How to Use Flash in Top Ranking Pages
 by Stephen Mahaney

How to Use 'Flash' in Top Ranking Pages
...and prevent your web design team from screwing up your SEO —by Esoos Bobnar

In the world of SEO, not all Flash is evil. A Flash banner here, or a Flash slideshow there, can provide exciting content for site visitors without harming your rankings! It can also make your webpage look really cool.

On the other hand, building your entire webpage or site in Flash is simply dumb SEO/SEM. You put yourself at an automatic ranking disadvantage. You also handicap your ability to generate conversions (sales, leads, newsletter signups, etc...).

All too often, when a creative design team embarks on a new web site project, they're overflowing with eagerness to build an ultra-modern looking site using Flash as the basis for the design. In most cases they're oblivious to the fact their masterpiece will torpedo any chance the site can rank well in the search engines. That's because, of course, search engines just don't "get" Flash.

Now, if you own the site, no big deal—you simply give an all Flash site the big thumbs down. But if you're part of your company's SEO team or an outside consultant, you're often expected to somehow make the site rank well in spite of the web designers making that difficult by using Flash.

So, if you can't talk them out of it, here's the ammo you need to make sure that your site's Flash design stays SEO friendly.

Quick Review: Why Flash is Bad

When you create an entire webpage in Flash, you've locked up all of your text and links in a format that search engines can't crawl. It's as if you built a webpage, took a screenshot of it, then used that image file as your webpage rather than the page itself. The search engine spider simply cannot "see" the text because, technically, there isn't any—it's all indecipherable to them. So now you're forced to create an alternative means by which search engines can interpret the content of your page.

The situation is even worse when you build your entire site in Flash. Not only can't the search en...