn't touch a full flash site with a barge pole. I love CSS (still learning) with the odd flash image here and there (that validates). That said a full flash site can out rank any other web site with the right inbounds so all is not lost. Just make's your work 100 times harder!
So what does Google understand about Flash? not much when crawled but they will understand the importance of the web site with the right links pointing to it.
A lot of top ranking sites use Flash - it's just not true that using Flash will hurt you. It depends on HOW you use Flash.
It is true that sites that are completely based on Flash rank horribly, but if you think of Flash as a supporting character that you don't depend on, you'll do fine. Use it for video - even use it for navigation, but make sure you have a non-Flash equivalent that spiders can crawl and then use something like SWFObject to replace the non-Flash version with the Flash version for the 95+% of people who have Flash.
I think using the Disney site isn't really fair. Surely this is an example of how an authority and trusted site like Disney can get away with anything, based on it's external IBL and constant long term citation for terms like "mickey mouse".
And anyway isn't Disney sort of feeding some of these results to subdomains etc on "Go".
So as an example in this case it's not really fair. I'm talking about the real world and the majority of sites
ie loans, remortgages, solicitors etc.
My post was edited by admin though.
Another question and perhaps more useful is what CAN google understand about Flash and how you should deploy it?
Some of which I think has been answered above.
|it's just not true that using Flash will hurt you. |
I am afraid that 99% of people would disagree with you. Build a site with Flash and it will have problems ranking - period!
|It is true that sites that are completely based on Flash rank horribly, but if you think of Flash as a supporting character that you don't depend on, you'll do fine. Use it for video - even use it for navigation, but make sure you have a non-Flash equivalent that spiders can crawl and then use something like SWFObject to replace the non-Flash version with the Flash version for the 95+% of people who have Flash. |
That's it, exactly. Nicely said.
Note that the development of the non-Flash equivalent (and SWFObject is really state-of-the-art) can be something like developing an entire second site. Not completely, of course, but it can take significant extra development resources. But there is no balck mark or whatever because there is some invisible Flash on a site.
Google has been talking about more direct indexing of text from within the swf files, but that hasn't happened yet, and they've been talking about it for quite a while. First, I think there's a trust issue - much search engine gaming would be possible from within a Flash file. And if the whole site, r a major section of a site, is contained in one "movie", then the algo can't easily measure relevance for just one part and send people to that exact screen. How many search engine users would want that experience?
Correct. I agree that Flash has its place but not on business websites or on websites that need to perform wrt SEO.
The question was what can Google understand about Flash and the answer is clearly very little. If the skills and knowledge are available then perhaps something can be done to help Google understand what a Flash website is about. That is different from Google "understanding" Flash.