SEO Your Flash Site in 2 Steps

Learn how to optimize your Flash website in 2 quick steps. Flash is most troublesome for SEO, but these tips could allow for some level of success.

Flash-based websites can be the bane of any SEO’s existence. I’ve seen it a million times! Webmasters or site owners have come to me with a beautiful Flash-based website, but with one common problem. Their website can’t get any pages indexed!

The problem with Flash is that like images, it can’t be indexed by the search engines. So while you see a beautiful and user-friendly website, search engines see a giant blank spot where content should be. Kind of like a gravitational field with no planet in the middle of it!

Don’t get me wrong, search engines ARE actively working to make sure that Flash websites can have content that is scanned and indexed, but it hasn’t become widespread just yet! Here are some steps you can take to SEO your Flash site and circumvent the issues this medium presents.

#1. Create Good Homepage Title & META Tags

In order to have any impact whatsoever in the search engines, it is very important that you create a good page title, meta description, and good meta keywords for your site.

Remember, this isn’t like a normal site, so it won’t have individual stand-alone pages that can be indexed. This means that you won’t be able to add a unique title and meta tag for each of the site’s pages.

The title and meta tags that you create will have to be good enough for the whole site. So think hard on your keyword targeting and use here, as it will kind of be a one size fits all situation.

Do: Use the keywords that you wish to show up for, but think more general as these keywords will be covering for your whole site. You’re going to want keywords that describe your site best as a whole, and most importantly pull traffic!

Don’t: Spam keywords within your meta tags. Use these tags are spots to A) write a solid description of your website, and B) target a few of the select keywords you wish to be ranked for.

#2. Utilize NOSCRIPT Content

Depending on how well you utilize this tactic, it may be where you’ll be able to make the biggest impact within the search engines.

NOSCRIPT tags are basically used as text replacement for Flash or other Javascript elements in your browser. If you are looking at the site normally, you won’t be able to see them (Hint: view page source). Only if a visitor has Javascript turned off in their browser, will see the <noscript> text.

What Do <noscript> Tags Look Like?

Here is some sample <noscript> code:

<script language="javascript">
<!--Javascript stuff here-->
<!--Flash Object Here-->

<!--Here is the valuable content-->
<h1>Important Text Here</h1>

<p>Good description text here</p>

<h2>More Important Text</h2>

Also, here is a site that I’ve worked on in the past that were utilizing <noscript> content for Flash elements (view page to see it):

Isn’t this Cloaking? No. Think of <noscript> tags the same way that you think of an alt attribute for an image. The <noscript> text is not meant to replace to Flash piece, but only meant to supplement it for users who do not have Javascript enabled or who are unable to view the screen normally (and must view it through a screen-reader).

Do: Write solid content that targets your website’s most important keywords.

Do: Utilize an H1 tag as well as H2-H6 tags as these will place extra emphasis on the places within.

Don’t: Spam content here. Don’t write content here that is strictly targeted for the search engines. Mix in your keywords, but don’t go overboard. Think user experience here! A good rule of thumb to follow is, if you wouldn’t want your users to see it then it’s probably not well-structured.

All in all, sites that are entirely comprised of Flash aren’t likely to be very successful or flexible from an SEO perspective unless it’s a large brand with lots of resources to throw at site promotion and link building.

Photo Credit: Scott Stringham on Flickr

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