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How to Design Flash Pages for Google

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Google is now indexing Flash content! James Gonzalez tells you how to determine which Flash content Google is actually indexing and how to optimize this content to achieve better rankings in Google's search results.

Flash is a popular tool with Web designers and visitors because it can be used to produce attractive and useful Web sites containing rich multimedia, enhanced interactivity, and a high degree of personalization without the need to write a lot of code. But although human visitors like Flash content, many search engines don’t, which makes it difficult to get Flash pages ranked highly in the search engines (primarily because Flash pages contain little or no text that the engines can index). Google does index Flash pages, however, and it is possible to optimize Flash pages so they rank well in Google’s search listings. In this article, I’ll show you how to achieve higher page rankings.

Finding Flash Content in Google

You can search the Google index for Flash content by using the filetype operator along with a search term, which restricts your search to content related to your search query that contains the file extension .swf.

For example, if you conduct a search on "web design" filetype:SWF (don’t leave off the quotes), Google will return listings that are exclusively Macromedia Flash files (see Figure 1). Notice the [FLASH] designation posted alongside each Flash listing in the search results.

Figure 01

Figure 1 How Flash content appears in the Google search results.

Google can extract much—but not all—the content in the published SWF file. This content includes all the text and all the links in the file, but not necessarily in the order and in the same way you originally authored the file.

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