Home > PPC, SEO > Flash and Search: Best Friends?

Flash and Search: Best Friends?

I love algorithms: “Google has been developing a new algorithm for indexing textual content in Flash files of all kinds, from Flash menus, buttons and banners, to self-contained Flash websites. Recently, we’ve improved the performance of this Flash indexing algorithm by integrating Adobe’s Flash Player technology.”

Late yesterday Google and Adobe announced a collaboration to make dynamic web content more searchable. Finally, millions of sites that use Flash technology will be searchable without the need for companies to alter them.

Search engines currently index very limited data about Flash sites which has caused major challenges for designers in marrying creative, dynamic content, and searchability.

What will be indexed by Google? Google says all of the text that users can see in the Flash file will be indexed and can be used to match query terms in Google searches. If the Flash site contains only images, they will not recognize or index any text that may appear in those images. These elements will be invisible to Google. Although they will be able to better crawl links in the site, they won’t be able to read the anchor text for Flash buttons which target some URL, but which have no associated text.

How will this impact PPC paid search? Will Google use this new algorithm for the Google AdsBot? Since the AdsBot collects only landing page information to apply to quality scores, it makes sense this technology would eventually be used to read Flash landing pages. This would allow advertisers to offer a more customized and dynamic user experience and better meet the needs of searchers. Fer sur.

Yahoo also plans to support searchable SWF. Hurry up, Yahoo…

  1. szielie
    July 1, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Hooray for us!

  2. swamijones
    July 9, 2008 at 4:59 am

    Hold the phone….the details of Google’s new search capabilities are limited and may actually cause problems.

    First and foremost is the technologies inability to read loaded content. That means if your flash file is loading other flash files, or any external data, xml, txt, database, Google can’t index it. I’d be willing to bet that 95% of flash sites are built this way. Any developer worth anything works that way.

    Secondly, that leaves Google basically reading the swf file itself for static text that’s embedded in the file. The majority of flash out there that’s in this category is banner ads. Does google ever mention how they’re going to identify or omit these from the hosting page’s search results?

    Don’t get me wrong, its great that google and yahoo are trying, but they’ve still got a LONG way to go before they can realistically make the claim to automatically index modern flash sites.


  3. July 9, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Thanks, that adds a lot of insight! I’m just glad their dev is going in this direction even though it’s just a nugget of hope. 🙂

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