Saturday, October 25, 2008

Flash SEO Research: Google DOES use Ichabod to index Flash

For Flash Search Engine Optimization fans, this will be very interesting!

The first part of my research project into how Google and Yahoo use Ichabod to index flash is complete. OK. Before you get all excited about what you see above, let me give you the caveat that results may vary slightly on your browser, however they should generally be the same. The Google search for duanes world was done on a machine in Vancouver, Canada (Google provides some regional variances for search results). For the search "Duanes world", the site beat out The latter has a huge text "Duane's World" across the top while the former is built completely in flash. Even more spectacular is the fact that the Duane's World episodes are in fact dynamically loaded at runtime by the flash page template.

There are factors that influence this so it is not a pure experiment. External links to these pages and user click patterns obviously are factors in this elevation. What is important is to see the patterns of Google and Yahoo actually picking up text from Flash.

UPDATE: Ignore the following section on Pixton. I made a really dumb mistake and Google was in fact indexing the alt text to a jpg rather than actually reading SWF content.


Another experiment shows that this is in fact happening now. Look down the search page a bit further and you will see a link to a flash comic strip at as shown below:

Read the synopsis words very carefully, then go to the link and you will note that Google has in fact read static text from the flash comic strip at

****************************END IGNORE*******************************

For Flash Search Engine Optimization, there are other studies I am doing which will be released live at the MAX 2008 show in Milan Italy.


  1. No "Duanes world" in the serp
    "Online video resource for expert instruction and inspiration about Adobe products."

    No "duanes world" content at

    No swf at what you see is from the jpg image ALT text and div.

  2. I stand corrected on Pixton. You are quite correct. (Sigh) I guess I wanted it to happen too bad. It appears to be nothing more than loading the alt text based on JPG's.
    I should have checked the source.


    Strangely, did not even show up in the top 30 results today for Duane's World. That one I had checked and had found no alt text or any text (view source and do a control/command F and type in Duane). The Duanes World content it finds at Adobe TV seems to be genuinely generated from indexing the flash content from what I can see.

  3. Hey Duane,

    Hope all is well and just wanted to see if the results from your Flash/SEO research were available?

    "For Flash Search Engine Optimization, there are other studies I am doing which will be released live at the MAX 2008 show in Milan Italy."

    "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!"

    Sorry if I've missed them and thanks for your time.


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