Google indexing SWF flash content

Google claims on it’s Webmaster Central Blog that it has made significant progress in being able to index content designed for flash players. It isn’t widely known in SEO communities that Google already indexes SWF files.

The ability to significantly improve the indexing of flash content is as a result of an alliance with Adobe. Adobe is providing Adobe Flash Player technology to Google to enhance search engine indexing of the Flash file format SWF. Google added external resource loading to their Shock Wave Flash (SWF) indexing capabilities. SWF files can contain animations and are currently the dominant format for displaying vector graphics on the internet.

Google claims that nearly any text visible to a user on their website can be indexed by Googlebot. This can in turn be used to create a snippet or match query terms in Google searches. Google can now index all of the texts and links within a Flash file. Google’s improvements in video indexing technology has led to a greater capacity to identify when a webpage has a video and extract metadata such as alternate thumbnails from flash technology based videos.

Flash is not something that is highly recommended in SEO circles, and it would be rare to find an SEO consultant who would recommend a person to construct a website built all in Flash.

To find out what kind of flash content Google is indexing you can experiment by entering search queries into Google’s search engine together with the filetype operator .swf.

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