SEO Don’t: Using Fancy Flash Designs for Your Site

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.]
  • Henry Kammerer

    I feel that the information here will help me in designing and checking out new web sites I am influenced on.

  • Hi, I’m looking around the web learning about Flash and SEO. And this post is just plain wrong.

    Using any library that allows alternate content under the flash, and deeplinks in the flash, will make the search engines crawl your alternate content, while still providing full page flash for your customers.

    This will enhance visitor experience, which leads to sales, while still providing a “standard html” page for search engines and visitors using phones or other browsers without javascript and/or flash.

    Why deny yourself something, when you can have the best of both worlds?

    Take a look at SWFAddress, it’s free and easy to implement and makes all this possible. And there are other free scripts as well that you can find all over the web.