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Flash Optimization (SEO)


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Flash has a time and place, improving the user experience but often contradicting SEO. A balance between the right amount of Flash and SEO elements helps maintain search engine visibility and provide an optimal user experience.

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Flash Optimization (SEO)

  1. 1. Flash & SEO
  2. 2. Our Position on Flash <ul><li>“ Flash has a time and place, improving the user experience but often contradicting SEO. We find a balance between the right amount of Flash and SEO elements to maintain search engine visibility and provide an optimal user experience” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Flash 101
  4. 4. The Flash Basics <ul><li>Vector animation software </li></ul><ul><li>Flash intelligently gets ‘cached’ so they don’t have to be reloaded in the browser </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Flash Basics <ul><li>Flash handles text very poorly, renders slower than HTML </li></ul><ul><li>Development much more complex than HTML </li></ul>
  6. 6. Current & Historic SEO Issues With Flash
  7. 7. Flash SEO Issues <ul><li>Until recently, search engine bots were unable to crawl Flash files rendering them useless for SEO </li></ul><ul><li>Some search engines are still unable to crawl Flash while others still “figuring it out” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Flash SEO Issues <ul><li>Search engine bots are traditionally designed to crawl HTML text, Flash text lacks HTML structure </li></ul><ul><li>Flash is embedded using javascript (non-executable by most search engines) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Google + Adobe
  10. 10. Googladobe <ul><li>Mid 2008, Google announced updated Flash algorithm in conjunction with Adobe </li></ul><ul><li>Needed solution for the 30% - 40% of web pages that contain Flash (via Opera browser) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Google’s Flash Algorithm <ul><li>Google now able to traverse simple JavaScript, such as the SWFObject </li></ul><ul><li>Now has the ability to index websites with ActionScript </li></ul>
  12. 12. Google’s Flash Algorithm <ul><li>Google can now discover links within Flash files </li></ul><ul><li>External (X)HTML content and Flash content now associated to the same URL </li></ul>
  13. 13. Optimizing Flash
  14. 14. Flash & SEO Solutions <ul><li>1) Flash As Needed Solution </li></ul><ul><li>2) HTML Layer Solution </li></ul><ul><li>3) Flash Segmentation Solution </li></ul>
  15. 15. Flash As Needed Solution
  16. 16. As Needed Solution <ul><li>Only use Flash as needed, for specific applications or modules on certain pages </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use it for navigation or the main site, rather for interactive pieces on a site </li></ul><ul><li>Embed Flash in HTML and surround with content </li></ul>
  17. 17. Flash Segmentation Solution
  18. 18. Segmentation Solution <ul><li>Break up large Flash files into multiple Flash files </li></ul><ul><li>Embed a single “page” within a Flash file in the (X)HTML structure of corresponding content pages </li></ul><ul><li>Creates static URLs and allows for HTML content to surround the Flash file </li></ul>
  19. 19. Flash HTML Layer Solution
  20. 20. HTML Layer Solution <ul><li>Embed an entire “site” within a Flash file and layer that Flash file over (X)HTML structure of corresponding content pages via JavaScript. </li></ul><ul><li>Users with Flash enabled see Flash, while users without Flash enabled (previously Googlebot) receive the (X)HTML version of content pages. </li></ul>
  21. 21. HTML Layer Solution <ul><li>Historically considered cloaking by those in the industry </li></ul><ul><li>To understand why a HTML layer is a white hat technique, you need to first understand Progressive Enhancement (PE) </li></ul>
  22. 22. What is Progressive Enhancement?
  23. 23. Progressive Enhancement <ul><li>“ The layering of web technologies that allows users to access the basic content and functionality of a web page, using any browser or Internet connection, while also providing those with better bandwidth or more advanced software an enhanced version of the page.” </li></ul>
  24. 24. What does Progressive Enhancement Have to do With Optimizing Flash?
  25. 25. Importance of PE <ul><li>Layering of web technologies, such as Flash and HTML are in line with Progressive Enhancement </li></ul><ul><li>Users without Flash see HTML content, those with Flash see the Flash version of the site; including search engines </li></ul>
  26. 26. Other Flash + SEO Best Practices
  27. 27. sIFR <ul><li>Not all fonts are web friendly, and thus uncrawlable by SEs </li></ul><ul><li>sIFR is a text replacement technique that is in line with Progressive Enhancement </li></ul><ul><li>sIFR allows for the use of branded fonts while maintaining SEO </li></ul>
  28. 28. Flash in SERPs <ul><li>Search engines will index the specific Flash files; thus displaying the .swf URLs in the search results </li></ul><ul><li>“ noindex” .swf URLs or add to the robots.txt file </li></ul>
  29. 29. Final Thought on Flash SEO
  30. 30. Handling Flash <ul><li>Google and other search engines are still evolving the way they handle Flash </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on site goals, choose the right solution and follow best practices </li></ul><ul><li>As a good rule of thumb, avoid putting important SEO content in Flash </li></ul>
  31. 31. About SwellPath <ul><li>Boutique, digital marketing agency in Portland, OR </li></ul><ul><li>Follow us on Twitter - @SwellPath </li></ul>