Flash SEO Best Practice
My website: ASWC View all articles by Jean André Mas
The answer is clearly yes and this article will show you many different ways to optimize your Flash content and embed your Flash file efficiently in an HTML page. Some of the techniques I will show require no coding knowledge and are easy to implement, some require very good coding knowledge and/or take time to implement.
Optimizing Flash Content
Search engines do read inside swf files. They do read Accessibility contents, texts, links, and are able to read some of the dynamic content your Flash file will load.
In the Flash IDE the Accessibility panel allows you to add a meaningful name and description, which is then used by screen readers. Search engines do read this information too. Take advantage of this by adding Accessibility content to the object you create:
Select a movieclip on the stage, go to "Window", "Other Panel", "Accessibility". You should see this:
Add a meaningful name and description. Check "make child objects accessible" if you plan on adding Accessibility content to object inside this movieclip. Since search engines can't see vector content, animation, and graphics this is a great way to provide some information about what's going on in your file.
For objects created by code and inheriting from DisplayObject you can access the accessibilityProperties property and add the same basic Accessibility content using the Accessibility class.
Texts inside your Flash file will be read by search engines, even texts coming from loading external data. So not only don't hesitate to add texts in your Flash file but you can also add texts off stage (texts that will not be displayed) with a meaningful description of what your Flash file is about for example. This will add to the understanding search engines have of your Flash content.
Deep Linking (for advanced coder):
Use the alternative content to provide information concerning what your Flash file is about. This could be a simple text/description (avoid pictures) or a fully developed web page (better) or even a full alternative html website (even better).
As you saw there are many techniques that you can use to optimize your Flash content and Flash html embedding for improving the search engine results.
You do not have to use all these techniques of course; you could simply use some of them and still get an improvement in the search engine results. But if you were to create a full Flash website and still want the best search engine results as possible you would have to use all these techniques in your SEO plan.
The perfect example:
Let's finish with the perfect example, the HBO Flash website.
- Look at the HTML source code and discover an impressive alternative content probably updated via CMS just like the main Flash website is.
- A very advanced Deep Linking of course going even to sub sections.
- Probably Accessibility was implemented for all relevant object.
Find a text in the HBO website and search some of the relevant words from this text in your favorite search engine. Using Google I often get HBO on first page and I am able to go directly to the relevant page clicking on the link provided by Google. That's SEO efficienty with a full Flash website!