Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Can I optimise my Flash site?

Alan Webb of Abakus, a leading optimiser, speaking at the search engine strategies conference in Munich has described the latest attempts to optimise Flash sites.

In general. Flash remains very difficult to optimise for and the only answer relates to generating alternative HTML pages.

Google is currently the only search engine which is capable of following links which are within a flash navigation and Yahoo and MSN remain unable to follow these links. However. this only means that Google is able to get to the linked-to page - not that the link adds any real value.

The major search engines worked with Macromedia to try and get around the problem of indexing Flash pages by inventing SDK which is a system for extracting text from Flash files - the problem with the system is that it doesn't format the text in any way and this still has to be done by hand - so in effect it doesn't help the situation. It is just as easy to create fresh HTML pages from the original content drafts.

There are various tricks to optimise Flash - but they all risk being penalised and - anyway - they just create HTML content and remove it from the user's view. It is therefore safer and just as effective to create alternative HTML which the user can also see.

Alan finished his talk by saying do you really need the flash? What about an animated Gif?

Andy Atkins-Krüger
Managing Director
Web Certain Europe Ltd
t: + 44 1904 425577

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