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Right now, Google has something Y! doesn't. Flash files are not (at this point) winning any important searches, so it's not hurting anyone. But then again, we're getting a bit overdue for one of those "algo change, disappearing site, then fold in new data, more than weeks, less than months" kind of updates.;)
In the run up to the big IPO, Google has been going crazy with adding gazillions of new pages to their index... most of which are utterly useless.
On the other hand, many valid sites are being done using new "non-HTML" formats. (Actually, I should call them "modified HTML") like Flash or Moveable Type, Scoop and the like.
Gawd, this is one of those times when I HATE the TOS prohibition on citing examples... oh well.
What would stop me from making a Flash document with pages and pages of keywords (or even just a few ... whatever it takes to optimize, you know what I mean). This text could appear inside a logo or some obscure flash image with a timer that displays the first frame for 9999999 seconds, etc.
In other words ... text is in Flash doc and indexable, but you would NEVER see it on the page - you would just see a picture. Just wait, if people aren't doing this exact thing to boost their position they will be.
Flash indexing doesn't send the user right to the .swf file, it sends them to the PAGE that calls it. So one could easily create keyword-intensive SWF's for the purpose of ranking, but those words never appear on the page. I mean, it's almost like going back to META tags in a way. Just type whatever you want in the meta tags and get traffic from it, even if it has nothing to do with your site. The fact that Google doesn't give any credit to what's in the meta tags is what makes them better than everyone else.
Indexing flash files is taking a step BACKWARD, it will be used for SPAM more than for legitimate purposes. I would HATE the web if Flash was in the majority - everything would be like watching one big friggin commercial and that sucks :p
This thread reminds me of when my father used to say that Elvis and the Beatles polluted the air waves
Couldn't agree more.
Yes there will be issues with the incorporation of Flash into SERPS, such as ensuring tricks such as foreshadowed by DigitalAV don't unfairly discriminate in favor of spammy .swf files over good quality HTML.
But ultimately the arguments being presented here seem to be running along the lines of "Fear the new tech. It is evil."
This isn't the industrial revolution folks and flash is hardly synonymous with those 'dark satanic mills'.
Many seem to be putting bad flash sites down because they are flash sites not because they are bad.
One client I deal with has a flash site (which incidently drives me nuts trying to get it ranked for the very reason it is flash) but the actual content is excellent. There are few sites more authorative on pink widgets than this site.
If Google could read the text contained within this site and it appeared in top spot under pink widgets not a single person could be upset with clicking that link because it would take them to the site which probably has the best pink widget info on the web.
The simple fact someone writes a letter to you on a typewriter instead of pen and paper does not change the meaning of the message.
The more a person can interact with a website the better, it makes the audience a part of the experience so flash in of itself is simply an enabling technology and should be viewed as such.
From a SE perspective folks like Google, Y!, etc need to ensure that IF they incorporate flash files into results that they can do so without sacrificing relevance. Until that can be done they should hold back.
The problem with many of the responses in this thread it that it would appear that particular issue is not what people are aiming their ire at. Rather its pro-HTML anti-Flash elitism.
No, none of my personal sites use flash nor will they until broadband internet is much more common in my country and technology has evolved to the extent that SEs can legitimately 'read' flash.
Now, on a Google search for the nonsense phrase, Google found the text inside the Flash file.