Jul 07

Flash indexing and SEO; Remember testing?

Adobe, Google, Tech with tags: , , 2 Comments »

Whenever you work on SEO for your Web site or application, what do you have to do? You have to test it. You have to make changes and watch what ends up in the index of search engines. Then you iterate on your task to get the correct and most relevant information in there.

Google announced that we now index SWF with a new algorithm, as does Yahoo!, in cooperation with Adobe.

The new SWF runner can “act like a human” and access elements and see what happens (e.g. click on a button). Immediately people worried that the tester could act like the Google Web Accelerator, and if you have a poorly designed application that had a [DELETE EVERYTHING] button it would get clicked and boom.

Aral Balkan asked if we are indexing too much and others went even further and randomly said don’t build your site in Flash.

The folks who came out saying that “now my internal files aren’t hidden!” are fooling themselves, as you can’t hide things via obscurity. To the real point though, if you are conservative you can use good ole robots.txt to disallow the search engine access to your SWF files.

Then, you can run some tests and see what happens. Just as everything else with SEO, you will need to play the game of seeing what happens as you make changes.

In the end, I want search engines to get a lot smarter at indexing this kind of content (ditto for rich Ajax applications) and we all need to work together to make that happen.