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Google reads Flash text, so optimize it

'Google is using Adobe Systems' Search Engine SDK technology'

6:13 pm on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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With the recent admission by Matt Cutts to Stephan Spencer that Google is using Adobe Systems' Search Engine SDK technology, a new set of optimization opportunities opened up.

That fairly definite confirmation of how Google reads text within Flash files makes it possible to create Flash .swf files with some level of search engine optimization.

"It used to be the case that we had our own, home-brew code to pull the text out of Flash, but I think that we have moved to the Search Engine SDK tool that Adobe Macromedia offers," Cutts said. "So my hunch is that most of the search engines will standardize on using that Search Engine SDK tool to pull out the text."


[edited by: tedster at 6:55 pm (utc) on Jan. 8, 2008]
[edit reason] create quote box [/edit]

8:05 pm on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Interesting development about moving to Adobe's SDK. But the issue still is that internal Flash content cannot be bookmarked. So search engines will be reluctant to return any result that sends users to wait through several minutes of a Flash movie, interact with actionscript choices and so on, trying to find the terms they searched on.
8:37 pm on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm from the camp that feels that anything outside of an application should not be in Flash anyway. Sure, you can have a little Flash intro and some other "Wow" stuff but I surely wouldn't be putting content inside that Flash that I was relying on for indexers to find. And I would never, ever, wrap an entire site in Flash, that would be the Kiss of Death, just like frames were.
7:30 am on Jan 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't think that Matt's "admission" that Google is looking at text content in Flash files should be in any way taken as a suggestion that this presents much in the way of "optimization opportunities."

Flash is inherently visual, so the text content in a typical swf file is not likely to be significant in terms of SEO.

Additionally, the structural elements presented by pages in an html site are key ingredients in page and site optimization... things like titles, headings, link anchor text, and the placement of text on a page.

I'd say the noscript content for a Flash file that sits within the context of an html page is still the best approach to Flash optimization (if you must put your text content within Flash)... but, as the Google engineer who is also quoted advised...

...be careful to mirror accurately the Flash-based content you include within the noscript tags or it will look like cloaking to Googlebot.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:32 am (utc) on Jan. 12, 2008]


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