20 July 2008

SEOed Flash, first steps

Among web developers with SEO (search engine optimization) on their mind, Flash was always a black sheep technology, something to avoid at any cost. Actually, many developers started to hate Flash because of bad search engines visibility. I’m not sure how anyone can hate a particular technology, but many are capable for that, and even claim that they don’t have “Flash” on their computer. I suppose this is the reason why Flash Player is present on only 99% of desktop computers.

Few weeks ago, Google announced improved Flash indexing and started with implementation right away. This is result of joined effort between Adobe, Google and Yahoo! To make Flash SWF file format more search engines friendly. Bots now see every textual content within Flash file, but also URL’s within Flash files are discovered too. Bots can’t index FLV files and Flash files loaded via JavaScript remain hidden.

Reactions to optimized Flash were both positive and negative, but I must notice that many people are concern about how thing are developing right now, even though everybody think global idea behind SEOed Flash is great. Aral wrote about it and he asks if Flash indexing is revealing too much?

My concern goes in slightly different direction. If blog / website has Flash based widget with links to other pages, (like my Bookshelf Widget on right sidebar with links to Amazon books pages) suddenly, I have dozens of new outgoing links and I wasn’t aware of this until few days later page rank dropped from awesome 7 to medium 5! To be honest I don’t know if this is exact reason for page rank drop, but this is what I suspect. Does Google’s PR algorithm take in account links from Flash files?

I wonder how will Flash haters react to dynamic content and RIA’s indexing and what will happen when search engines start to make no difference between Flash websites and “regular” ones?



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