Flash Websites And SEO.

Flash is used by many websites as an efficient and flexible way of adding animations and interactivity to their interfaces enhancing the visitors’ experience.

The use of Flash in website design has many advantages but is also notoriously difficult for the search engines to index.  Using Flash exclusively for a website could mean that search engines simply fail to see anything within your website.

Two years ago Google announced that they had been able to start indexing flash content within website.  There have been several updates since then including a recent announcement about improvements in indexing text and links even if Javascript is used to embed the Flash content.  The latest update also brings better extraction of video content from Flash files.

Despite all of this, Flash support from the search engines is far from ideal.

Although Google can extract text from some Flash files, complicated ones are much more difficult for them to handle.

There are ways to work around this limitation.  One way is to detect whether the browser is capable of viewing flash and if not show them a pure HTML version of the page.  As long as the HTML version of the page is equivalent to the Flash content there should be no issues with the Search Engines’ terms & conditions and they will successfully index all of your content.

The most effective way to overcome this is to not use Flash in your websites, however this is not is not always a viable option as it can reduce the visual effect that the website has.

HTML5 may overcome this in the future, but currently support is still patchy.  Other options such as sIFR, which converts HTML text into a Flash equivalent using Javascript to allow font styling, are available to help websites reduce their reliance on all Flash content.

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