35 Replies Latest reply on Nov 6, 2010 12:55 AM by IO90

    Finally Flash SEO!!!

    C-Rock Level 2
      I've been working on Flash's "flaws" for 5 years and why they were causing SEO problems. Finally I've found a way to fix them all. Today I received my proof from Google and Aol that my techniques worked!

      First problem the dreaded back button. I've taken this script from free scripts on the web and floating around. I molded it to fit my style and my technique. My sites now use the browser history to go back through and all flash website. This was a major SEO problem before because some search engines wouldn't give you any position if you couldn't use the back button.

      Second problem, the detection system. The older flash detection systems would take you back through the flash detection system with one click. Google gave you 0 rank if your site did this. With the new detection system and swfObject.js we don't deal with that anymore. Also the click to activate is gone, ahh nice!

      Third problem, deep linking. This works now as a bonus to the back button. I can link to my site's portfolio page by sending this link out, Ohio Web Design
      Again this is an all flash site embedded into one html page.

      Fourth and biggest problem, SEO in general, no content to crawl. Well using the swfObject technique your html alternate content gets replaced with the Flash file if the Flash detection is passed. Why is this important? Google doesn't follow the javascript files to load your flash content so they use your alternate html content to rank your site. Of course you can cheat with this and just place any old content in your alternate content. But be aware this is a black hat technique and you will get caught and banned from google. I asked on their webmaster forums and was answer by google employees themselves. You must make sure that your alternate content is very similar to your content in your site.

      My proof? Last week I finished adjusting my alternate content and resubmitted my site to Google. Before this I had 0 ranking on any search engine. You could only find me by typing richardson graphics in the search engine. Because web design is such a large field my keywords were carefully selected so that the competition is a smaller group. Any seo company will tell you to narrow your market and you'll get better results. I did mine keywords for Ohio Flash Website Design. This search is done on average of 1000 times a month, which is way more than my small company can handle. I'm on page 1 for 14 different keyword combinations of my main 7 keywords. Aol also picked me up and I have just as much rank with them.

      Google's biggest ranker is links, I have 0 links with google. Check marketleap.com and you'll see, I only have 4 total. Now I will be building my links so I can move up the rankings in broader categories like flash web design.

      Thanks to all of those who have every contributed any code to helping Flash become equal or better than html... the day has arrived where I can stop losing jobs when being compared to html.
        • 1. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
          [djdomain] Level 1
          Great read. Taking notes :)
          • 2. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
            Walter Elias Level 2
            A message of hope in a cold, cruel world! Would you mind sharing that script to use the browser history in the back button?
            • 3. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
              Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
              I'd love to implement that as well... Are you going to share or do you just want us to ooh and ahh and tell you how cool it is? (It is VERY cool).

              At least tell us the "free scripts on the web and floating around" that you molded and changed so we can try to do the same? I don't know where to start.
              • 4. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                C-Rock Level 2
                I'm not really sure what I should do about the script. I don't really want to take the time to market it and sell it. However I have spent a great deal of time making it work well. So obviously since I'm a Flash devleopment company I'm not going to just give it away for free. Then whom ever I give it to may take work from me some day? Or is that just crazy talk?

                The whole process is extremely complicated and you must be very proficient at coding. There also isn't any script yet in AS 3.0 to make this work. I'm sure it wouldn't take long for someone to build it in 3.0.

                The optimal way for me and the best business decision would be to sell it to someone for a small fee. I'm not sure what to do.
                • 5. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                  Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                  I'm just a self employed designer/illustrator. I don't really have a budget for programming. Which is unfortunate because it is not my strong suit. I could offer a small shareware donation and/or a script credit link if it works? Maybe some 3D in trade?

                  If you can't share the actual script or a tutorial how about some hints in the spirit of this forum? Links to the free scripts you started with?

