Sorry, I gather that most of you are a bit down on flash but just to make sure, if the index has a link to a flash version and a straight html version the spider will immediately go to the html version and so the SE will at least acknowledge the site's existence? How far down will having the flash at all bring the search engine ranking?
Welcome to WmW, barrie. I'll inject that we're only down on the use of flash if it has a negative impact on the purpose of the site. As for the layout you describe, I don't think flash would cause a problem.
If it happens, I think that'll throw a few people in WebmasterWorld into a quandry. To Flash, or not to Flash, that is the question.
Thanks again for all the help! On the to flash or not to flash issue I can see where purists can be upset with sites that use flash only to use flash (i.e., yes, Barney's menu is nice, but what does it really add to the site?)and I've heard more than one programmer complain that designers are flash crazy only because they are lazy and don't want to come up with innovative ways to work within the confines of html. On the other hand though, and just IMHO, I think the fact that search engines don't even seem to be attempting to come up with a way to fairly assess flash sites is kind of insane. If you use it well, Flash can create really lovely, simple interfaces and although the initial d/l time might be just a tiny bit more than the average stricly html site, overall they're about even since a whole page doesn't have to load everytime the user clicks a link. What about the graphics heavy html sites with those annoying little java applets that are visually unappealing and slooooooooooow but still get much better rankings than most flash sites? Same argument with frames, which I will agree are a bit ugly, but do help with d/l time and are stil completely ignored by search engines. By ignored I mostly mean that we have to come up with ways to get around the way search engines search in order to do what we want to do and still get decent rankings instead of search engines saying, "oh, there's a new way to do sites? hmmm, guess we'll have to figure out a way to assess those sites so that people using our engine can get the best possible results." Just seems a bit backwards to me, I know that if there were a search engine which searched flash sites as well as html I would use it. Anyway, I don't see it changing anytime soon so using what I've picked up from WmW as soon as I get all the little bits and pieces of this site into place and submitted I'll time it to see if I'm in the 30 second range :)