Make Your Flash Site SEO Friendly

(Ping! Zine) – Flash makes possible to design ‘jaw dropping’ websites. You can infuse highly creative as well as interactive components through Flash. Various features are also possible with Flash.

For instance you can place video clips, stunning graphics, animations, games, tutorials and innovative presentations. You can show your portfolio. You can resize graphics without degradation in quality. Showcasing a product in three dimensions is possible with Papervision 3D flash. In short, Flash is an inevitable component in the website design industry.

Despite the views and uses, which seem great in case of Flash websites, its search factor by various search engines seems dim. Tis is because of obvious reasons that are as follows:

• First of all Flash sites are made up of a single SWF file, so there are no separate pages existing.
• No separate pages mean ‘no’ separate URLs for pages.
• Flash never changes pages in navigation. It just jumps from one frame to another, so no URL change ever takes place.
• No sitemap exist
• No Meta tags exist
• No Meta descriptions possible.
• Content and images are loaded in frames not in separate pages.
• Contents can not be optimized for different keywords and found in separate pages.
• Images can’t be distinguished separately nor be optimized with alt tags.
• Load time is greater than HTML site.

However, Google has recently advised webmasters that Google is able to index SWF files when constructed in a particular way. This means that Google will read content and links etc in SWF files (the file format for Flash).

Information from the Google Webmaster Blog confirms what Google can do:

o Index textual content displayed as a user interacts with the file. We click buttons and enter input, just like a user would.
o Discover links within Flash files.
o Load external resources and associate the content with the parent file.
o Support common JavaScript techniques for embedding Flash, such as SWFObject and SWFObject2.
o Index sites scripted with AS1, AS2 & AS3, even if the Action Script is obscured.

Considering the above facts, you can do the following to create a Flash website that Google and other search engines can crawl.

Use SWFObject
Adobe supports SWFObject, therefore use it. With SWFObject you can serve both users, who have support for Flash and who have support for (X)HTML. Therefore, crawlers will look at XHTML and content will be indexed if you put in it.

Create HTML pages for each of your flash pages
Create separate SWF files for your optimized content for a particular keyword and put it into XHTML pages. By doing this you will pave the way for crawlers to index content of the SWF file and reduce the load time with small SWFs. Separate pages will make navigation easy to index and a sitemap will be possible. You will also give all Meta take attributes etc. to the XHTML pages.

Use SWFAddress
Like SWFObject SWFAddress is extremely helpful for crawlers. It allows you to read information from the URL and thereby using it within Flash or outside the Flash. It will give deep linking in Flash. Using SWFAddress, you can use #anchors to define where in your Flash you want to go.

Add a JavaScript call
At this point you’ve got multiple HTML pages and the ability to deep link in Flash. Now you need to direct users who come from a search engine to the right content within your Flash. All you need to do is call SWFAddress from JavaScript and update the page URL. Since your Flash is set up to use SWFAddress, it will read the update and take the user to the proper section.

Writer’s Bio: Jessica Woodsona is web designer at IndiaNIC – a leading website redesign company present creative and cost effective website redesign, creative website design services and iphone application development services across the globe. For any queries related to website redesign please email us at [email protected]