Posts Tagged ‘seo mistakes’

SEO: Optimizing Flash websites for better rankings

There are many beautiful clean crisp & funky websites out there that look very attractive and is obviously appealing to the visitor. The functionality as well as the page animation is awesome and everyone that goes to that website boasts about it. But, one question to ask – how many visitors actually visits this website?

This is generally a question an SEO expert would ask, and more often than not the answer is always quite a few, sometimes not even hundreds. Disappointing as it seems, this is the reality most flash websites have to endure.

The main reason for not attract much traffic is that search engines dislike flash as they find it difficult to index the contents within the flash file. This is true for all search engines. There is however a few pointers for optimizing a flash website by squeezing traffic out of them.

  • As a general rule, keep flash movies at a minimum. In this case less is more and search engines are not the only reason. First, Flash movies, especially banners and other kinds of advertisement, distract users and they generally tend to skip them. Second, Flash movies consume a lot of bandwidth.
  • Content: One should have some text with the main points of the story (including your keywords) and then you should have the Flash movie to add further detail or just a visual representation of the story.  The greatest SEO sin is to have the whole site made in Flash! This is unforgivable and one should not even dream of high rankings!
  • Navigation: Another ‘Hell No’ is to use flash for navigation, as well as using it on the landing page that was once fashionable to have a beautiful flash movie that linked to the ‘main area’ of the website. These days it is a common mistake to have javascript / AJAX for the navigation, one should use text links or images (that are optimized).

Workarounds for Optimizing Flash Sites

Even though workarounds are not a solution, flash sites can still be optimized. Here are some approaches:

  • Provide alternative pages
    For a good site it is a must to provide html only pages that do not force the user to watch the Flash movie. Preparing these pages requires more work but the reward is worth it because not only users, but search engines as well will see the html only pages.
  • Input metadata
    This is a very important approach, although it is often underestimated and misunderstood. Although metadata is not as important to search engines as it used to be, Flash development tools allow easy to add metadata to your movies, so there is no excuse to leave the metadata fields empty.

These approaches are some of the most important examples in optimizing your flash website. To assist you further, I have found this a free tool that visually shows how your Flash files will be seen by search engines.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t see anything! Hope this helps! 🙂