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Monday, July 7, 2008

Google Can Now Search the Unsearchable: Flash Files!

Posted by @ 12:28 am
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Adobe has just made it easier for Google and Yahoo! to uncover Web content that was previously “invisible” to Web searches.

With technology provided to them by Adobe, Google & Yahoo! will be able to better index dynamic Web content and rich Internet applications including Flash files.

Currently, search engines index text and links with Flash files, but up until now rich Internet applications and dynamic Web content have been elusive to search engines.

Google has already got the ball rolling with this news by announcing that they have launched a new Flash indexing algorithm which will index content from Flash menus, buttons, banners and entire Flash sites.

In a statement from Google:


Now that we’ve launched our Flash indexing algorithm, web designers can expect improved visibility of their published Flash content, and you can expect to see better search results and snippets.

So what does this mean for website owners? Google have answered a few key questions below:

Q: Which Flash files can Google better index now?
We’ve improved our ability to index textual content in SWF files of all kinds. This includes Flash “gadgets” such as buttons or menus, self-contained Flash websites, and everything in between.

Q: What content can Google better index from these Flash files?
All of the text that users can see as they interact with your Flash file. If your website contains Flash, the textual content in your Flash files can be used when Google generates a snippet for your website. Also, the words that appear in your Flash files can be used to match query terms in Google searches.

Q: What are the current technical limitations of Google’s ability to index Flash?
There are three main limitations at present, and we are already working on resolving them:

1. Googlebot does not execute some types of JavaScript. So if your web page loads a Flash file via JavaScript, Google may not be aware of that Flash file, in which case it will not be indexed.

2. We currently do not attach content from external resources that are loaded by your Flash files. If your Flash file loads an HTML file, an XML file, another SWF file, etc., Google will separately index that resource, but it will not yet be considered to be part of the content in your Flash file.

3. While we are able to index Flash in almost all of the languages found on the web, currently there are difficulties with Flash content written in bidirectional languages. Until this is fixed, we will be unable to index Hebrew language or Arabic language content from Flash files.

Q: What do I need to do to get Google to index the text in my Flash files?
Basically, you don’t need to do anything. The improvements that we have made do not require any special action on the part of web designers or webmasters. If you have Flash content on your website, we will automatically begin to index it, up to the limits of our current technical ability (see next question).

That said, you should be aware that Google is now able to see the text that appears to visitors of your website. If you prefer Google to ignore your less informative content, such as a “copyright” or “loading” message, consider replacing the text within an image, which will make it effectively invisible to us.

This is certainly a great initiative from Google with the help of Adobe and here’s hoping that Yahoo! isnt too far behind also.



Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile






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