You Flashed My Google – Google Flash Indexing

by keif on February 12, 2009

You Flashed My Google

You Flashed My Google

So Mark Scholl pulled up this nugget of a gem from an October post from Brian Ussery announcing their intent to start indexing flash.

I recall reading this in October, and quite a few people were excited about this – it means the old argument that “Flash isn’t SEO friendly” would boil down to “if you’re a good Flash developer, your stuff will get indexed because you wrote it properly.”

What’s interesting, is the article dives into the fact that the SWF/Flash files will carry their own rage rank – and as such, if you reuse the same SWF on more than one page, keyword thinning can occur (you’re using duplicate content).

So – it’s been a few months, I was curious just *what* was being pulled in by google in terms of flash content, and what was being shown. I used a simple google query that it seems most people have forgotten about.

Custom Google Search – FileType

search: filetype:swf

search: filetype:swf

It’s that easy. Run this with some search terms and see if your site’s flash is being indexed like you hoped it would.

Of course, I felt like playing around and seeing what’s happening in the wide world of flash…

How’s my Flash being indexed?

I ran a couple searches against some sites to see how they were being indexed:

Query: filetype:swf – What’s interesting is their flash is being indexed (I’m assuming) properly. The descriptions make sense, until you hit number 8 that says “PLAY AGAIN. PLAY AGAIN. 0%”

Query: filetype:swf loading – I did this out of curiousity – much like how it’s been stated that “click here” is the worst possible wording for a link – over three million results for swf’s that say “loading!” Semi-interesting: The number one link is a flash USA Map Test.

Query: filetype:swf and filetype:swf – I figured I would have to do a couple band sites, as bands and labels were usually the number one commiters of flash atrocities. These two were high ranking when I searched for “band sites flash” (simple, yet effective). Kanye? Three links. REM? Four pages, all with some pretty good descriptions.

Query: filetype:swf – As I recently moaned about the fact that so many car sites rely too heavilly on flash (mainly because I couldn’t hit their sites on my iPhone). All those listings in flash, none of it being indexed. I settled on Rousch from a search for “used cars columbus“.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

So – we see some areas of needed improvement. SEO for Flash is something that I feel needs to be addressed more often (by designers and developers!) and it’s something our SEO people need to keep in mind and discuss (I’m looking at you, Mark Scholl and Jennifer Laycock!). As this is slowly moving from the “I wish flash was indexed” to “Oh shit, it’s indexed, but not how I want it!” the discussions need to ramp up and we need to start thinking about it.

Find anything interesting in your own google queries? Let us know!

  • Andrea Hill

    I wanted to comment on Ussery’s blog, but it requires registration, so I didn’t.

    Indexing flash is one of those “must-dos”, but people don’t tend to think about the next step. Ok, so the content in your Flash is indexed. How do you expect the search result to be? This is almost a deep-linking problem, and needs a lot of serious consideration. Sure, you may show up in serps, but if the result isn’t what the visitor wanted, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

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