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Search engines not finding home pages containing Flash animations

Posted on 2007-04-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-08
Do search engines like Google have a problem with a website whose home page is running a Flash animation? If so, what can be done to a page to rectify this problem?
Question by:timonline
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 18849065
As far as i know, yes, search engines have issues indexing flash sites. Your best bet would be to use the meta tag in html to store search data.

This page can help:

LVL 12

Assisted Solution

pigmentarts earned 300 total points
ID: 18849432
Although there is evidence to suggest that Google can actually read flash now (just do a search in Google) I personally would not build a site in flash because Google does struggle with it.

Yes maybe have a flash element on your site, but never rely on flash for navigation or to display important text and keywords!


Assisted Solution

psyki_be earned 300 total points
ID: 18849448
don't overreact now.

Flash is an amazing technology, which can do way more than just show some banners.
It's a perfect platform for rich internet applications, or websites.
Yes, the Search Engine problem is a major issue, but imo, that's nothing compared to all the advantages.

It's pretty much the only solution for animated websites(Yes, there is javascript, which is way slower and has less possibilities) websites.

Things like portfolio's, or large promotional websites are very often made in Flash.
And with Flex, there are gonna be more and more.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 18849819
psyki_be, i know been playing with Flex for a little while now its ace, i code in cf and a guy here set me onto it.

looks good but if you want a site to be ranked well, then at the moment Flash, Flex is not the way to go.

i do use elements such as flash forms to do some nice stuff but leave the important content as normal text that Goolge can pick up. i am not saying that flash means you dont rank well as some sites do very well, and i can bet in a few years SEO for flash and flex will be a new section on here, but now, no.
LVL 37

Assisted Solution

CyanBlue earned 300 total points
ID: 18850393
It all boils down to what sort of content you are displaying...  If you have some of those that psyki_be mentioned, you are better of with the Flash as long as what you have in there are also Flash...  But if you created the portfolio site where you want somebody else to search for it, you've got to either create a HTML site or create a HTML relevant code just for the spiders...

The bottom line is that Flash can be an eye candy for some of the people who just want to add some 'cool(?)' effect on the site and they are better off with the HTML site which is the best food spider loves...  
If you want to show off what you can do with the Flash itself, you probably don't really care about the search engine anyways...

The sad thing is that Google is the only one that is trying to implement the search capability on the SWFs on the web...  I guess other search engines just don't care much about it...  :(

So...  What's the question???  Oh...  Yeah...  I'd say create an HTML alternative just for the spider...  Better yet, create the regular HTML version as well for those poor souls who does not have FP on their computers...  That's my 2 cents...

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 18850538
100 % what CyanBlue stated!

Author Comment

ID: 18867726
Tks for all the advice...
My understanding then is that it's OK to have a Flash sequence (for visual purposes) on a website, even the home page, provided it is not being relied on for search engine indexing? If I continue to use the <title> and <meta> tags, plus text content within HTML, I shouldn't encounter any trouble, search-engine-wise, from the existence of a Flash sequence?
LVL 37

Expert Comment

ID: 18868152
If it is the HTML/Flash hybrid site, yes...

But if it is a full Flash site where you are basically depending on only those TITLE/META tag, then you probably won't get much cuz there is so much you can get out of that...  But I think you are talking about the hybrid site, so...   :)


Expert Comment

ID: 18872924
The latest search engines completely ignore meta tags, due to abuse.
The best way to get high ranked???
Get linked a lot, get lots of visitors, get other webmasters to love your website (so they link you)
And yes,  pure flash webpage is a huge disadvantage for Search engines.

But for lots of websites, that doesn't matter all that much.
I mean, higher ranks are always good, but .. yeah.

If your website is really good, and adds something to the internet, it'll get ranked automatically :)

I don't know of any specific ways to optimise flash for being readable by google. I guess only google knows how they index. And that's probably for the best, because it'll be abused immediatley as soon as they find out.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 18874988
yes meta tags by Google are ignore, and links to your site help will helps PR (page rank), but do this slowly not quick, or that could harm you. PR does not mean that your site will do any better for you keywords!

you need to look at latent semantic indexing how words on you page relate to your content to do well in the search engine rankings. you need lots of info pages on your subject and update often.

Flash, the search engines don't yet understand i, use it but not for nav or text. here is a good read on SEO for flash, stick to the above and follow the guides in the link if you use flash.

do forget they are lot of top flash sites in Googles and its getting better! just look at

Accepted Solution

GuitarFingers earned 600 total points
ID: 21021653

I am always amazed at how misunderstood these topics are.

You state that you are having problems with sites that have the "home page" made in Flash. Are you suggesting the rest of the site is not? If so simply include html links in the home pages that lead back to the secondary pages which are not.

The problem with Flash is that Google and others cannot parse/see the content within the Flash file. Nor can they follow the links within to internal pages. If your other pages have actual static content on them then you will be fine. You just need to create the path back to it that can be followed.

Now........ that said, how well you rank for searches that are based on criteria matching your objective is going to be soley based upon how well your content conveys relevance for the same to the search engines. Meta tags for title and description play a role whose weight varies by search engine, but that role varies from some to none. Keywords from minute to none.

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