Get your Flash website high ranked at Google

Often people doesn’t like to use Flash websites because Google can’t “read” the text inside a flash movie. In the past people used a mirror HTML version to get in the SERP’s of Google and other search engines.

These days I read about some nice project the SWFObject a nice JavaScript solution that enables Flash user to detect the Flash plug-in for each browser. Actually there is no more OBJECT, PARAM or EMBED element in the HTML code required because this is done by the SWFObject. Using this object the security issue that comes with Internet Explorer belongs to the present (people don’t need to click twice to access a Flash element). How is this working? This is the code you need to add a Flash movie to you web page?

  1. Just include the SWFObject JavaScript file
  2. add some DIV container which is used to position the Flash movie
  3.  and finally we create/call the SWFObject to play the movie, easy?

With DIV container it’s possible the to add alternative content which is invisible for visitors using the Flash plug-in or just for search engines!

Just in case your flash movie is some nice and dynamic product presentation with a product title, a description and a product photo, please this information using a header element, a paragraph and an image (don’t forget the “alt” tag). This way people without a flash player (and Google) can see am alternative version of your website.

Is this method valid according the Google Quality guidelines?

Yes it is, at least this is what they say:

If you’re using text to try to describe something search engines can’t access – for example, JavaScript, images, or Flash files – remember that many human visitors using screen readers, mobile browsers, browsers without plug-ins, and slow connections will not be able to view that content either. Using descriptive text for these items will improve the accessibility of your site. You can test accessibility by turning off JavaScript, Flash, and images in your browser, or by using a text-only browser such as Lynx…

Wait, placing hidden text and links is fine if you’re using Flash? I remember me some blog post about hiding text for modern navigation methods or Ajax powered web forms. If this method is valid for Flash then it should be also valid for other website development techniques like Ajax or CSS/JavaScript.

I think hidden text is still bad because people can use it to hide text from the user like and alternative product description using keywords which belongs to some other brand or concurrent company. Will Google fight this back like they do with websites selling links? I hope their budget for new employees is strong enough…

6 Responses

  1. From what I have read, using sIFR is a much better option.

    Hi Andy,
    sIFR looks good, but do you know people using that? (I know at least Tim using SWFObject ;))

    They have a list with sites using their object, but the first 5 I checked doesn’t use it anymore…

  2. I still prefere not to use flash and that stuff if it is not readed. Traditional valid HTML pages (even generated by PHP,ASP) and so on are still better for google than any flash containing page

  3. I suggest that its better to use site without flash as Google updates are making SEO more difficult. So instead of spending time on flash better to put that efforts in other task for your websites. Still people use flash to make their site more attractive. For them content is really helpful.Thanks for sharing

    1. I’m so happy that most flash elements are gone and that web developers are using Javascript/jQuery to animate those elements.
      Apple’s decision to exclude Flash support on iPads and iPhones is one of the reasons why people are using other techniques these days.

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