Google Improves Indexing of Flash Content

Just catching up on my pile of RSS feeds after getting hitched and spotted an important item: Google has improved its ability to crawl Flash content.

Google has historically had trouble “seeing” any Flash content (.SWF files). This means anything you built in Flash was completely invisible to the search engine. However, Google is now able to crawl those Flash graphics to read text content. Be warned: This does not mean Flash web sites will be indexed like normal pages. Building pages in Flash, while pretty, is still a piss-poor search engine optimization strategy.

Here’s the nutshell on Google’s announcement:

-Google will only read the text in a Flash file. It cannot “see” any of the images in the Flash.

-Google will not index individual screens inside the Flash content. It will only index that main page.

-Google still has trouble with certain JavaScript.

-Google still doesn’t index .FLV (Flash video) files.

-If you’re using SWFObject to embed Flash, the Google spider won’t find it (Yet. They’re working on it).

-If your Flash file makes use of external items, such as XML files, Google may index those files.

For the nitty-gritty details, visit the announcement at the Google Webmaster Center Blog.

Author: Danny Sanchez

Danny Sanchez is the Audience Development Manager at Tribune's and Danny has been with Tribune since 2005 in a variety of editorial, digital and product development roles in Hartford, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. He has also previously worked in the newsrooms of the Tampa Bay Times and The Miami Herald.