Indexing flash content

Search engines do not index Flash content, as they cannot extract usual content such as text and links from the Flash files.  Search results do not show much of the Flash content, which is quite frustrating for the web developers who work hard to get their Flash web pages indexed and ranked in the search results.  However, things now are changing as Adobe and Google are working together to get this hitch removed away.

Since Google is launching a “deep algorithm change”, it can seek pages, which earlier could not be tracked.  Moreover, Adobe is supplying the Flash reader technology that helps read Flash files and extract text and links from it.  It helps in better indexing and ranking.

Let us learn some details about how this works. In addition, there are some caveats that you should know because some developers think it as a kind of magic wand which frees them of any work that goes in ensuring that their Flash applications are search engine friendly.

Google can index Flash files

For some time, Google team was working on to improve how they crawl and index rich content. The team was looking for ways to crawl rich content like Flash and JavaScript. Though it was able to extract some links and text, it was not that useful. This new Adobe technology is less error prone and Google can crawl and access any version of Flash in different languages.

New development from Adobe   to collaborate search engines

Adobe has developed an optimized Flash player for search engines. It is collaborating with Google and Yahoo! However, Yahoo! is not supporting the technology as yet. It is planning to support searchable SWF.   It is working with Adobe to find the best solution.

Though Adobe’s new technology is not available for all search engines such as Microsoft’s Live Search or others, they are developing it to become available at broad level to make SWF content easily searchable.

Though earlier Google’s help documentation had that use Flash –only images sparingly or embed them in textual form, now Googlebot can extract textual content and links. It can better crawl and index the Flash content.

It started in 2008 when Google announced that, in collaboration with Adobe, it is developing a technology to improve the capability to Index Flash content.  The new algorithm from Google had made it possible to index all kinds of Flash files, Flash menu, buttons, banners, to self contained Flash websites.  Before this Flash indexing system came into being, developers and designer faced problem about presenting data via Flash content and they had to work hard to present their data.

How Google does this?  Google does it by creating a snippet for each website.  In addition, it also uses words present in the Flash files for indexing. Its indexing algorithm also has the ability to discover URL.


Google’s ability to read and index the Flash content include indexing of the textual content as displayed because Google can interact as a normal user. It can discover links within the Flash content and in addition, it can load external content and associate with parent file.

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