Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flash Search Engine Optimization tricks

I just finished speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin on the topic "Search Engines and Flash: Secrets, Tricks, and Black Magic"

Adobe Flash (*.swf) is a binary format and has not always been accessible to search engine spiders (small bits of code that algorithmically determine a page’s content for rankings in search engines). SEO experts have developed several key workarounds and new technical developments have made new functionality available to search engines and developers alike.

During this talk, I showcased some advanced tips, tricks (Black Magic) and some of the secrets I have used to get sites ranked over their HTML counterparts. Attendees will learn how to increase initial page rankings as well as monitor and increase dynamic page ranks. Sites like Sombrio come up #1 out of over four million and are 95% flash.

So how does it work? The slides have some tips but the real work will be revealed when the research project findings are announced at MAX in Milan this Dec 2008.

The slide deck discusses a number of great strategies including using XHTML as an XML data provider for data grids (this way allows use of the semantics of the title and h1 tags while offering your Flash content in plain text for bots to digest).

Remember - Adobe MAX 2008, Dec 3 is when the results will be shared. At that event, we will distribute all the finding for anyone to analyze! Be there!

Oh - one more thing. Do not do evil things to get to the top of Google. There is a system and a set of rules. You do not have to abuse the rules to win. Trying to get high rankings for terms your site is not relevant for serves no one, yourself included.


  1. THis was by far the best SEO talk I have ever seen in my life. If gave me huge perspective on the issue. I am also thankful you shared your slides and knowledge free-o-charge. I cannot wait to see the research results Dec 3 in Milan.

  2. Good information, there is already research available on how Google handles Flash.

  3. 1.) It's PageRank not page rank.
    2.) Google supports SWFObject.
    3.) Googlebot ignores pound signs.
    4.) Google doesn't use meta keywords for ranking.

  4. Yes - the beu research was very well done. There are questions beyond this however which are the focus I am looking at. Does HTML or SWF content score higher for page rank (note: when I way "page rank" this is different from "PageRank", the latter being Google's proprietary score, the former the generic term).

    Google has in fact supported the SWF object for a number of years as evidenced in the advanced search (type:swf). This is not the same as complete indexing of all content from SWF and does not answer the question of how SWF text will compare to HTML text in absence of outside influences.

    There is still contention over google's use of meta keywords. I tend to agree that they are not used but I have heard others makes claims to the contrary, backed up by evidence. In either case, it is not that important as this only counts for initial page rank, not the dynamic rank you eventually achieve.

  5. Hey thanks for this great post. I've learnt alot from it. I'm thinking of getting search engine optimization service for my own website. Do you advise that I employ a specialized seo company or do it myself?

  6. Savant:

    I recommend you use the service you hyperlinked in your comment. After all, the people who work for that company are smart enough to know that creating a hyperlink from this page to their page helps increase their relevance for the term "Search Engine Optimization tricks".


  7. Duane, do you have an audio recording of this talk? If not, would you want to give the talk to Nashville area developers? I manage the Nashville CF user group and am friends with the manager of the Nashville Flex user group. Your Flash/SEO talk would be awesome!! Holla at me.

  8. I'll check with the Web 2.0 staff and see. I think they may have recorded it. If not, Maybe I can make a virtual one when I get some time.


  9. great info about seo
    that's very useful


Do not spam this blog! Google and Yahoo DO NOT follow comment links for SEO. If you post an unrelated link advertising a company or service, you will be reported immediately for spam and your link deleted within 30 minutes. If you want to sponsor a post, please let us know by reaching out to duane dot nickull at gmail dot com.