Finally something about SEO and Flash

I have been postponing this for a while but I think this is a good time for it now. This article will be the first part of a two part tutorial about how to optimize your website in flash for search engines. This tutorial is about the straight forward way of doing it involving no server side scripting. It is not the ultimate way to do it, but it sure is way better than doing nothing.

The first thing anyone interested in optimizing their site for search engines should do is read this article on seomoz.org on the topic. It is about how to optimize in html but a lot of thing that applies to html still applies in flash, read on to know why.

So if you read the article you will know that one of the most important factor is title of the Html page. The title in html is the text you see appearing in the blue bar at the top of your browser. That’s nice because with a flash based website, the title is still the html title, so you should give a lot of attention to it. And also it is really easy thing to modify. You should really think about the words you put in your title because you only have a limited number of words. Some say 60, some say more, I have a tendency to put more and let the search engines crop the end of them. Keeping that in mind put the most important key words first. Don’t just dump keywords, try to make sentences and slogans, search engines have been around for a while now, they know when you are trying to fool them.

Next thing you have to optimize is your text content. Google, and other search engines, cannot see in your Flash files (well I think now it can, but it sure cannot see dynamic text) so we have to find a way to make your text content accessible to them. It all happens in the html integration of your site. First, don’t use the default html page that flash, even flash CS3, creates for you. It’s just not good enough and there is a lot of bugs related to it. The best way to integrate a Flash is to use SWFObject. It’s so good that Adobe is even speaking with the makers of it to put it in the next version of Flash. Go read about it and check the examples, it is very well explained. The basic of SWFObject is that it will replace a div (or a td) using javascript by the proper Html to embed a swf. All the magic for us happens in the replacing of the div. Here is a sample code of how to embed using SWFObject:

<script type="text/javascript" src="swfobject.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript">
    swfobject.embedSWF("myContent.swf", "myContent", "300", "120", "9.0.0");
    </script>
</head>
  <body>
    <div id="myContent">
      <p>Alternative content</p>
    </div>
  </body>

So you see, everything that is in the div with id myContent will be replaced by your swf file. You can also see the text Alternative content in there, this is where you are going to put all the text that is in your swf file. Think of it as a tune down version of an html page. So don’t just cut and paste your text in there; use p tags around paragraphs and most importantly h1 tags around your titles. In the article from seomoz, you can read that text inside h1 tags is also really good for search engines. So use it to put your titles and important text. Another good point of using this technique is that screen readers for blind peoples just as search engines will be able to read your alternative content. Well that is it for part 1 of this article, part 2 will be about creating more than one entry point to your site using either brute force or server side scripting.

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  1. #1 by Eric - June 18th, 2008 at 16:09

    There still seems to be an unresolved debate among web developers and Google about the use of the SWFObject and displaying alternative content.

    Googlebot may determine the “hidden” div as cloaking, even though it may not be doing anything nefarious. Google reps have hinted that as long as this div contains nothing but a reiteration of the content contained in the Flash, you should be ok. But then the question is, if Google can’t spider Flash files, how would it know if the alternative content accurately reflects the Flash content?

    My gut feeling is this practice may come back to haunt web developers struggling to cope with SEO rules that, at times, seem to smack in the face of W3C standards.

  2. #2 by Autumn Washington - May 5th, 2010 at 18:35

    I am still a beginner in website SEO and i usually submit to website directories and article directories to boost the ranking of my site. .:”,

  3. #3 by Tristan Coleman - August 21st, 2010 at 15:01

    website SEO is very very important if you want good rankings for your website. ~,.

  4. #4 by Abigail Clark - October 6th, 2010 at 14:20

    website SEO is a very time consuming task;.`

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