All Flash Websites - Just Say No
: by Dante Monteverde :
Google now indexes Flash… but should you create an all flash site?
Last month Google rolled out a new algorithm that allows them to index flash pages. Google Search Spider, Googlebot, can now navigate flash pages and index the text it finds. It’s now possible for your flash pages to come up in the Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERP’s). But before you or your web designer convinces you that now is the time you should create an all flash web site. Here are a few things you should consider before creating an all Flash web site.
From a Search Engine Optimization Perspective (SEO):
1. On-Page SEO is effective when you pay attention to detail. Placing the correct keywords in the correct HTML tags is essential. So you want make sure your titles, meta descriptions, header tags, internal link text, alt tags, etc are all optimized with your keywords in mind. However when Googlebot visits an all flash site all it indexes is text. The Google spider doesn’t see any of the tags within your site and to make things worse the loading message on your flash site is often displayed as your title on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Often times your description displayed on the Google SERP’s isn’t something relevant as well. So even if you do get indexed and ranked high your title and description is not going to attract people to click on it.
2. Most Flash sites are just one big file. What that means is each internal page does not have its own unique URL. So when people link to your site they are just linking to your home page or index page. This means that your internal pages will never get any incoming links. It’s going to be very difficult to achieve and significant Search Engine Rankings when you only have on page to work with.
So having an all Flash web site presents both On-Page and Off-Page SEO problems.
From a Usability and Accessibility Perspective:
They days of the all flash site or flash intro page are dwindling. Now Search Engines are even creating options to skip the flash intro and go straight to the web site. In addition, flash navigation is often done incorrectly and leaves your web site visitors frustrated and leads to a high abandonment rate. While there are still viable reasons for creating flash elements. It’s best to embed these elements into HTML so the Search Engines can correctly spider and index your website. I’m not advocated that you avoid Flash altogether, Flash can be a very powerful tool if used correctly. The challenge is to find the proper mix of Flash and HTML that best allows you to convey your message to your web site visitors and still be Search Engine Friendly.
Dante A. Monteverde is a Search Strategist specializing in Search Engine