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Q: Has use of Flash made my web site invisible to Search Engines? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Has use of Flash made my web site invisible to Search Engines?
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: eyeballfarmer-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 01 Jun 2004 11:24 PDT
Expires: 01 Jul 2004 11:24 PDT
Question ID: 354825
I have built my website using all Flash templates from I
am afraid search engines won't be able to find me because of all the
Flash. can you suggest anything that will verify my concerns and
recommend some action to make my site visible? or
Subject: Re: Has use of Flash made my web site invisible to Search Engines?
Answered By: serenata-ga on 01 Jun 2004 15:36 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Eyeballfarmer ~

You are quite right to be concerned, your site is not only in flash
but uses frames, two things Google specifically warns against the use
of flash and the use of frames.

From Google's "Reasons your site may not be included",

     "Google supports frames to the extent that it can. Frames
      tend to cause problems with search engines, bookmarks,
      emailing links and so on, because frames don't fit the
      conceptual model of the web (every page corresponds to a
      single URL). If a user's query matches the site as a whole,
      Google returns the frame set. If a user's query matches an
      individual page on the site, Google returns that page. That
      individual page is not displayed in a frame -- because there
      may be no frame set corresponding to that page."
   - ://

and from Google's Technical Guidelines,

     "Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site,
      because most search engine spiders see your site much
      as Lynx would. If fancy features such as Javascript,
      cookies, session ID's, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep
      you from seeing all of your site in a text browser,
      then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling
      your site."
   - ://

A search for your domain on Google shows that it IS listed and indexed
to the extent of your design allows,

     "EyeballFarm Product Desin

     Google can show you the following information for this URL:

    * Find web pages that are similar to
    * Find web pages that link to
    * Find web pages that contain the term ""

[Search link here] -

Notice when you click on "Find web pages that link to ..." and "pages
that contain the term ..." there are no links to your site. Links to
your site are important, too.

To answer your question:

The fact that your site is designed as it is - using both flash and
the frames - will keep you from placing well in search engine results
pages (SERPs), because there is nothing there for Google to index.
Notice the absence of that little snippet of information one usually
finds with listings in Google and other search engines.

Your frames page with the descriptive doesn't come up that way at all.


If you want to maintan your flash page, you are going to have to use
other means of attracting the right visitors to your site. These
methods could/should include viral marketing, links TO your site from
other relevant sites, and even consider buying key words using
Google's AdWords.

If you wish to have a site that can be indexed, you need to start with
understanding Google's position relative to its search.

Google's main responsibility - its mission - is to return the most
relevant sites in response to a searcher's query. As the web designer,
it is incumbent on you to provide a site that is user-friendly and
Google-friendly. If you don't, your chances of being listed and
placing well enough to matter are nil.

To understand Google's mission, I suggest you read "Google Today". It
may seem a bit hokey, but it's spot-on on what you need to understand
about Google.
   - ://

Google provides other information regarding how to get listed, various
suggestions and recommendations as well. Here is a partial list of
helpful Google links:

   * How Do I Get My Site Listed on Google?
     - ://

   * My Web Pages Are Not Currently Listed (a good 'primer'
     on how and why Google works so well)
     - ://

   * PageRank Information (covers both Google's PageRank and
     - ://

   * Webmaster Guidelines (contains both the dos and don'ts)
     - ://

   * Google Facts & Fiction (can  you buy your way to a
     high ranking in Google?)
     - ://

   * Search Engine Optimizers (some good advice on what to look
     for if you're going to hire a Search Engine Optimizer)
     - ://

   * Frequently Asked Questions (pretty much what it says, but
     definitely worth wading through)
     - ://

Then design a site that is both user-friendly and crawler-friendly by
using good design principles. That is, actual text content using the
terms under which you want to be found.

Using the title tags to your advantage to give each page and its
content a unique title.

Understanding what your visitors are looking for and accommodating
them. This includes fast download time for those still on dialup, the
purpose of your site easily discernible above the fold (the first
screenful), compelling content to get your visitor to do what you want
him to do. The whole trick is to make it EASY for your visitor to
figure out what the site is about, gather the information he came
there to get (remember, he *IS* there for a purpose), and then to do
what you want him to do.

Establishing Links

Google's PageRank - and ranking well in SERPs - is based in part on
the number of pages which link to your site.

You will have to establish relevant links TO your site in order to
rank well in Google's index.

There are many practical ways of establishing links which are
beneficial to you in your endeavor to get respectable position
placement on search engines. These methods may take time, but they
also help in establishing credibility and help with your page rank.

Approach like-minded or complementary businesses about linking to your
site (with a reciprocal link from your own). This works without
harming search engine positioning or page rank.


