Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Adobe, Google, and Yahoo Working To Make Flash Search Engine Friendly

Adobe made an announcement that it will team up with Google and Yahoo as well as other search providers to create advances and technology that will make Flash content more search friendly on the web. The release says they are working with Google and Yahoo, but it is sketchy on the details of exactly how it will do this. While I applaud all companies involved for attempting to collaborate and advance the end user experience I believe this will not be the panacea for Flash and SEO that everyone has been hoping for.

First, one of the greatest secrets in the world next to what really goes on Area 51 is how, exactly, Google indexes and ranks its search results. Google keeps this secrecy on purpose because it doesn't want people like me to manipulate its results. Fair enough. However for true SEO improvement to take place I believe all companies involved will have to divulge a lot more secrets on how things work than anyone involved is actually willing to do. Second, indexing content that is Flash based video and audio will probably still be difficult if not impossible. With so much content now becoming audio and video this still leaves a gapping hole in the true indexing of Flash based content for the future. This will mean you will still need to create search friendly pages that show up well in the indexes to get the video and audio content on them to be used by visitors. Content is still no good if users can't find it.

About a year ago I published position paper on the weaknesses of Flash in building up the marketing effectiveness of business web sites. You can download and read that paper here. In this paper I discuss not only the search weaknesses of Flash content, but also many other issues that will not go away even if Flash content becomes 100% search friendly, which I don't believe it will. Certainly being SEO friendly will help, but it is not the silver bullet everyone is hoping it will be. I encourage everyone that reads this post to read the position paper and consider if you believe I am right or wrong.

Michael Temple