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Why Flash pages won't get high rankings on Search Engines ?

Some webmasters prefer to have a pure Flash website because they can look very impressive. Although Google or other search engines can index Flash content to some extend, it is very unlikely that a Flash page will get high rankings on Google.

What's the problem with Flash pages?

Flash content cannot be indexed by search engines. If your website is a pure Flash site, then you can be sure that search engines won't be able to see 95% of your website content.

Google has several official statements regarding Flash content:

  • "Search engines are text based. This means that in order to be crawled and indexed, your content needs to be in text format. [...] Any content you embed in these files should also be available in text format or it won't be accessible to search engines. [...]
  • We recommend that you use rich-media technologies like Flash primarily for decorative purposes, and instead use HTML for content and navigation."
  • "Make sure that your site has a reasonable, seamless experience for visitors without Flash.
  • This may involve creating HTML-only equivalents for your Flash-based content that will automatically be shown to visitors who can't view Flash."

Adding your content in the noscript tag won't help

Theoretically, adding your web page content in the noscript tag on your web pages should make sure that search engines get the right content. Unfortunately, Google's John Mueller indicates that this doesn't work anymore:

  • "One of the problems with noscript is - as others have mentioned - that it's been abused quite a bit by spammers, so search engines might treat it with some suspicion.
  • So if this is really important content, then I wouldn't rely on all search engines treating your noscript elements in the same way as normal, visible, static content on your pages. If this is 'just' for comments, then that might be worth considering."

What does this mean to your website

If you want to get a reasonable amount of visitors through search engines, don't use Flash and other multimedia elements for the main contents of your web pages:

  • Only use Flash for decorative purposes.
  • The navigation of your website should use regular HTML a href links. Do not use fancy JavaScript or Flash navigation menus. Most search engines cannot parse them.
  • The main content of your web pages should be available as simple text.

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