The End of SWF-SEO nightmare? Google indexing SWF with Adobe SDK?

By | January 21, 2008

I came across this news from the Los Angeles Flex Users Group, then I followed to the new O’Reilly website on RIA: “Inside RIA” to finally end up on John Dowdell’s blog.
As it is the first time I disagree with John, and my answer started to be long, I preferred to import it here directly:

IMHO, Google indexing SWF text would be in fact a great news. I already saw some SWF content indexed by Google SE (mostly it was from static Flash Paper SWF).

The fact that we don’t promote our site only by pushing a keyword is obvious, but denigrating the absolute needs for SWF to be readable from SE is somewhat very strange.

As John said optimizing HTML, links inbounds and Metadata (not sure Metadata are still of any needs from Google) are important but where do you make the difference between HTML and SWF (from a not technical point of view)?
The major problem with SWF is mostly that they are providing dynamic content. The second major problem would be that the text can be converted to vector (so very hard to understand by computer, just see how captcha works…).

Those two problems take apart, why couldn’t we tag our SWF text with HTML tags? Can’t I tell to Google that this part of text is a H1 title or any HTML tag available? Or at least couldn’t I just be knowing how will Search Engines index my content?
A long time ago, I used the text under SWF layer solution to help increase the readability of important content to Search Engines, based on the already known behavior of search engines with HTML.

The sentence that made me jump down my chair was: “it’s hard to see how it would matter much“.
Well, for me just knowing that Google is interested in understanding SWF content is a great news! And I really hope that Matt info was solid :=)


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6 thoughts on “The End of SWF-SEO nightmare? Google indexing SWF with Adobe SDK?

  1. John Dowdell

    The quote “it’s hard to see how it would matter much” was in reference to whether Google actually switched to the old Macromedia SDK, or whether they continued to read text in SWFs through their own algorithms, as they’ve done for the last five years or so.


  2. Ahmet

    Sure but it’s not my point, is their a better solution offered by Adobe yet? Are you working on a new solution maybe?

    Any news? :=)

  3. Jensa

    Hi Ahmet,
    “The major problem with SWF is mostly that they are providing dynamic content” – keep in mind that for you and me this may be true, but there’s a bunch of Flash users that actually use the text tool to “hardcode” text into the SWFs 🙂

  4. John Dowdell

    If you’re asking if Adobe can help Google and other search engines index into databases, then I’m not sure how… I’d be happy if I could see a way to help them *not* list obvious spamblogs, and to remove stores from searches on demand.

    (Well, I see ways to do so, of course, but getting them to implement such easy improvements to “organizing the world’s information” seems to be beyond my abilities of persuasion. I don’t dare wish for them to search for words in the world’s databases, because that has actual difficulties.)

  5. Ahmet

    I see your point John,

    sure you see mine as a Flash Lover, it would be so much easy to promote Flash / Flex with indexing capabilities 🙂

    Guess we will have to put together a lot of solution existing on the web to create the solution.