Search Engine Optimization and FlashI’m going to address the Flash issue since I’ve had quite a few questions on using Flash in building websites and its result on page ranking.

Many of you know of the current war between Apple (mainly Steve Jobs) and Adobe Flash. For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about in summary Apple has decided to not allow Flash to run on their handheld devices (mainly because this conflicted with their profits,  but they didn’t quite state it this way). Well I’m not going to site with Apple or Adobe, I’m just going to go over basic SEO and how Flash affects it.

What is flash?

Flash is a technology that allows inserting movie like content on your website, it can be interactive (allow you to click parts of it) and it looks nice; for this reason many website designer build large portion if not whole websites in flash.

The Problem with Flash

The problem with Flash is that it is one file that acts like a movie. You’ll probably say “movies are nice so how is that a bad thing?”

Well, let’s say we build one website page without Flash, we include some paragraphs of text, a few pictures, maybe even a small movie file. A search engine goes through our site and finds the text, our pictures, our movie file and indexes the whole thing. What just happened? We just gave that search engine many different things to index us under (and therefore later allow our customers to find us under).

Now let’s take a Flash file and do the same, basically create a movie that includes the pictures, the text and plays the video file. Since it’s a movie we can make it look even better, we can make the background move and give it all sorts of nice effects. A search engine goes through and finds … you guessed it, one movie. What it didn’t find is any reason to ever make your website show up to a potential customer.

Am I against Flash?

Not at all, if it’s used in moderation. The key question here is very simple and the answer to it is the answer to how much.

If you completely ignore whatever flash you have in any given page is the remaining content enough to give a search engine and a potential customer enough information to rank you well? If the answer is “yes” you should stand up and take a bow, since you are doing a good job.

But if the answer is “no” then …

I guess you now know what to do.