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Flash Or No Flash On Your Websites- Critical SEO Decisions

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Flash or no flash on your websites- Critical SEO Decisions

There are different factors that you need to weigh if you are choosing a Flash website. seo for agents

What is a flash website? To translate that from geeklish to English-
A Flash website is one that either is all flash when you arrive on their home page or has a section of Flash on the homepage or elsewhere on the site. 

When you enter a website and it is like a movie, had that countdown clock on it because it is loading the Flash file or the website is like all movie- that is flash. It is moving images. This is called a self contained Flash website. 

The difference between Flash and Slideshow is typically that when you enter all your images into a website and you just have the images change slowly in a slide show format you can easily index the photos and add your alt1 and alt2 image tags to each image in your slide show. 

But on Flash sites, most web designers do not index those Flash files correctly thus making it impossible for the Google bots to read the contents of your flash. 

So that means when the Google bot arrives to your site and is met with Flash files that are not converting to textual files it is looking not at your pretty images but a bunch of blank white space of basically nothing. That can not get indexed

For years now the humans behind Google have understood that there are people who want to have Flash files on their websites for a stunning visual appearance. 

Google has improved their ability to index flash files in the last two years and they continue to get better at it. 

Google can read the textual content in your Flash files. Google takes a snippet of that and then can index that file. Google can read sites scripted with AS1 and AS2 files. 

All the words in your Flash files can but pulled up in the SERPS. 

Google can now also find the URLs that appear in your Flash files and crawl those URLs. Google is getting better at this every day but they are not perfect at it yet. But that comes with a big IF and conditions. 

Google according the the Google Webmaster Blog does not recognize the image files in your Flash. If your Flash files only contain images they will not recognize it or index any text within those images. 

Google also does not generate any anchor text for Flash Buttons which point to a URL but have not Text with it. This is very important because I am seeing a lot of websites and blogs with flash buttons with just images. Just because you have text on your image does not mean that is a text file. If it is not a text file, Google will not be able to read it. So adding text to an image and then taking a screen shot of that image or a jpg file of that image- that text is NOT a text file. It is an image file. 

Google also does not index FLV files. 

Google does not index some types of JavaScript. So be careful in how you are adding your Flash files. If you are pulling in your Flash files from another location and they are not stand alone files within your site- Google can not index those. They will not consider that as being a part of your website. And even the ones that do get indexed will be looked at as duplicate content and therefore only one of those files will get the credit. 

Remember that Google does not penalize you for duplicate content. They don't lower your pagerank either. They just have one version show up instead in the SERPS. 

The problem with Flash websites is that most of them are embedded using Javascript. But after it is embedded, the webmaster is not executing that Javascript. This then results in Google bots NOT being able to index your Flash files, they can not even find the SWF which is the file they read the Flash from. 

So unless you REALLY trust your web site designer you can not afford to take the chance of your SWF files being read or not by Google bots. If you know how to apply these files yourself than maybe a Flash site is great for you. For most of us, we are not well versed enough into getting our Flash sites indexed. 

Most website designers I have spoke with also readily admit that their Flash is not able to be indexed by Google bots. 

There are other considerations you need to look into before choosing a Flash website. We will go into those in another post.  

For more information about using SEO to drive organic traffic to your blogs and websites sign up for SEO To The Top Webinar and find out more on my SEO For Agents website. This is a new site that I am building. I am adding new content to this site every week

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Comment balloon 0 commentsCheryl Ritchie • July 29 2010 12:01PM