Optimizing your website for the search engines can help you get more traffic and, eventually, more sales. That’s why it’s so important to avoid certain website pitfalls. For instance, it’s a bad idea to use images for your critical site content. The search engines just can’t "see" content that’s in graphic form.

A close cousin to that potential SEO disaster is using Flash to design your website. If your designer or Web development firm suggests a cool Flash design, resist the temptation and say no.

This always makes my designer friends grumble, because they love to have the freedom to make a really cool Flash site. And I don’t blame them. But, alas, just like images, search engines can’t see content that is programmed in Flash.
 
Now, as I write this, news has come out that Google and Yahoo are working closely with the makers of the Flash program to rectify this issue. The two search giants are now able to crawl some Flash content. While this is exciting news, there are still limitations. Not all search engines are involved in this new development, and not all content contained within a Flash application can be crawled. To be on the safe side for now, you should still stay away from Flash.

Recently, I was asked to make a few suggestions on how to improve the SEO of a friend’s website. As soon as I saw that the site was designed exclusively in Flash, I knew the only piece of advice worth giving them: Redesign.

What should you do if you have a Flash site? Well, like I said to my friend, I recommend a redesign. If you are dead set on implementing Flash on your site, use it in non-critical areas only. Use HTML for your navigation and content and reserve the Flash for special areas where you would normally have images.

[Ed. Note: With expert advice from people like Search Engine Marketing Specialist Alexis Siemon, you can cut the time it takes your business to succeed in half. Get the insider secrets into starting and growing your own Internet business right here.]

After graduating from Florida State University in 1997, Alexis got started in the golden age of the Internet marketing industry working agency-side where she performed everything from search engine optimization (SEO) to web analytics to media buying for several clients. She then took her expertise client-side managing SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) efforts, as well as other print and interactive marketing initiatives for companies in the financial and software industries.