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Flash-ers On: Search Engines Can’t Read Flash Text to Rank the Web Page

You’ve started you new biz, you’re polishing your new biz certificate and domain name, and now its time to make a web page. So many options – Fancy Flash animations, music, and things that jump, or something static, with less pizzazz?

Well, beware of Flash web pages, because search engines cannot analyze the text on each page of your site. That means it can only read the pages’ titles, and rank them from those. The main emphasis lately in search engine optimization has been on page content, or what each page actually says, and less on the (meta) keywords and descriptions, which can be put in by unscrupulous web people to say one thing, when the page content is about something else. Page content includes a web page’s titles, header text, and body text (we’re talking about live text, not a JPEG picture of your text).

Some people try to compensate by placing a Flash file into an HTML page, and put the same live text that’s seen on that page in the same color as the background. (I don’t know if search engines have clued into this trick. They keep SEO rules fairly hush-hush so its harder to trick them.) But this is a very messy business, and ill-advised. And this only works for the pages where there is one HTML web page for each Flash file. Some sites have one main HTML page (a home page, for instance), and from there the user can navigate to 30 more Flash pages from that same HTML web page container. This scenario is easy to upload for the user, but terrible for search engines trying to figure out what your website contains.

And when a user bookmarks the 15th page into a Flash web page, their bookmark is only for the “container” HTML page. When the visitor returns to the bookmark, they might get only the home page, or whatever HTML “container” holds those Flash files.

So when you’re reaching for the best tool box, it just might be that old hammer (HTML) that works better with SEOs rather than the shiny Flash tool kit. (You could still use Flash or other media files in sections of your website, instead of the whole web page or site.) Your business website will be ranked closer to your true message, and receive traffic from more relevant searches. Your business website will thank you for it!

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