Flash Optimization (SEO)

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