Sunday, December 14, 2008

Top 3 ways to SEO Flash

In spite of the fact that Flash websites is less SEO and browser friendly than usual HTML sites, more and more people want to use Flash elements for their websites. Why? The main reason is that flash animation, menus and buttons are visually appealing and help to attract visitors' attention.

Your visitors and customers want not only good content, they also want it to be in a nice "wrapper". And flash is exactly this wrapper. Developers like Flash because it allows to place more content in a less space without spoiling page structure, it's perfect for presenting multimedia content and can be easily combined with such technologies as MySQL, XML, PHP, etc. Besides, flash is not so unSEOable as it's often believed to be. Here are the top 3 ways to make flash content seo-friendly.

1. Using CSS element DIV with the content which can be accessed and indexed by search engines along with using JavaScript SWFObject to detect user's (or browser's) ability to handle Flash. It allows both search engine bots and users without Flash plug-in to view non-flash content, while users with Flash player installed will see enhanced Flash content. This method let you kill two birds with one stone. You'll have no problem both with search engines, and with users who can't (or just don't want to) see flash content – they'll still get full accessibility and functionality. Non-flash content within DIV can contain everything you're able to add to usual HTML page, including links, text, images, etc.

2. Creating an alternative HTML version of the pure Flash sites. Maybe, this'll add you work, but this also will give you better rankings and visibility. As well as with DIV element, creating an alternative HTML content will ensure that your site will be indexed by search engine spiders and viewed even by people without Flash player plug-in, while other visitors will see its Flash version. The best way is still to create each page as HTML with installed Flash movie, even though this won't have a smoothness of all-Flash sites.

3. Using SWFAddress for deep linking. This smart developer tool creates virtual URLs for Flash websites that enables visitors to bookmark certain pages, send links via e-mail or IM, use browser history and back/forward/reload buttons. Also, this helps you with search engines as they can find specific content on a website. To learn details, read SWFAddress blog.

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