Search Engine Optimisation: Why Not a Flash Website?
by: David Touri
Yeah why not! They look good and can be very creative with a lot of visual effects. But the truth is they are not very search engine friendly. For those who have just spent a lot of bucks on creating a flash masterpiece, no need to panic, there are a few ways to help improve your websites search engine visibility.
To give you a quick rundown as to why flash websites are not favoured by search engines, they are seen as a one page image file with no text based content. You will notice that when you navigate through a flash website, the URL address will always remain the same. So here you have a website with no text based content, is a one page image file and has no internal link structure, translating into a search engines enemy.
Unless you have an extremely popular name within your industry or have an enormous amount of relevant incoming links, then you will get away with having a flash website for the obvious keyword phrases i.e. company name. Who would fall into this category? An example would be Coca Cola, ever heard of them? So for those who fall into the other category, and that would be about 90% of us, fortunately there are alternatives to help boost your rankings.
There are three suitable methods that I would recommend. The first method is by far the easiest and cost efficient. It involves optimising your Title and Meta tags for the single page to the best of your ability and then including optimised text information beneath the flash image. Some may see this as a form of spam, but given the scenario, I would recommend this method provided that the text is written accordingly and avoids keyword stuffing.
The second method can be quite costly and might not be favoured given the fact that you have spent a lot of cash on your flash website. It involves developing a second site designed in HTML. When a visitor visits your site, they would be presented with two links, one to your flash site and one to your HTML site. That way search engine crawlers will access all the content and pages via the HTML website.
The third method is by far the most preferred. It works by developing an HTML website with your flash images embedded on the page, and all content is written in text based form. This allows you to have multiple HTML pages which will give you more Title and Meta tags to work with, as well as keyword rich content to write for each page.
To sum up, depending on your time and budget constraints, there are ways to help you avoid the search engine pitfalls of having a flash website. Any of the methods I have discussed, along with a strong incoming link structure, will help you get that extra exposure in the search engines. If are thinking of designing a flash website, make sure you look at implementing a search engine friendly strategy to avoid complications in the future.
About The Author
David Touri works for SEO Sydney, the SEO Consultants. He has worked on various projects and offers search engine optimisation in Australia, http://www.seosydney.com.au.