Is Flash killing your SEO?

When looking to create visually stunning websites with the use of high percentages of on-site animation the first choice and the one that a lot of web design companies still use is Flash.

The first issue with Flash is that it is not SEO friendly, although we can now all give a big “whoop” that the Google’s bots now do index Flash and there are Flash developers all over the world who are now rejoicing that their content is SEO-friendly, it isn’t!

Flash content is fundamentally different from HTML on webpage URLs, and being able to parse links in the Flash code and text snippets does not make Flash search-engine friendly.

To explain this point In some more depth please refer to this bullet point list, as you can see its clear to see that Flash and SEO Is not a match made in heaven.

  1. The Terrible Breakdown of Text.   When using Flash, a lot of your text isn’t in a nice clean format,  for example it will not contain readable  <h1> or <p> tags, instead it is all jumbled up into half phrases for graphical animations and effects, There are even some effects that often require “breaking” words into multiple pieces, used to animate individual letters.  Mintcandy is pretty sure that Google is not smart enough to play Scrabble with Flash output, therefore it is not 100% readable.
  2. All Flash Gets Embedded.   Mostly all Flash content is only linked-to by other Flash elements and content, and everything is  all wrapped up inside shell Flash pages. This line of links, where no other internal or external URLs are referencing the interior content, means very low PageRank/link juice documents, or simply put, BAD SEO.
  3. Testing Crawlability – Submit and Hope.    Ask yourself a question, why is there no option to select “test my websites Flash file crawlability” in any of the webmaster tools within Google?. Nobody has any clue what level of technology Google has to crawl Flash websites, which means we are left In the dark wondering how Google will Parse your content.
  4. Say goodbye to external link juice.    As a very simple example, imagine you have created a new post about “Red Flowers” in HTML – people that enjoy that article would probably copy and paste it a few times, adding the content to their own pages with links back to the source. Now imagine this scenario in Flash,  which is almost impossible to copy and paste into other websites!
  5. SEO Basics have been forgotten.   The most simple and still most important building blocks of basic SEO are Anchor text, headlines, bold/strong text, img alt tags, and title tags. In Flash these are not simple elements to properly include.  

It has been an argument for a long while now, and simply put, SEO is ALL about content, its about giving the user and the search bots a searchable structured website that offers information clearly and concisely. Flash, whilst looking impressive does not offer a readable product for Search engines, the fact it can not be crawled or indexed correctly means it will have a negative effect on any SEO marketing strategies that you adopt.

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