At long last, Google has announced that it can index Flash content.
Until now, websites built in Flash were notorious for being invisible to the search engines. Flash content was a “roadblock” – a big black hole that the search engine spiders couldn’t index.
All that is changing with Google’s new algorithm that finds textual content in your Flash SWF files. That means Google will be able to index textual content in your Flash files, as well as see and follow URLs and links.
And as a result Flash results will start to appear more commonly in the Google search engine results. In particular, the “snippets” of text that appear in the Google search results are likely to be more relevant and compelling.
Yahoo! will also be taking advantage of this new development, but poor Microsoft is once again Billy No Mates and hasn’t been let in on the indexing party. Silverlight, and all that….
In principle, existing Flash sites do not have to make any changes in order to start the indexing process. But with regards to search engine optimising your Flash files, Adobe’s press release says, “As with HTML content, best practices will emerge over time for creating SWF content that is more optimized for search engine rankings.”
Keep in mind that Google will not be able to index images in the Flash, nor text that is displayed as an image.
Read more in Vanessa Fox’s overview of this new Flash development.