When it comes to search engine optimization, having flash website, it is quite difficult to optimize and have certain limitation on the implementation of certain SEO factors compare to websites without flash. Most of the web analytic tools also track visits based on event generated by visitors. With Flash websites, advance analytic custom setup is required to track visitors’ activities accurately.
Integrating flash is a great way to present certain animation or movie which actually tells the story to your visitors. Flash sites are visually more appealing compare to sites without flash. For bigger brands and in certain industries, it is important to integrate flash for impressive brand presentation that impresses visitors and helps in creating a positive reputation of the business.
Difficulties Against Flash Websites
Not All Search Engines Can Crawl The Content in Flash
As per latest Google updates, it has improved its ability to crawl and index the content embedded inside flash, still you need to make sure that it can index your content properly. You also need to check for other search engines whether they can index content, and if not, you need to implement alternative way to do the same.
Flash Takes More Time to Load, Speed Is Also a Factor for Ranking
Due to the use of heavy multimedia files, flash requires more time to load compare to simple HTML. If you are integrating flash intro or having entire flash website, your website speed will be impacted and there is a possibility to lose potential customers due to low web page speed. Search engines also consider website speed as an important ranking factor.
Flash Accessibility Issues in Browsers and Mobile Devices
Most of the browsers support flash, hence if the latest version of plug-in is missing; visitors can’t able to view content of flash. In certain devices including all Apple devices, there is no support of flash. Now people like to use device like smart phones and tablet for quick internet access, you need to look out for alternative options to present content for mobile browsers and devices. Research also says that 80% of Smartphone and tablet users make online purchases from their device only; you may miss potential audience. Look for best practice and guideline in our previous post “Search Engine Optimization for Mobile Websites”.
Tracking With Google Analytic
As your customers are distributed among various browsers, mobile devices, laptops and smart phones, tracking flash sites became difficult and it may possible that your web analytic tool may miss to track an important segment of your visitors, very important for your business. If you are using Google analytic, the traditional analytic script is not sufficient to track events in flash, you need to modify your script to track the events accurately. One primary way to track a visitor’s behavior is by implementing fake page views or generating event. Learn tracking for flash at Google Analytic for Adobe Flash.
If you are presenting HTML web pages to search engine bots with more content on the pages than that of embedded in flash for better ranking, your website may provide a signal for cloaking as users see less content than that of present in alternative HTML pages. You should present same quantity of content to both search engine and visitors. Your website may face penalties if search engine bots will detect such kind of behavior.
Let’s have a quick look at all possible solutions to the above problems.
Best Practice for Flash Website Development and Optimization
For the search engines which aren’t able to crawl and index content in flash, use tools like SwfObject to extract content from flash and present same content integrated with HTML tags to both users and search engine. You can also use the Noscript tag to present flash content where there is no support for flash, hence it would not solve accessibility problems for visitors without flash support in browser.
Compress and optimize the images used for a flash presentation properly and discover the different ways to optimize the speed of different flash objects for a better user experience. Instead of developing an entire flash website, it is good practice to keep a certain portion in flash and the rest of the section in HTML where you can implement factors which are essential for search engine optimization.
Instead of using the latest version of flash which requires latest plug-in updates to be installed in the browser, use the older version which fulfills your requirements sufficiently.
If you are developing alternative HTML pages, make sure you integrate same structure and content in HTML pages that is present in Flash. Also test the content being presented with different browser and device combination, to ensure your website doesn’t provide any signal for cloaking.
It is always better to develop an individual mobile website or responsive design by keeping in mind mobile browsing environment for a better user experience. Developing a responsive website with HTML5 is a good option for delivering equal user experience to both mobile and desktop users.
Consider implementing important sections of your website like navigational menu, footer links, and page content in HTML rather than flash. If you have integrated menu in Flash, consider to provide alternate HTML navigation on the same page which is clearly visible.
Your SEO firm should take care of the above things if you have integrated flash in your website. Get a free consultation for SEO of your website by SEO professionals from KingsWebMedia.