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Note: Visitors to the HTML version of a page will be able to copy the URL in their browsers and create an effective link because the HTML version does not contain the “#” symbol.
What This Means for Marketers.
#1. “Link juice” isn’t applied to the deep-Flash page.
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o What marketers are seeing.
-Using a robots.txt file to deny access to the directory holding the Flash files (see links below) -Loading the Flash content from an external source so Google cannot access it.
While no marketers we spoke with mentioned that Google’s announcement is negatively impacting their search results, many are taking the safe route.
Google Webmaster Central Blog advises: “If you prefer Google to ignore your less informative content, such as a ‘copyright’ or ‘loading’ message, consider replacing the text with an image, which will make it effectively invisible to us”.
Method #1 Example: Fuzz Productions http://www.fuzzproductions.com/
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When the blogger creates a link to a deep-Flash page, his or her readers will be able to visit that page. But the page will not receive credit for the link in search engines. The page’s parent page (everything before the “#” symbol in the URL) will receive the credit.
Useful links related to this article:
Many marketers are choosing to keep their Flash hidden from Google, and leaving the HTML to be optimized and indexed. There are two ways to do this:
Google’s announcement has created some uncertainty for this group. Previously, Google ignored the Flash and indexed only the HTML. Now, Google can index both.
This creates a problem for link building for the following two reasons:
HTML Website Example: MarketingSherpa http://www.marketingsherpa.com/
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This means that Google now has some visibility into all-Flash websites and Flash parts of websites. It can index this content and serve it as part of its search results.
“One way we found to alleviate that was to write a script to remove that anchor symbol (#) from the URL when users click to submit the pages to social-media sites (e.g., Digg). That way, when a link is shared on those sites, it will provide a benefit from the search engines,” says Joe Maki, Senior Programmer, Del Padre Digital, who uses this method.
3. Google can index external content that a Flash file loads and associate it with that Flash file. This capability is an update from the summer 2008 revision. Previously, if a Flash file were to load an HTML or XML file, Google would not associate that external content with the Flash file. This new capability, introduced just this summer, allows external content to appear in search results.
One of the most common issues for web sites with poor search visibility involves Google not being able to crawl and index a site’s content. Web sites made entirely with Flash are problematic because there are often no links for search engine crawlers to follow or HTML text to copy.
1. Google can crawl and index all of the text content users see as they interact with the Flash file. That’s a big step in the right direction, since ensuring a site is crawlable is the No. 1 SEO basic. A few points to keep in mind concerning SEO for Flash:
For Flash optimization from the source, be sure to check out the Adobe SEO Technology Center web site, which was set up specifically to provide webmasters with what the challenges are and provides practical steps, examples, and best practices that you can follow to overcome them.
Consider these 5 points that Google makes in regards to SEO for Flash:
2. Google can discover links within Flash files. In other words, if a Flash file includes links to your website pages, you can increase your odds of Google finding and crawling more of the site – just as is the case with links that appear in HTML and other files.
The image below shows the results to the query “2002 VW Tansporter 888.” Before the introduction of the new Flash search capability, this result did not appear because the content is contained in an XML file loaded by a Flash file:
All that said, Google’s ability to crawl Flash files is still evolving, so building a site entirely in Flash isn’t best practice. To create the right balance when it comes to using Flash and implementing SEO for Flash, consider these tips:
According to the Opera (browser) developer center, somewhere between 30% and 40% of all pages tested contained Flash files representing a lot of content that may not be included in search results or only partially indexed. Despite a large number of sites publishing content using this type of file format, Flash and search engines have been like oil and water. They just didn’t mix.
But what’s the whole story? Can a site be built entirely with Flash and expect to gain the same search benefits as an HTML site?
5. Google can index sites scripted with ActionScript. That includes AS1, AS2 and AS3 versions. Google also maintains that is does not decompile Flash files or expose ActionScript code if it’s not visible to users.
In the summer of 2008, Google announced it had improved the indexing of Adobe Flash files. Many Flash developers and SEOs across the globe could breathe an optimistic sigh of relief: Text in Flash files was now crawlable.
The below image illustrates how a Flash site was previously seen in search results (without meta description text) and how it is currently seen (with descriptive text):