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Is it safe to have Flash content indexed in Google?

     

Tinus

7:44 pm on Feb 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I placed on a html site hundereds of slideshows for enlargements of photo's and as additional visual information. Each slideshow consists of 10 larger photo's, each of them with a short text. Every slideshow has around 200 words of text.

Every html-file from which a slideshow starts has the metatag noindex/follow in the header because I assumed that the Google would consider the files as thin content. But now I read that Google can read text in flash so there is content.

Question: Is it safe nowadays to have slideshows indexed by Google?

aakk9999

6:17 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



It would be a good idea to test what Google can index first.

Why don't you remove noindex from one of the html pages that has a slideshow, use WMT to submit URL to index and when Google has indexed it, search for the text in Flash to see if it comes up? This should give you an idea what Google could index.

If the text within the Flash is indexed, then depending on your slides having enough varied content, you may allow at least some pages to be indexed.

Tinus

10:17 am on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi aakk9999
Thanks for the answer. You are right, I will try and experiment a little. With this thin pages thing of Google one can't be to carefull.

Robert Charlton

11:05 am on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I haven't looked in a long time at how much Google can index Flash pages. It used to be that in going to Flash for content, even if Google could index the text content, it really wasn't indexing the site structure, page titles, navigation, or important onpage elements, so you were losing the essence of an optimized site structure.

What I chose to do with Flash pages which had text content was to embed each Flash file in an html framework, and include on that page the html text equivalent of text material that was in the Flash. As I remember, I generally put that text content into a no script area of the html page, which would provide the default content.

I'd be very careful not to take liberties with what the text content actually was in the Flash. You don't want to embellish that content for SEO purposes. It's something that Google checks.

One problem with the approach, though, is that Flash is inherently a visual and a dynamic medium, and generally isn't strong on text, so you really don't end up with very verbally strong html pages.

What this approach suggests, though, is that you don't want to noindex your html pages, since they're likely to contain the strongest indexable content you have. It's not always possible to build appropriate page breaks into a Flash movie, though, so you might end up with too long a page that lacks good break points for titles. It is possible, though, if you plan this in advance, to come up with some html pages that will get indexed. Best for SEO to look at it as an html site with Flash embellishment.

I'd hesitate to do this for anything very competitive, and particularly not when I needed granularity. But it is an approach that might provide a site using Flash with a certain degree of indexing if augmented with titles and html nav text as structural elements that might help with SEO.

Tinus

12:01 pm on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I am a little afraid that when Google doesn't index the text well the site ends op with hundreds of pages which Google considers thin content. My main idea about having the pages indexed is that it will show up in sitesearch then. So I don't have a SEO purpose for this but it shouldn't harm as well.

Maybe it is an idea to built with the slideshows a new site and have that indexed. Then not much is lost when Google doesn't pick up the content well and flags it as thin content.

Tinus

9:37 am on Feb 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Update:

I removed noindex on one page and it is indexed now. The htm page can be found in the Serps on title but not on the text inside the xml file of the slideshow. So thin content, it wil be risky to get to many of these pages indexed without additional content outside the Flash. Pity.

aakk9999

1:31 pm on Feb 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



This is interesting - are you sure that you are not blocking XML file from being indexed? Also, has XML file been crawled by Googlebot?

I am asking this because of the following information from Google:

Flash and other rich media files
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/72746 [support.google.com]
When a SWF file loads content from some other file—whether it's text, HTML, XML, another SWF, etc.—Google can index this external content too, and associate it with the parent SWF file and any documents that embed it.

Perhaps you need to wait a bit longer to give the chance to Google to associate XML file with the Flash page?

Tinus

1:36 pm on Feb 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The xml is not blocked so it should index. I will give it some time.
 

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