SEO for Flash Websites
Does your website use Adobe Flash or is it built entirely in Flash? (Not sure? Visit your site and right click – is “About Adobe Flash Player” one of the menu options? You have a Flash site.)
Although it might *look* cool (especially for portfolio sites), Flash is not the best format for search engines to read (and thus get your site to rank higher). Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz gets into the details of why Flash and SEO don’t play well together in this post (a few years old but still relevant).
SEO isn’t the only problem for Flash, Flash sites often:
- have slower load times
- are incompatible with mobile or tablet devices
- crash (sad but true)
- ultimately see higher bounce rates (due to all of the above)
Should you have a Flash website? The answer: probably not.
It’s true that if you’re just building your site or are redesigning, I’d recommend avoiding Flash.
Still stuck on a Flash site? or just don’t have the budget for a full redesign right now? Here are a few ideas on how to get the most SEO compatibility out of them – some of which will probably still require some web guy/gal support:
(listed in order of money/time involved)
1 – Start putting money away for a non-Flash site redesign. Even if you have a portfolio site, there are a lot of visually engaging but still SEO-friendly formats available – like these WordPress themes.
2 – Split your site up into multiple Flash files and keep your site’s navigation in HTML. One of the problems with Flash sites is that your entire site (About Us, Services, Contact, etc.) is viewed on one page according to search engines – www.yourdomain.com (as opposed to yourdomain.com/about or /services). Splitting up your site lets Google index your site’s architecture (the layout/map of your site), giving it an idea of how important each page is.
3 – Build an identical (content-wise) site in HTML. This HTML version has to be the same content as your Flash site and not keyword or otherwise-stuffed – that would be seen as “black hat” and you could be penalized by Google. This version should also be served up anytime a visitor without Flash installed visits your site.
4 – Build a new site without Flash. HTML5 is slowly replacing Flash as a crawlable alternative but with the right web person, you can probably get a similar feel with CSS and other languages (or the right WordPress theme).
If all of your business comes from offline, word-of-mouth referrals and you have no interest in your site being anything more than a portfolio hub you send along to already-found prospects, by all means, keep your Flash site. However, if you plan on using your site as a means for online lead generation, you should make converting your site into something non-Flash an important item on your to-do list.
What about you? Do you have a Flash site? Have you been able to get a lot of your site seen by Google or other search engines? Did you find this useful? Let me know in the comments!
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