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Can't believe I never thought of it before. And it will work for lots more than Flash -- I have some splash index pages and DHTML index pages that have given me the SEO willies over the last bit of time.
Because I already know non-js browsers will be the minority, I automatically think of redirecting them, rather than redirecting the majority. But from the standpoint of user experience, it makes no difference at all -- and the gain in simplifying the SEO job is significant.
net24_7, thanks for the question. You popped my thinking "out of the box".
Got another question. Won't the initial page be seen for a very brief time before the redirect takes place? We're doing a js redirect right now on one of our pages and you always see the page for a few seconds before it redirects. Is there any way to avoid this?
Give me a few days, and I'm sure I can locate it. Or, maybe someone else has the answer close at hand?
I still didn't locate that reference book -- but here's a workaround I dreamed up.
Start your regular page with a transparent gif and size it to, say 1000 pixels high, followed by a <br>. Then, even if the page flash happens, all the content will be "below the fold" and unseen without scrolling.
Of course, if you want someone without js enabled to actually use this page, that's another story. They'd have to be sharp enough to notice that even though the screen is blank, the scroll bar shows that they can scroll down.
But the main purpose would be served, getting your flash-y page into the search engines.
I'm still far from moved in to my new digs, so I may still may find that more elegant solution for you.
If the redirect does not need to happen right away, put a 5 second delay on the redirect, that way, they see the vanilla html page and then are directed to the new flashy page.
Or, better yet, give people a choice on your vanilla page to go either to flash or to non-flash. I usually go for the non-flash even though I can read flash. (too much vertigo)
I agree, that is a very considerate way to do a flash site. I think the issue here might be wanting to serve flash automatically whenever the plug-in is present, rather than giving the visitor a choice.
I can see some logic to this strategy. If this is a general interest e-commerce site, many users won't even know what flash IS! The choice would be potentially confusing and could scare away some percent of traffic.
So the company might prefer to start every visitor with a direct marketing statement, served in the most appropriate format for the browser. How to do this in the most elegant, and search-engine friendly fashion becomes the question.