SEO For Flash Websites-is It Possible?

By: Scott Lindsay

If there is one tool to create astonishing websites, that's Macromedia Flash. However, it is not that easy to learn and is difficult to use. But the results are incredible: web pages that mesmerize us with special effects, including image and sound, animations that make us feel like we are in a theatre, interactive applications and so much more.

Inexperienced online entrepreneurs ask web design companies to create Flash websites. Many of these firms are indeed able to design an amazing website, but how many are able to optimize its pages for the search engines? What about the other obvious difficulties: long loading time, firewalls that block Flash, lack of usability - and the statistics that show more than 80 percents of online users prefer non-flash sites? Considering that search engines cannot read Flash, what are the chances for such a website to be indexed anyway? Ergo what's the point in having an amazing website if it's difficult to use and no one can find it?

A well designed Flash website is beautiful, not so difficult to browse but very difficult to optimize for the search engines because it lacks scannable content. Fortunately, difficult is not synonymous with impossible.

To get higher rankings for a Flash website you should start with META tags and linking strategies.

Write proper META tags for the opening page: title, description, keywords. Use the most important keywords in the title tag and the description. That's all the on-page SEO you can do for a Flash site. It doesn't sound much, does it? It is not. Because many search engines disregard these tags and look for content. While visitors can read the content of a Flash site, for the search engine spiders it's a blank space. So the second thing to do to boost SERP for a Flash website is to build link popularity. To boost link popularity you need to link with websites that have a Page Rank 4 or higher. In time, this may bring the desired results. The importance of text links is, in this case, obvious. A text link is generally keyword rich, so search engines will know, by reading the link, what topic is treated on a website. Submit the website to directories and try to get one-way links by submitting articles and press releases.

Another method to boost SERP placements is the page re-direct. As META tag redirects are blacklisted, you might wonder what else is left. Well, Google allows redirects and using a 301-status code means that a site has been permanently moved. You could easily create a plain html page, respecting all the ethic SEO standards, and then redirect it to the Flash site. Avoid creating layers of text that should be delivered to the spiders instead of Flash. Although you do provide unique content, search engines might mistake the method for cloaking and ban your website.

That's all the SEO you can do for an entirely Flash website when you don't want to develop an HTML version.

Sites that are partially Flash and partially HTML have more chances to achieve high SERP placements, as they can be easily optimized.

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