Google specifically warns "Don't participate in link schemes designed
to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid
links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web as your own
ranking may be affected adversely by those links." (See Google's
Quality Guidelines - Basic principles)
   - ://

It stands to reason that what's good for Google, currently ranked as
the number one search engine is good rule to follow for other search

Articles on Link Popularity

Some excellent articles on how to establish the right kind of links
are available in Traffick's "Ten Steps to Building Links to Your
Site", Craig Fifield - 5/3/2002

Search Engine Watch's "Google PageRank Lunacy" by Mike Grehan, March, 2004,

and his "Link Equity Explained", available in PDF,

"Link Building Is Important", which discusses link building from A to
Z and also provides a good reference page with linking resources.

The information contained in the above articles offer suggestions
which can be easily adapted for use on any website without resorting
to link farms. The differences in "good links" and those which may be
harmful are discussed, and the articles offer simple ways to get
started to the kind of linking search engines prefer.

HTML - Back to Basics

Shari Thurow, one of the leading authorities in web design and search
engine optimization (and author of the book "Search Engine
Visibility"), recently made the following observation with regard to

     "Clean HTML is absolutely imperative for search engine
      indexing. Browsers are extremely forgiving when it comes
      to displaying pages with "unclean" HTML (unclosed tags,
      no quotation marks, etc.).  Search engine spiders are
      not so forgiving.  Even something as simple as a missing
      quotation mark on the <.a href="page.html"> can cause a
      spider to not index text or a link." (See: Link Exchange
      Digest, July 3, 2003, "Clean HTML")

She explained how errors in HTML can affect your ability to be
indexed, and ultimately, ranked.

Taking a look at, there are some important items
missing and some which should be added to make your site

1. DOCTYPE Declaration

DOCTYPES are essential to the proper rendering and functioning of web
documents in compliant browsers. It is also essential for the search
engines to understand and follow the coding contained on your pages.

DOCTYPE is explained and discussed further in "A List Apart",

and in Web Design Group's article, "Choosing a DOCtype",

You do not have a DOCTYPE Declaration and you should add one to every
page on your site.

2. Title and Alt Tags

Put those title and alt tags to work for you! Use key word rich words
in both. Instead of repeating "" in every page's title,
use a dozen or so descriptive words (terms you would like to be found
under) first in your page titles.

3. Accessibility

I am sure you do not wish to appear insensitive to accessibility issues.

Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794
and 794d, set forth the minimum government standards for

Among these standards are such items as ALT and TITLE tags (as
discussed above), and website design which will enable those with
special needs to be able to access and understand your web site.

You might want to run each page of your site through Bobby, which will
give you a full context report of any portions of your site which do
not meet the minimum standards. If you make all the corrections
suggested, it will greatly enhance any search engine's ability to
crawl your website as well.

The Bobby analysis page can be found here:

About those search terms

Assuming your key word metatags are the words and/or terms under which
you want searchers to find you. I found the following returns for
these terms:

   * Jim Bonfield - about 14,100 results
   * sacramento - about 10,900,000 results
   * sacramento bee newspaper - about 212,000 results
   * sponsorship - about 5,400,000 results
   * internet - about 400,000,000 results

No matter how you look at it, that is a powerful lot of competition
for the terms your keyword metatags would indicate you want your site
to be found under.

I suspect you aren't even sure what the terms your potential customers
are looking for - most people don't, unless they spend a great deal of
time researching that subject.

I really suggest spending some time at Wordtracker
- - to seek out all the related phrases you
can, then write copy (relevant content) based around the best, most
relevant terms. Include those words in your Title tags and within the
content of your website accordingly. That will certainly help.

If nothing else, by visiting Wordtracker, you'll get an idea of what
search terms they are *really* using when it comes to what you want to

Search terms used

Except for the specific terms used and specific searches performed
above, the answer to your question was derived from resources and
bookmarks I rely on in my daily business.

If you provide content, relevant links TO your site and employ good
user-friendly design, you'll do far better in SERPs placement. If not,
I'd not expect much for ranking well in any search engine. Remember,
you can always link to those flash pages if you want to, although I
suspect they'll change once you learn how to design to meet your
visitor's needs.

Best of luck to you,

Google Answers Researcher
eyeballfarmer-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Has use of Flash made my web site invisible to Search Engines?
From: serenata-ga on 06 Jun 2004 11:09 PDT
Hi again, Eyeballfarmer ~

I did find this small tidbit of help from SSW Rules to Better Rankings
on Google regarding the use of Flash in search engines:

     "No. 17. Whilst the use of Flash is becoming increasingly
      common as companies seek more visually enticing websites, 
      the truth is that Flash remains invisible to most search 
      engines. The solution to this is to have a HTML option 
      available with the same content as the Flash site. This 
      also helps with users that don't have Flash installed or 
      don't want to wait for long periods of time for the page 
      to load up."

I know a lot of people who don't/haven't installed Flash, so it really
is an excellent idea.

Thanks again,

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