Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Google Indexes SWF - Yahoo! Follows Suit

Five days ago the Associated Press (among others) reported that Google will begin indexing Flash content on a text level. For those of us who work with Flash and SEO on a daily basis the news came as a pleasant surprise. Let's examine the key points of the announcement:

1) Flash content (.swf files) will be indexed according to text rendered within the movie or application. This includes hyperlinks, but does not include library names, variables, and other ActionScript items that are not visible in the web browser.

2) Adobe has announced that Yahoo! will soon follow suit, indexing .swf files. Presumably the algorithms will be different than those used by Google, but the results will be similar: visible text and links only.

3) Microsoft has not made an announcement regarding their choice to collaborate with Adobe to make Flash content indexable through the various Microsoft channels. Microsoft's reaction will reveal their position on seriously competing with Adobe, as Silverlight is now beta-testing version 2.0.

Capitalizing off search engine indexing is critical to an interactive campaign. Flash as a technology is certainly more “sexy” than HTML, but until now has been inappropriate for sites and campaigns looking to capitalize off traffic from search engines.

It should be interesting to see how this affects design elements as well as campaign pitches. Will we start seeing more Flash integration? One would think so, but time will tell.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of complete digital communications solutions for a variety of industries.


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