Search engine indexing and Flash websites.
Three methods of getting a flash website or a flash page indexed by search engines.
SEO optimization for Flash websites and pages.
Your homepage (index or home) is the most important page for any website and it's not uncommon for domain owners to want this page to look very dynamic and be highly interactive for the surfer. The problem with this type of homepage is that a complete flash page void of any actual text or image links within the html cannot be indexed by search engines. Your homepage is the "gateway" to the rest of the website. A search engine will enter from this gate to find, and subsequently index, the rest of your website. But if the SE spider bot is not able to enter, then how do you get your website indexed by search engines ?
As a website designer, I often get requests to develop flash websites. These websites are not just websites with flash files embedded in them for a special effect here and there, but are created completely in flash. All of the links, text and overall content is presented in flash on every page of the website.
There are three methods of getting a flash website indexed by Google, MSN and Yahoo. Using any one of these methods will get a flash website indexed by all three major search engines.
The easiest method requires the website to display a simple text link to the site map outside the flash table, usually at the bottom of the index/home page. The SE spiders will follow the link, and use the sitemap to index the contents of your website. A sitemap is a html page that holds links to all the other pages in the website. One can also add a site search engine to this page and customize the look and layout of the page as well.
I generally talk to my clients about the various ways to add search engine optimization (SEO) into their site design and often am successful in convincing them to display a simple html link to their sitemap from the bottom of the homepage. On occassion, a client doesn't want to use this approach, so on to method two.
This method is a little more difficult, but can be a viable solution. Search engines are constantly indexing the web. During this process they will find new URL's on an existing website and index the new link and then follow the new link to determine site relevancy and a whole slew of other things as well.
As the owner of a site with a flash entry or a site built entirely of flash, you can try to get a link to a secondary page of your site from another indexed website. If your site is totally flash, make a sitemap.html page and get another site to link to it for you. Or if only your entry is in flash, the link could be to your products page, services page, a resource page, a link exchange page, an article or any other page that holds navigation links to the rest of the website. The difficulty in this method is in getting a link to an "internal page" from another webmaster, as most will prefer to trade links that point to your home page.
If you actually own more than one domain, and have another site up somewhere that ISN'T flash based, link to your internal page from your second website. The link doesn't have to be somewhere prominent as the search engine will find it and follow it back to your Flash based site to the page you put in the link.
Other possibilities would be link list sites, direct submission to smaller search engines, asking for a link trade with a relevant blog site, adding your page link to a dumplist site (links often stay up long enough to be indexed by a roving SE spider), or simply find someone with a site that would have lateral relevance and just emai and ask for the link trade and why you need it to be to that page and not to the front door. If they say no, try another webmaster, if they say yes, then problem solved.
Just be sure that whatever html page you use for that external link contains both of these meta tags before your </head> tag:
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="INDEX, FOLLOW">
<META NAME="GOOGLEBOT" CONTENT="INDEX, FOLLOW">
This tells the search engines to index that page of your website, and to follow and index the other links you have on that page.
This might sound a little weird but it works. Frames are also not indexed by search engines but the text and links in a "NOFRAME" tag do get indexed . Here we will use the frames and the NOFRAME tag to get our Flash website indexed .
First instead of a simple HTML page, make three pages.
Page 1 - Master Frame .( index.html)
Page2 - Flash page . (anyname.html)
Page 3- Blank page with nothing . ( anyname2.html)
Now divide the Master frame in two rows of size 99% and 1%.
Call the flash page ( index.html) into the 99% frame area. Call the blank page into the small 1% frame area.
Now the main page ( index.html ) displays the flash and only the flash. The small area at the bottom is almost invisible and displays nothing. You can fill the blank page with the color of the flash to create a harmonious effect .
Your frames should have a Frameborder="0" attribute preventing the border from getting displayed.
Don't forget to add proper text and a link to your sitemap in the "NOFRAME" TAG. The search engine will follow the "NOFRAME" tag text and the link in it . You can have a nice search engine friendly article written in that area. The article is visible to only search engines and is completely invisible to browsers. Search engines will index the text and the links in the article the same way as they index other regular webpages.
In addition to this, you should also add meta tags to your main page ( index.html. Meta tags, specially "http-equiv=Description", is still accepted by many search engines including MSN search. Need help creating your meta tags? There are some great generators available at www.htmlbasix.com for things like meta tags, htaccess pages, password protection, and more.