Google now indexing Flash ?
Google Now Indexing Flash Content
Every 6 months or so, we hear groundbreaking news about how new spider software is allowing Google to Index Flash text. I’m again hearing that this is again being touted, but the evidence doesn’t show that it’s the case.
Yes, Google can read and index flash content, but they still can’t index flash in a way that is beneficial to your optimisation efforts, so it’s unlikely that any flash sites or flash pages will grab number one positions for ANY search terms in the google index anytime soon.
Checking Flash Pages on Google
To see just how successful Google are at indexing flash movies, choose any keyterm and request the flash SWF filetype in a google search box, like this - “curtain rails” filetype:SWF
In the curtain rails example above, you’ll see it found 42 SWF files - not one of them features in the top 100 for curtain rails that I could find. On one of the pages that it has picked up the text correctly, www.nuvulus.com/flash/motor01.swf if we search for a fairly easy keyterm on the page, nuvulus motorised curtain rails, we find that there are 16 results and the page doesn’t feature until you draw in the results from what used to be called the Supplemental Index, (not sure what Google are calling it now). Why? because although Google can index flash content in some cases, it still randomly selects text from the page to use as a Title tag - which if you go back to the curtain rails results will let you see that they are not very good at recognising the best text to use: CANCEL Please fill the box with your e-mail address. OK PROMO NEWS … <p align=”left”><font face=”tahoma” size=”10″ color=”#333333 … The following pages detail some of our more popular designs … etc, etc.
Update 2nd January, 2009: Interesting to note, that although Google are not supposed to follow nofollow tags, the flash page featuring the term nuvulus motorised curtain rails, started to feature in the engines two days after this page, featuring their link was cached……
Flash is bad for Optimisation
Don’t use Flash if you want to feature on the front pages of the search engines for your search terms. Flash is a movie; an image, and no matter what Google claim to be able to read, Flash files are unlikely ever to reach the top of the search engines for competitive terms - or as we’ve seen with the nuvulus motorised curtain rail above, even terms that are simple to achieve. In fact, if I just write the word Nuvulus and mention curtain rails and motorised curtain rails, or motorized curtain rails, (to give it the American spelling), in this sentence, I’ll probably achieve a better ranking than the fully fashioned webpage all about the said curtain poles, sorry… rails. Ranked number 3 for the term in two and a half minutes.
If you must use flash, use it sparingly, because even if you use SWFobject or SIFR, it is still a bad idea if you want to rank on the search engines.
Ask yourself, what do you want a pretty website with all kinds of flashy images that nobody ever finds - or a site that makes money - it’s a fairly easy choice!