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SWF showing in search engine results

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Emily Andreas Moynihan
SWF showing in search engine results
on Feb 5, 2013 at 10:33:07 pm

I have a couple sites that are created all in Flash (though I use an HTML index file to call them up). I understand that google etc. can now read text in Flash files, and so I've tried to add keywords throughout. However, when I do a search, it is often the SWF file that comes up in the results rather than the index file. I don't want this to happen. Is there a way to get it to pull up the index file instead? I've looked into "hiding" my text in the HTML file, but it seems that the search engines often exclude sites with hidden text from their searches all together. I would greatly appreciate any ideas. Thanks!


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Sam Mattern
Re: SWF showing in search engine results
on Feb 6, 2013 at 2:04:45 pm

How are you embedding the SWF? If you are using SWFObject, then you'll have a div to failover to (hint, where the "Flash is required to view this content" blurb is). There you could probably put a keyword-rich description and a picture of the flash document, which also can contain a keyword-rich description "in case the picture doesn't load." Also make sure that you make your page title descriptive to help with SEO indexing. If that works, you'd probably want to tell Google not to index your SWF's via robots.txt.

You could take it a step further and have a different html page for each page in your SWF. You can tell your SWF what page/frame to load via flashvars or have the SWF detect the last part of the URL by detecting the full URL and creating a substring based off the last index of "/". It would be something like (where url is your URL string):
url.substring(url.lastIndexOf( ("/" + 1) ))This would allow you add keyword rich content via the method above for each page.

The Google/Flash indexing debacle has a long and heated past. I followed it for a long time and basically gave up on them ever arriving at a true workable solution that is as effective as SEO for a traditional website. That is why time and time again you'll hear people say to create the website in HTML and Flash so that it'll "degrade gracefully" and give you all of the SEO benefits. It's not what any of us Flash programmers want to hear, I know.

If you find a more effective solution, please let me know. I long for the day that I might be able to create fully-flash websites again. I don't see it happening, though, unless Apple and other mobile manufacturers decide to support flash. But with all of those free flash games out there they never will because it'll hurt their app sales.



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