Google Crawls Flash Content

Good news from the Google blog for site owners with Flash content as Google announced it will from now on be able to extract links and textual content from Flash files and index this content for search. For a long time flash was a big issue for SEO professionals as most of this type of content also had to able available in plain text somewhere on the site in order to be indexed by search engines.

The announcement comes after a the release of Adobe’s newest ‘search engine friendly ‘ flash technology. This technology has been sold to both Google and Yahoo, but the latter is still looking for the best way to implement it. Microsoft is not mentioned in the Flash search debate, the reason maybe being Microsoft’s own experiment Silverlight for making flash animation search friendly.

Anyway, the good news is that Flash owners don’t have to do anything to be included in search. The Googlebot can interact to some extent with the Flash application and extract text or links. On the other hand you have by now realized most Flash generally does not consist of text and links but rather of pictures and animations, so don’t be optimistic to see all your flash content indexed from the first moment.

From a user point of view this innovation should mean a great deal for accessibility and usability. Less webmasters will be afraid of using Flash and more acurate search results will display. Similar as for other non-html content like PDF, Google will display when the search result derives from a flash file. This should reduce potential frustration when a search query based on a keyword is somewhere in the flash file, but not on the first page. The user will then know he has to go through the flash animation.