EJM Designs Limited Blog

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Old News Education: Flash Can Still Kill SEO

I would say that [potential] client education is one of the most important parts of what I do. And sometimes I forget, because I do it all day long all the time, that there are still some items that need clarification to most people. Today's education will talk briefly about Flash animation and how it should and should not be used.

There are basically 2 points:

1) Flash will kill your search engine optimization (SEO) - still
Search engines are still having trouble with Flash websites. While Google and those other two or three have said they are making strides to pick up on that Flashy content, it is still a crippling venture to choose to develop your entire website in that flowing, textured beauty (when done well, of course).

In the very best case scenarios and future scenarios where the search engines can pick up every word of copy on your site, your Flash site is still, functionally, a single page because the entire Flash piece exists on one page. So even if you have hundreds of Flash "pages" of content, even if you knock out best practice SEO for that page aside from the Flash bulk, you have an entire site that is essentially your homepage. And that's it. And you are effectively irrelevant.

I'm specifically nailing this to the ground right now because we had a nice little chat about it at Podcamp Ohio 2 and I just saw - today - that one of my favorite places to get a haircut and massage redid their website: entirely in Flash. Almost 1/3 of my business over the last year has been re-designing the work of a mediocre - or worse - designer/developer. And that shouldn't happen.

The people and businesses who are in the market for a website redesign need to know this information and the development companies providing these sites are either ignorant or deliberately misleading for the "wow" factor. And that makes me sad for the businesses and angry at the service providers.

Now, with that said...

2)Flash is NOT the Devil
Flash is - and has been since its inception - an excellent and attractive (again, if done well)addition to a site. If you want some of that pretty-pretty moving picture stuff on your site and don't want to make it invisible by creating the entire site in Flash, that is the preferred method of execution. The only thing that you must remember is that any text that lives in Flash components is potentially un-readable to search engines. So either reiterate that in copy or keep it to lovely images retaining all copy for straight-forward HTML text.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a web designer and developer that works hard for my clients to get them the best SEO results. In the spirit of honesty: I'd rather see a business spend money elsewhere knowing what they really need to purchase as opposed to wasting money and ending up with me, angry, distrustful, and just wishing they'd done it right the first time.

Get it right the first time: Never pay for a website that is entirely designed in Flash.

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