Flash Intro Pages: Big SEO "No No"

Nov 20, 2007 • 7:23 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization
 

Do you want to make the most of your site's search engine visibility? Do you want to rank for your bread and butter keywords? Do you also love your Flash introduction page? Well, you would be kidding yourself if you want to have the best of both worlds.

A SitePoint Forums thread asks if a Flash intro page can hurt your rankings. 99% of the time, it can. Your homepage is often the most linked to page on your site. Since that page is most likely to have the most number of links, it is your best chance at ranking for your most competitive keywords. If you do not put those keywords on that page, within the body content area, than you have a poor shot at ranking for those keywords.

Flash is much like having a picture on your site. Search engines have a tough time reading pictures or trusting the alternative text within those pictures. The same applies to Flash, search engines have a tough time reading them. It may be possible to utilize a Z-Layer of content under the Flash object, if and only if that content represents what is exactly in your Flash intro.

But all in all, you do not want to use a completed, 100%, Flash intro for your site. What you do want to do, if you love Flash, is to use Flash elements within your pages, like in place of pictures and so forth.

Forum discussion at SitePoint Forums.

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Comments:

Jason T Chandler

11/20/2007 03:32 pm

The engines are crawling flash. As soon as they can control repeating text ... Flash will be totally indexable. I suggest that if you have flash...keep it. you paid for it. Just add a few sentences for your visitors and a link to your site map and you will be fine. Most times when you have a all flash homepage you can get great traffic fast with just a few links. best always, seharness

natasha robinson

11/20/2007 04:26 pm

Barry, I'm wit ya on everything but that alarmist intro there - lol. It's statements like that that get repeated by newbies who don't and yet understand that Flash, like every other barrier to indexing and ranking have a workarounds. And when these same people repeat it to their clients as an absolute who then take it back to their designers that we continue to have designers who cringe when the SEO comes in the room or who undermines the SEO once the SEO leaves the room. Of late I've really come to see that a designer can be an SEOs best ally and together both sides can work together to create beautiful, user friendly and search friendly sites. But writing intros like that won't help win over any designers.

Barry Schwartz

11/20/2007 04:29 pm

Natasha, Let me have some fun with my titles... :(

Natasha Robinson

11/20/2007 04:53 pm

LOL!!! Have ya fun.

Barry Schwartz

11/20/2007 07:29 pm

Jason, search engines have been saying that since 2001...

Scott Clark

11/20/2007 09:55 pm

So, I should get a group of Indian Flash developers and offer FREE knockout flash screens to competitors of my clients? @seharness - The problem is that people with flash screens FORGET to shore up the underlying indexable content. I've worked on DOZENS of sites with flash splash and the Flash developers have NEVER BOTHERED to create good underlying, indexable content. Beside the point: It RARELY has any real benefit to the business anyhow.

Michael Martinez

11/20/2007 11:20 pm

People in the SEO community need to come into the 21st Century and stop agonizing over splash pages.

Roland

11/21/2007 11:01 am

Ehrm... well who is agonizing? :-) SEO-People? I guess the customer with the pretty Flash intropage will be :-) It is an old rule - never "hide" ur content in a SWF...

Christopher Regan

11/21/2007 09:05 pm

For all the RIA's, such as Flex built stuff, or Applets, Activex, WPF, or even Java’s F3, there are work-arounds. Think back to the older days of Apache server-side includes and i-frames (let's not even discuss CFM).

Brent

11/27/2007 01:47 pm

I just researched some work arounds because we have a client that loves their Flash intro, but as a SEM I would have opted to not have it. We ended up adding some intro text and links to the main content pages and site map just below the flash on the page. You can read about some other types of work arounds for this at http://blog.smtusa.com/index.php/seo-for-flash-only-websites/

Tim

08/05/2008 06:04 pm

I couldn't agree more. I am in a situation similar to this. I think we have compromised on a flash slide show within the page.

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