Macromedia FlashAs you most likely know, a website made in all Flash is bad for search engine optimization.  Simply put, the search engines can’t read Flash.  They don’t know what to make of it or how to categorize it or how to index it.

But that may be changing, according the following article that points out some new wrinkles within Macromedia’s Flash development tool-set: 

YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD SEARCH ENGINE NEW TRICKS

Today there are many techniques which can overcome the limitations of the past, where Flash files are concerned. With the inception of the new Macromedia Flash 8, there are techniques which can be implemented to greatly increase the ability of search engines to index Flash files and even rank for key words.

In the past, SWF files could not have titles. This is one important reason why Flash files didn’t rank well. This title limitation has now changed. Flash 8 does allow you to input meta data. Flash 8 defines two fields with meta data for all Flash files. These two fields are Title and Description. You can access the meta data fields under Document Properties. To add meta data, fill in the text fields and the search engines will know what info to display about your Flash file.

SDK is fairly intelligent in terms of recognizing text and links that are embedded in the file. If text is static or dynamically driven by an XML or text file, it can be read. If your content is dynamically driven it must be done so using the latest version of ActionScript 2.0. The SDK does parse ActionScript 2 byte code looking for links. It could conceivably find the link to the XML file that way and hand it back to a search engine.

As referenced earlier, certain text can be modified into a symbol rather than strait text. For example, a button might have the text output two or three times. Alternatively, tweened text has motion associated with the action. Tweens result in a single occurrence in the output from the extraction process. You should also notice that the link text in the Google results page is identical to the first couple of lines of text at the very top of the text extracted by swf2HTML. Armed with the knowledge of how SDK parses your content, you can manipulate text in your Flash Movies more carefully and make your content key word dense, easily indexable, search engine friendly and, with a little more skill, even optimized.

What is the gist of all this? Flash is still not the best solution for a pure SEO-based project, but their have been giant leaps forward by both the search engines and Macromedia in allowing your flash files to be indexed and even rank for the key word phrases you covet.

About the Author:

This Article was written by Mike Goldstein. Mike is the SEO Manager at Rock Coast Media (www.rockcoastmedia.com), a Boston-Area search engine marketing firm that provides results-driven custom search marketing solutions.