Flash - recognised by search engines?

  Humphreyyg 21:55 03 Oct 2003

A website has been recreated for me with the first page entirely in Flash. Although the site has been submitted to the major search engines I no longer get into any listings by Google, etc. Is it possible that this is as a result of being programmed in Flash rather than html?

  Sir Radfordin 22:10 03 Oct 2003

If you have suitable meta data you should still be being picked up by some search engines. Some look at the raw HTML to find words and thus the content of the site. If you don't have HTML (as in the case of a Flash site) then yes you may fail to be listed. One of the disadvantages of Flash website design.

  Humphreyyg 20:03 04 Oct 2003

My original website had meta keywords (which worked fine with the search engines) and I understand that they have been included in the new Flash-based site. Your comments suggest that I may get listed but, since this is a disadvantage of Flash, I may not. Should I assume from this that I may just get lucky with some search engines but others will definitely not list me?

  zoomer 22:10 04 Oct 2003

lots of search engines look for keywords etc in the text content of your site, also anchor text is important, if maximum search engine visibility is your goal then a Flash site is not the way to go.Another important point for Google is inbound links from sites with a good page rank.
You should check your site out with a spider simulator and you wil see your site as the SE sees it,meta tags are not enough and some say that nowadays they are virtually worthless.
click here

  Taran 14:18 05 Oct 2003

Using Flash can be a nightmare for search engine indexing and a whole lot of other things besides.

Many people who are terribly impressed with their own cleverness as an animator clearly either do not understand the importance of search engine indexing or choose to ignore it, along with less obvious considerations like visually impaired visitors to your site and how the software they employ to 'read' the page content throws a wobbly when it finds Flash.

Flash MX and the latest 2004 versions feature accessibility controls which can help in site search engine indexing and, more importantly, for the visually impaired and otherwise disabled. These controls allow a designer to incorporate alternative code tags, image for movie substitues or text information that allows the software used by disabled viewers (and to a lesser extent search engines) to 'read' your site content.

I realise that I've thrown the thread into another arena here with the mention of disabled site visitors, but this is the main reason Macromedia chose to include the accessibility tools in Flash to begin with: search engine indexing is just something that this can assist with.

Since the Flash intro page will be one or more movie files embedded into plain vanilla HTML, there is nothing at all to prevent you including the necessary meta tags and search indexing details in the underlying code of the page itself and if your designer pulls his or her finger out and gives you a Flash intro page with the correct accessibility inclusions this will not only help with your search engine issues but it will also address the other problems I have touched upon above.

Finally, unless your index page contains vital information for the search engines to pick up on and it is imperative to you that your visitors use it as an entry to the rest of your site, there is nothing to stop you simply coding all the other pages of you site for good search engine indexing. You can then embed a short script into the pages which detects whether or not your visitor has come via your index page and if they have not, it redirects them to it from where they may navigate your site at will. The timing control you can set on this can be so quick that there is no real visible delay to your visitors.

Hope this helps.

Oh, for more details of the Flash accessibility options:

click here



  Humphreyyg 16:41 07 Oct 2003

My thanks to all - you have been a big help

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