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Problems of Repeating Text

It’s also helpful to know that text incorporated into Flash animations can be repeated over and over again when extracted by Google, possibly tripping Google’s spam filters and leading to your page being penalized. Google has set up software to check for words that are repeated over and over again, referred to as spam. In the past, Web designers used this technique of gratuitously repeating words many time on a page in an effort to trick the search engines into better placements. These days, Google in particular is very sensitive to this practice and has software that checks for repeated words.

The bottom line is that you should avoid excessive word repetition in your Flash pages whenever possible, especially for your keywords. Keywords are the words that define the theme or content of your site, such as Flash design or Flash animations. Keywords are what users type in the search engines to find your pages, so you usually want to include these terms in your page somewhere, preferably in prominent locations. Use the SDK Flash text extraction tool to examine what Google is actually indexing on your page and make sure that your keywords are there—and are not getting repeated over and over again because of their use in a tween animation.

For example, let’s suppose that you have words that are animated, and for one reason or another you can see that they are repeated many times in your extracted file, which can pose a couple of problems. First, if it is a keyword that is repeated, the page could be subjected to a spam penalty for excessive repetition. If the repeating words are not keywords, they may still hurt your ranking efforts because they will confuse the engine as to what the theme of your page is actually supposed to be.

Static text does not appear as duplicate instances in the extracted output. However, certain kinds of Flash motion involving text can create duplicate occurrences of text in the extracted output.

The types of animation that can cause this duplication effect include the following:

  • Animations that require duplicate copies of the text in a movie clip
  • Animations that involve converting text into a symbol and then simply manipulating the single instance of the symbol
  • Movie clips with multiple copies of a symbol

The types of Flash animations that do not cause duplications are as follows:

  • Animations that use motion tweens that do not require multiple copies of a symbol, such as text that fades into view or sliding bullet points

In either case, however, the extracted content will alert you to these circumstances so you can correct them before your Flash content is indexed. Google seems to be aware of this repeating word problem, and there is speculation about whether Google is actually applying spam penalties to Flash pages at this time. Regardless, avoid excessive word repetition whenever possible and pay close attention to what the extracted version of your Flash presentation "says" your page is all about.

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