Create Effective Search Engine Optimization Using Flash, Yes, Flash

Frequently we come across blog postings, white papers, and articles in magazines regarding the use of Flash-based websites and its negative effect on search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Almost unanimously, many who claim to be experts condemn the use of Flash and label the technology as a "death wish" for those who wish to achieve high search engine rankings, especially on Google.com.

The Facts: Optimizing Flash is not easy, but far from impossible.

Flash is now a viable technology that helps create rich online experiences and, with common sense tactics, can be optimized to target search engine results. Innovation in Flash website development practices, combined with other development technologies (like JavaScript) can now help produce high Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings for Flash websites.

In July 2008, Google and Adobe (the developers of Flash) announced a joint-venture update to resolve the Flash/SEO issue. The introduction of Google’s Flash algorithm means most Flash sites are, by default, search engine-friendly, assuming your programmer is up to date on the latest techniques required to effectively optimize Flash.

Of course, some issues remain, but these are being addressed and industry-standard work-around solutions have been developed to make Flash a viable technology to use for websites. And with Google now capturing 64% of the search engine traffic, and providing reliable indexing of Flash sites with their new algorithm, Flash should be a major component in the technical palette of every web designer and programmer.

Still Not Convinced? More in-depth technical explanations of these techniques can be found online. There are many sources where more specifics can be provided on actual SEO for Flash tactics.

Here are some examples of Flash-based websites with effective SEO from the NDG Communications portfolio:

VillagesOfSteepleChase.com

This Flash-based website is optimized for several key phrases, but our main phrase is "Townhomes in La Plata." Our Google SERP (search engine results page) has this site ranking consistently between #2 to #4.

ChesterRiverHomes.com

Using the search phrase "Chestertown Waterfront Homes," the Google SERP ranking for this Flash-based website is consistently #2 or #3.

So, while Flash is not necessarily the best choice for every website, it has been proven in usability research to enhance the overall user experience by making a site more interactive and intuitive. Remember, you have approximately 4 seconds to really grab a website visitor’s attention and help them make the decision to stay and consume more of your content. For now and the foreseeable future, Flash is still the best technology available to website designers to achieve real engagement and to convert visitors to registered users, and it can now be properly indexed by the world’s most dominant search engine, Google.com, ensuring that SEO goals are attainable.

Stay tuned for more from real estate advertising & e-marketing expert Tom Nelson of NDG Communications.

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