SEO’s and Flash just can’t seem to get along. For years there has been the clash of the great looking site with all the cool stuff on it and that stodgy old search engine crawler that acts like it doesn’t exist. Designers and clients have had more than a few ‘conversations’ following the development of a site that looks great when you’re there but the only way to get there is through a link or a direct type in. The search engines have not been able to do anything with Flash in forever but there are active attempts from both sides of the fence to change this.
Adobe has rolled out their Search Engine Optimization Technology Center. The introduction to the site explains its purpose very well
Ensuring that search engines can crawl and index your rich Internet applications (RIAs)—so that your content can be found by others—is of critical importance to building and maintaining an online presence. While Adobe and the leading search engines are making significant strides in making SWF content more searchable, you can take additional steps now to improve your search ranking positions further.
The SEO Technology Center helps explain what the challenges are and provides practical steps, examples, and best practices that you can follow to overcome them.
This is certainly an olive branch of sorts. The real work is going on behind the scenes though as Adobe and the major search engines try to come to grips with this issue. While most in the industry are well aware of the search impediments that Flash sites have, the problem becomes really troubling at the SMB (small and medium business) level. There is often much less sophistication as it relates to all things web as you get into smaller companies. Since most people need to wear several hats in a smaller organization there is less chance of finding people with true specialization because they have to develop competencies across many different areas and can’t always keep up with the industry latest and greatest information. What often happens is a business owner or high level executive will then be sold a bill of goods regarding a web site redesign that will look awesome but hamper marketing efforts through the search engines. Now comes the hurdle of having to undo what has already been done usually at great expense. Never a good situation and one that every SEO dreads.
Hopefully great strides can be made to put these types of scenarios to bed and my guess is that since Adobe is now reaching out and looking to be proactive that there may be something on the horizon. Maybe this will happen in a flash. Sorry about that one. It’s late.