Flash in a Search Engine

Courtesy of Barry Hayden from da Flashn00bz list.

<a href=”http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1116″>This article</a> covers getting Flash in search engine results. Written by an Aussie (WUzzuUPP!).

4 Replies to “Flash in a Search Engine”

  1. To quote “Mike” from the list, here is his comments on the article:

    “Unfortunately the technique described in this tutorial is the best way to get banned from the search engines… Looking for search bots and delivering them different content is called ‘cloaking’, and of course Google & Co. don’t like it at all.

    (What you simply can do though is to look for non-Flash-enabled clients and deliver them the HTML page, which has about the same result, but isn’t cloaking.)


  2. Unfortunately serving different files to different user agents on identical queries is cloaking no matter how you word it. It is all frowned upon by the major engines, and all forms of cloaking carry with them some degree of risk. This is why it is imperative for macromedia to work in concert with search engines in implementing adequate technologies for spidering and indexing the swf file format.

    Flash search engine SDK is a marginal product by most accounts from search experts, but I believe it is at least a step in the right direction.

    Many people would have you believe that cloaking and other quick “fixes” are the standard. Currently, they are the best we have, but the standard they cannot be. Any solution that risks ban from the search engine’s index that drives 80% of all search traffic is no solution at all. It’s a bandaid.

    you can keep yourself resonably safe from human review by having the content of the served files remain identical.

    The real problem comes into play when you start keyword stuffing the html you are serving to googlebot. If this is caught, especially with Googles most recent antispam campaign, you will be at much more risk of penalty.

    The search landscape offers very rough terrain for Flashers, until the fact that flash offers more than cartoons and site intros is made painfully obvious to search proprieters… until search users cry out for inclusion of flash files, and until macromedia makes a strong marketing push for the value of the Search Engine SDK and it’s improvement or better technologies, Flash and search will be at odds.

  3. Hi Jesse,

    Unfortunately, the only decent way to smoosh in content in a web page that is “acceptably” accessible to search engines could be:

    (1) To have an iframe or DIV tag that you hide using JS if flash is present and swfs are getting displayed. To make sure you don’t confuse people who have JS disabled (25-30% of internet audience…holler if you need formal stats) your default page could have the DIV or the iframe enabled.

    (2) Using the somewhat annoying “HTML | FLASH” bifocal links — the painful story being that one has to choose before she gets presented with any content, but this can be overcome with defaulting to HTML (so JS-impaired folks plus engines can be happily nourished) but doing a JS check and if Flash is present, forwarding to the flash site.

    Sure hope MM comes up with a somewhat better mechanism to manage SE friendly content so one doesn’t have to scamper around maintaining two versions and arcane JS. Btw, a 301 redirect wont croak google or others, achieved with a simple command such as this in your htaccess or httpd.conf

    RedirectPermanant [sourceUrl] [targetUrl]

    Neat website, keep it up!


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