Flash & SEO? Not for Us Anymore!
Over the years, I’ve been a staunch follower of the simple understanding that for Google et al to “read” your website HTML pages, it needs to find them. The HTML, that is…it must be totally findable, searchable, readable and indexable. And there’s the “rub” when it comes to those beautifully designed Flash sites, eh….
And my own thinking, based on actual trial and error testing, appears to be vetted by many many other SEO practitioners on the web…folks whose thoughts and blogs and counsel I follow religiously. Most of us think and agree, that using Flash is a serious mistake in the SEO ranking world. It adds too too many obstacles to what should be a solid process and it makes you use work-arounds to get anything done. It’s time time time and that as you all know by now, is that costs dollars and that is why we take on no new clients who insist on a full Flash site. Oh, eye-candy navigation is fine…we SEO around that, but a single HTML page holidng a monolithic Flash .swf? Nope…not for us!
On point, here’s a link to a recent post on her blog, by Jill Whalen of HighRankings.com, a noted SEO practitioner from Massachusetts that she also sent out on her blog too (here’s a link for the signup) and she noted as I’ve always done too, that Flash is a non-starter!
And she tested for same, using real-world methodology. She went and found keyphrases in the Flash content of a test Flash website page, plugged same into Google and searched….and almost all were not found. The couple that were, used both the Meta description tag or had those keywords placed below the Flash embed itself to try to help. And Jills comment here is very apropos —
“While that’s a good alternative, the info they had was very different from the info contained in their Flash. That’s a bit of a dangerous game to play with the search engines, if you ask me. If that info is good enough for search engines and iPhones, why isn’t it good enough for your most important users?”
You should go and read that piece, and see what else she tested for, what the results were too…all solid counsel from a great SEO practitioner, eh!
My Canadian SEO disclaimer: we have only 1 client (a graphic designer shop) who uses a full Flash site, ie not just for some eye-candy navigation, but for the whole site. And so far how are they doing? Well like most designers, the look and feel is beautiful….but like most Flash folks it was built in one monolithic Flash file that sat on 1 single HTML page…..ie very very bad SEO!
But they listened and then reworked all of their 25+ pages by breaking them all down into single HTML pages, that we can use for seperate title tags, H1’s, image alt’s, H2’s, keyword placements, footer tags, outbound links…etc. etc. They listened, as I said, and they’re slowly climbing their rankings in this region….it’s still Flash, yes….but indexing is happening and link building too….it’s all about work-arounds and time time time…sigh….but yes, they are ranking in spite of Flash, and not because of it, eh!
So, Flash and SEO? Is this a marriage that we seek? Nope, not even a little….your mileage of course may vary, but if you want SEO serps, you need to get indexed to rank….and until Flash is transparent to googlebots, it’s not happening here!Google