SEO - Search engine optimization

How Flash based websites can be found in search engines.

More and more websites are being build in Flash. Flashy, trendy and hip. But being found? NO! Google can't read this format and therefor does not see any links or text in a flash based website.

What to do to get your Flash website being found?

A search engine, and speciffically its robot is not able to extract content from a website build in flash. The format can't be read and there is little to no place to write descriptive content, except the usual description, title and keywords in a HTML format, that contains the flash-files.

So what would be the best way to get the site indexed, without throwing the Flash files away?

The only plausible answer to that is in my opinion:

Build a copy in HTML!

Flash and HTML as an option

By serving the website in 2 formats, Flash and HTML and giving a visitor the option to choose between them, you are not only giving visitors who have no flash-plugin a choice, at the same time, you are providing an alternative to the search engines to crawl through some real content.

This would mean you would have to do the maintenance on two sites instead of one. But this is the only way to get reasonable rankings if you want to stick with the Flash build site.

Duplicate content - Two sites with the same content

By serving the same site in two formats, you actually are serving 'duplicate content'. As long as search engines are not able to read the flash-files it is not going to be harmfull for your site. It will not be seen as 'spam'.

It is however wise to make the Flash-part unavailable for robots. If one or more robots are able to spider Flash files, you don't have to be concerned about possible penalty's.

Other methodes used:

100% Frameset

A simple, but less ethical methode to get some content on the site is to place the Flash part in a Frameset in which there is only one file that contains 100% of the height.

This way, you could place some spiderable content in the <noframes> section. The element is meant to provide some information to visitors that use a browser that can't handle frames. A side effect is that robots, that can't handle framesets either, do see some content and spiderable links.

This methode however is not recommended by the simple fact that it is an abusive use of the frames technique. After all, your website isn't a frames based one, is it? Next to that, framesets do have their own problems to get indexed and there are lots, and lots of websites that abuse this element, by placing huge amounts of keywords and links in it.

The amount of websites that abuse a frameset, could well be a reason for Google to take this in consideration and mark them as less valuable. If that isn't already a fact.

Hidden text

A methode I see on several flash-based websites, and that seems to be used more and more, is put hidden text in the same document the Flash is embeded.


It is considered spam and could get your site banned!

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