If you’ve been reading our articles recently you’ll know that we have had some harsh words to day about Flash-based websites for artists. In Are Flash Websites Good For Artists, and Big Artist Website Mistake #3, we expanded on several potentially serious problems that we see with Flash.
We felt it important to provide an update on one point however. In reviewing Google’s recent webmaster updates we noted that their crawlers are now able to scan the text on many flash websites. Here’s a quote from Google Webmaster Central:
They go on to say:
Note that while Google can index the content of Flash files, other search engines may not be able to.
This is good news because it means that the content of flash components of a website can be read and indexed by Google and used to determine search ranking results. In the past this was a big big problem with Flash.
We continue to maintain that Flash is not a great technology when used en-masse in an artist website for the reasons outlined in, Are Flash websites Good For Artists. However we do love and support the use of discrete flash components and slideshows within a substantially-HTML based site. Google agrees with us:
If you do plan to use rich media on your site, here are some recommendations that can help prevent problems.
Try to use rich media only where it is needed. We recommend that you use HTML for content and navigation. This makes your site more Google-friendly, and also makes it accessible to a larger audience including, for example, readers with visual impairments that require the use of screen readers, users of old or non-standard browsers, and users with limited or low-bandwidth connections such as a cellphone or mobile device. An added bonus? Using HTML for navigation will allow users to bookmark content and send direct links in email.
Apologies to the Gods of Flash for not being completely up to date in our earlier statements about search engine recognition and indexing. If you have questions on this or would like to discuss further please leave us a comment below!