Search Engine Indexing for Flash Websites is Improving

Are you frustrated because your Flash website does not show up on the search engines? That’s understandable. Keep reading, though, because there’s hope; all of your work is not wasted. The search engines are getting "smarter" where Flash is concerned.


You have put a lot of time, effort, and perhaps money into designing and developing your Flash website. Your next step is to submit it to the search engines so that other potential clients can see it. However, there’s one problem. You cannot find it on those search engines, except if you’ve signed up for the pay-per-click program at Google or Overture.

You must find some way for people to be able to go to the search engine, type the keywords that pertain to your site, see your link, and come to your Flash website. Search engines are better known for indexing static links and text within SWF files. However, you want search engines that can index RIAs (rich Internet applications) and dynamic Web content.

“The search engine listings arena has never been more competitive and crowded. Any site concerned with search engine traffic should have an integrated search engine optimization/search engine marketing plan in place from inception, ESPECIALLY Flash sites, with their inherently unique structural challenges to search engine spiders,” according to Gregory Markel, who is the founder/president of Infuse Creative, an entertainment and technology consulting company. Markel goes on to say that a plan and budget must tackle these issues at the time the website is being designed or immediately after.

Well, there is a solution to these challenges: Adobe Flash Player. Adobe Systems, the creator of this application, has formed partnerships with both Google and Yahoo! to implement its Adobe Flash Player technology into their search engines. That way, after you have submitted your Flash website to the search engines, you will be able to see it.

Adobe recognizes that search engines are having a difficult time when capturing dynamic Web content or RIA because the applications change. This lack of function has created headaches for both designers and web developers, according to Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of the Search Engine Land blog site . He noted that “The changes should help unlock information that’s previously been invisible and will likely result in a better experience for searches.”

{mospagebreak title=Google}

Google has already integrated the Adobe Flash Player into its search engine. The company has been working on a new algorithm for indexing textual content in Flash files of various types, including self-contained Flash websites, buttons and banners, and Flash menus. The algorithm is similar to what you will see when you click on buttons or enter input. Google’s algorithm stores all of the text that it comes across. It will see the Flash file’s content. The developer can then make this text available to be indexed.

In other words, Google can now match the words that are located in your Flash files with the key words users enter in their searches. In addition, if you’re looking for URLs that are located in Flash files, Google can capture those as well. No doubt, integrating Adobe’s Flash Player technology has helped Google improve its Flash indexing algorithm performance.

Unfortunately, Google will not recognize or index images that have text in them. It also does not index FLV files, particularly videos that are found on YouTube. This is because these files don’t have text elements.

When it comes to getting Google to index the text in your Flash files, you don’t have to do anything. Google will recognize your Flash content on your website, and then will immediately index it. However, if you don’t want words, such as “loading” or “copyright” to be indexed, Google recommends that you insert an image to replace them. As a result, these will be invisible to Google.

There are some caveats to Google’s capability to index Adobe Flash. First, the Googlebot cannot implement certain types of JavaScript. In other words, Google may not be able to recognize the Flash file if your web page is loading a Flash file through JavaScript.

Second, Google will not index any external resources of your Flash file. That is, if your Flash file contains an XML, HTML, or another SWF file, Google will index those files separately. It will not be treated as part of the content in your Flash file. If, on the other hand, the Flash file is embedded in HTML, the content that the URL consists of will be indexed as a single entity.

Third, as far as foreign languages are concerned, Google can index most of those found on the Internet. However, Google has a difficult time indexing Flash text that is written in bidirectional languages, such as Arabic or Hebrew. Google is working on solving all of these problems.

{mospagebreak title=Yahoo!}

On the other hand, Yahoo! plans to implement the Adobe Flash Player technology in a future update of Yahoo! Search . No one is sure when Yahoo will incorporate the technology into its search engine. Justin Everett-Church , senior product manager for Adobe Flash Player, stated that, “[End users] will get better information, more relevant results and have a better experience.” Everett-Church gave an example of this experience. If customers are searching for an online store, when they do a search, they will be able to see prices, product descriptions, or other information in the search results. Everett-Church mentioned that, “Our goal is to have SWF searchable on every search engine out there in the world.”

This will tremendously help web designers and developers, since more than 98% of computers with access to the Internet have Adobe Flash Player installed on them.

Adobe is not only committed to working with Google and Yahoo! on improving search capabilities for rich and dynamic content, but it intends to go further in making the Adobe Flash Player technology available to all content publishers.

Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Flash Player is an Internet browser plug-in application whose origins go back to Macromedia, which was acquired by Adobe Systems. The first version of the application was Macromedia Flash Player 2, which was released in 1997. Since then, it has undergone a number of changes throughout the years.

Originally, this browser plug-in application was designed to work with two-dimensional vector animation. However, Adobe Flash Player now enables you to deliver dynamic applications, including interactive content, streaming audio and video, online games, and Web applications. With Adobe Flash Player, you can create vector graphics to not only reduce the file size, but develop files that conserve loading time and bandwidth.

This application will work on various Internet browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera. It also works with various operating systems. The latest version of Adobe Flash Player is 10, and it is backward-compatible. The application supports advanced audio processing, GPU hardware acceleration, custom filters and effects, and native 3D transformation and animation. Regarding text support, Adobe Flash Player 10 allows you to have better creative control and more text layout options.

{mospagebreak title=Flash Player continued}

Adobe Flash Player operates on SWF (Shockwave files) files that are created by the following applications: Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, other Adobe software, and third party tools. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the SWF format, Adobe uses this format to deliver applications. The browser plug-in application works with ActionScript, which is an embedded scripting language. ActionScript has a  capacity similar to that of JavaScript. Both are object-oriented languages.

If you’re using Adobe Creative Suite 4, Adobe Flash Player works seamlessly with this suite. You can better design and develop workflow, as well as collaborating with your colleagues. You can use the Adobe Pixel Bender feature to customize filters, effects, and blend modes.

Now we’ve come to one of the best parts of Adobe Flash Player 10: it’s free. You can go to Adobe’s website and download it. As previously stated, Adobe Flash Player 10 works with multiple operating systems, such as Mac OS X, Windows (2000 or higher), Solaris, and Linux. It also supports Ubuntu 7 and 8.

Adobe Flash Player has versions that will work with other applications that are being developed for mobile devices. These versions will work with operating systems such as Palm OS and Symbian OS. Other companies use Adobe Flash Player in their systems. For example, you can find Adobe Flash Player, which is version 6, in Sony’s PlayStation Portable’s web browser through firmware version 2.70. Adobe Flash Player 9 can also be found in the PlayStation’s web browser. Meanwhile, Nintendo has incorporated Adobe Flash Player 7 into the Wii in the Internet Channel.

Improve Indexing Dynamic Content

As previously stated, Adobe Flash Player is getting tremendous support from Google and Yahoo! No doubt, Adobe Flash Player will help to better index RIA (rich Internet applications) and dynamic Web content for these search engines, including both Shockwave Flash (SWF) and Flash file formats. Through this partnership, developers will be able to search pre-existing Flash-based RIAs. Now that Adobe Flash Player has SEO capabilities, you will definitely want to consider using Adobe Flash for creating websites.

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