Google + Flash: Indexing Text, Embedding, and More –…
Because we work with clients on optimizing largely- or all-Flash websites, we want to be sure that we fully understand what Google will and won’t index.
So, we formed online experiments, with the goal of answering five burning questions:
- Will Google index text content inside a Flash movie, even if you have to click within the Flash movie to see this content?
- If Google indexes text inside a Flash movie that’s embedded using SWFObject, will it also index the alternate HTML content to that movie?
- Will Google penalize a page if there isn’t an exact match between the text it finds in a Flash movie and the alternate HTML text?
- Do the meta tags within Flash (movie properties – title and description, as well as clip properties) factor into Google ranks?
Here are our answers:
1. Will Google index text content inside a Flash movie, even if you have to click within the Flash movie to see this content?
Answer: Yes. We created a Flash movie on Flash Indexing Test Page 2, which displays the word “dogcarpetnail” only after you click on the word “froglipz” in the Flash movie. After waiting several weeks, we searched on Google for the word “dogcarpetnail”, and this is the result we saw:
We can conclude that Google is able to emulate a clicking behavior within the Flash movie, read the text that follows, and factor that in its ranking algorithm. Notice how Google displays the word “dogcarpetnail” in its snippet description, which provides further evidence that it is able to see the text.
3. If Google indexes text inside a Flash movie that’s embedded using SWFObject, will it also index the alternate HTML content to that movie?
Answer: Yes. On Flash Indexing Test Page 2, we included HTML alternate content to display if the viewer was without Flash. This content can be seen in Google’s cache of the page, here:
We then tried searching for the word “yizzlewack” on Google, and this page shows up in the results, as seen here:
We can conclude that Google is using both the text within the Flash move and the HTML alternate text as ranking factors.
4. Will Google penalize a page if there isn’t an exact match between the text it finds in a Flash movie and the alternate HTML text?
Answer: We don’t think so – at least not automatically. Our pages seemed to do fine although there was no relation between the actual Flash text and the alternate HTML text. However, this would certainly qualify as spam if reviewed by a human being, and we expect that it would be penalized if the Google anti-spam team ever caught it.
5. Do the meta properties within Flash (movie properties – title and description, as well as image or clip properties) factor into Google ranks?
Answer: Not that we’ve found. We invented made-up words and put them into the Flash movie properties (title and description), the name and description of an image inside Flash, and the name and description of a movie object inside Flash, and none of these triggered any results in Google. We also tried made-up words as titles within the embedding code, and they also did not show up as results in Google. We think it’s reasonable to conclude that Google does not factor these terms into rankings.
The amazing thing about all of this experimentation is that it has had almost no effect on our Flash optimization best practices, which we’ve been following for well over a year! You can read more about how we recommend optimizing Flash in our article, Does Google Index Flash?
esta de google indexar flash é uma boa, porém o webmaster tem que saber como se faz e ter vontade de fazer
Great article and right to the point. I don’t know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thanks in advance 🙂
First I`d like to say how wonderful this page is and how helpful are the findings brought here. II`m sure all flash designers feel that that live in limbo concerning the exposure of their works to search engines.
i`d like to pose a little question that may help to sharpen the point that brought me here in the first place:
When talking of Goggle indexing the `alternate content` , suppose I have a `pure` flash page and my alternate content for it is standard html : Would you happen to know whether the alternate content would get practically the same level of attention and exposure as it would have gotten if otherwise this html page was `at the front` ? `Unmasked` (as if) by the main flash page ?
Many thanks in advance.