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Will an all Flash site allow proper SEO?

Jeremy Daley
Jeremy Daley asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-19
our company has a great design concept for an all flash website. i am worried what kind of problems we will face when search engines need to crawl our content.

what is a recommended method for going about this?

we would like to NOT have to develop an HTML version of each subcategory.

all subcategories will exist within the same flash movie on the same index (landing) page. the index page will never reload unless the user manually refreshes.

is there any way to have each subcategory's content exist for web crawling (perhaps within a site map) but have that page redirect to the index page (and most likely pass a flashvars to jump to a specific frame in the flash)?

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Top Expert 2004
If you have an all flash website, there isn't really any content for the search engines to crawl, so your SEO options are limited.  This doesn't mean you can't do anything.  Make sure you select appropriate titles for your pages - this is an important SEO factor.

And understand that you will be depending even more heavily than most people on your incoming links.  Incoming links are probably the most important factor in search engine rankings, so engage in an active, ongoing link-building campaign using keyword-appropriate anchor text.

Another consideration is your site's navigation structure.  A good html site map and use of Google Sitemaps is a must in this case.  Remember that search engines move from page to page via text links.  The major search engines do try to extract links from your flash content and are getting better at it, but still have limited success.

"is there any way to have each subcategory's content exist for web crawling (perhaps within a site map) but have that page redirect to the index page (and most likely pass a flashvars to jump to a specific frame in the flash)?"

This sort of redirecting would likely result in penalties.

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If you're still in the design phase, please don't create an all-Flash site. They're really not as fun to browse as they must seem on paper, and not everyone has Flash installed.

Plus, humeniuk is right. Text content is seriously important to engines like Google. Without body text, you'll suffer in the rankings, and if you use AdWords to promote your pages you'll be paying higher than competitors because Google will very likely assign a low quality score to your landing pages.
Top Expert 2004

Good point, HackneyCab.  I missed the fact that this was a planned site rather than an actual site.  SEO Rule #1 for making a flash site is ... Don't make a flash site.  Otherwise, you'll always be playing catch up.

Also, having "a great design concept" is simply not enough reason to make one.  Ask yourself this - why are customers going to visit your site?  For information on your company and products or to admire your great design concept.  Serve the needs of your customers first (including the need to be able to find you on the search engines).  Substance first, style second.
Well thank you, humeniuk. (I feel like a news anchor again.)

daleyjem, Flash sites really do leave visitors wondering where all the information went. If your Flash site does include a lot of textual information (which is what the customer is looking for most of the time), you're better off putting that content in HTML markup and then adding Flash as a header to the markup. Mix style with substance. Using Flash for presentation of real content or for navigation is best avoided.
You could also do a partially flash, partially html page like, for instance www.adobe.com. Then you can place your html code at the top, place the flash to the bottom of the code, and use absolute positioning to place your flash at the top of your page.

Then you have html code for the SE robots and your flash is last in your code so it doesn't matter as much.

You at least want a non-flash menu and some content. If your goal is to spend money on SEO for the site, you're going to spend a lot of money making up for having a non-flash site.

Personally, I think you can make a partially flash page (like www.adobe.com) that is just as nice as a full flash page (which may turn some people off anyway).

Jeremy DaleySenior Developer


these are very good answers and i am awaiting feedback from my colleagues on an answer.

i will certainly keep you updated.
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