Making Searchable Flash Content

I have seen quite a number of classmates taking about how bad Flash is when considering about usability and accessibility. Take for an example Flash give too much freedom to the designers resulting that Flash always give a non standard interface.

Another main problem that mentioned is that Flash either can’t be identified by the search engines and searched effectively.

Having a short research on this, I have summarize a number of methods to make Flash more searchable.

  1. Preparing both Flash and HTML version of the web

    This method is the best among all the methods, but the most time consuming one.It can achieve two purpose. First, allowing the contents of your web (in HTML version) being indexed by the search engines. Second, provide alternative browsing method without Flash for the visitors.

  2. Using a HTML file to embed the Flash, then applying META tag

    The easiest method to apply which is still very effective. By means of the META tag, search engines can easily locate and categorize what the Flash content is about.

  3. Separate the content and interface

    Inside the Flash movie, all the contents are not directly written inside. An external data source is used, e.g. using database to store the data and some server side script to forward the data to Flash. The advantage is that additional to being searchable, it is also portable. Because Flash is just an interface, the data is portable to other platforms, let say building RSS feeds.

  4. Personal submission to the search engines

    No need to explain too detail here. This must be a guaranteed method.Actually the search engines are improving too. Say for an example Google already have their own mechanism to search Flash contents. Further, Macromedia have provided the Flash Search Engine SDK for users to build their own search engine.No matter what, as a Flash developer, we should bear in mind that fancy is not everything.

Shari Thurow, Optimizing Flash for Search Engines
James Ellis, Accessible Flash Parts
Developing User-Friendly Flash Content
Flash and Search Engines