                  I've been trying to get deeplinking and back button functionality in my site for awhile and have tried a few methods including SWFAddress. But the only examples I can get to work as intended, also kill my animated rollovers. see http://www.pxlforge.com to see rollovers.

                  I've also come across a method that allows people to type in a URL and get to specific anchors, but titles don't change as user navigates.

                  From the look of your site it is exactly what I'm looking for - a solution that doesn't disable an animated button rollover.

                  I only use actionscript 2.0 so I don't mind that it isn't in 3.0
                  • 6. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                    Damon Edwards Level 3

                    Been around for years, nothing new here.
                    • 7. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                      C-Rock Level 2
                      I wouldn't say years and that is the free script I started with. That's not the only thing I wrote about, just one of the three...
                      • 8. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                        C-Rock Level 2

                        I'm a one man show too, but when I get time I'll zip up my standard set of files and send them to you in exchange for a link.

                        • 9. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                          Damon Edwards Level 3
                          You first point talks about the back button, which is taken care of by using SWFAddress.. Which has been around for at least 2 years. Your second point talks about flash player detection, which is taken care of by SWFObject, which has also been around for at least 2 years. Your third problem talks about deep linking, which is again, taken care of by SWFAddress. Your final problem, no content to crawl, is yet again, taken care of by SWFObject. Again, there is nothing new here, many of us have been doing this for years now.
                          • 10. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                            Walter Elias Level 2
                            Carey, I'm not sure why you feel the need to sell the SEO scripts you've adapted. It sounds like something that would benefit the entire Flash community. There are numerous regulars to this forum who freely share scripts they've spent months and even years developing. I'm no advanced developer, but I've also shared little scripted widgets and shortcuts I've come up with.

                            I don't think that sharing this script (or any script) will take business away from you. It isn't as if it's your core service, any more than scripting an interactive button alone is your core service.

                            The person who developed SWFaddress in the first place is a good example of shared development by someone who could very well have required $20 to download it rather than asking for an optional donation (which anyone, including me, should be obliged to give if it's used for a client's project).

                            I'll check out SWFaddress and try to implement it on my personal sites as an experiment, so I'm in no big hurry to see what you've done to improve it. Just thought I'd try to encourage you to think about how we all can continue to contribute to this fine little community of Flash pros and enthusiasts.
                            • 11. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                              Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                              Thanks Carey, I'd appreciate that! I'll watch for it. c-rock u rock
                              • 12. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                funkysoul Level 4
                                C-Rock nothing against your work or such.. but I think that happened because Google changed their way they index flash sites. More about it can be read here: http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd/archives/2008/01/google_swf_sdk.cfm
                                • 13. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                  C-Rock Level 2
                                  Funkysoul, a great article that I have read about the same idea a while ago when it was in development, however I don't want my swf file to be found by google, just for personal preference.

                                  Dzedward, the article you sent was dated October 26, 2006, that's not years, that's not even a year and a half. Not to mention that was not just what I've used to optimize my sites. Many people including me can't even use the stock swfObject out there, too confusing. Like I said it took some working with but I believe I'm doing something that a very very small amount of designers can do and I have proof that mine works and I wanted to share it. If I'm not one of the first, I'm going to be one of the first to share it. I have not seen any other all Flash sites on the first page of Google, ever until recently, no matter how many links they've had.

                                  I will be posting a zip file that will contain all the required items to make your site have the ability to be ranked by google. Also note that you still have to learn how to SEO your alternate content which isn't easy. Give me some time and I will make it available soon.
                                  • 14. Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                    Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                                    I look forward to seeing if the script will work as well as i think it will. SWFaddress always seems to disable the animated onstate of my rollover - but your site has rollovers with animated onstates, so in theory your approach should be just what I need.
                                    • 15. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                      Great news. Thanks
                                      • 16. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                        Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                                        I'll just keep checking this thread for a new link...
                                        • 17. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                          C-Rock Level 2
                                          I've been crazy busy I'll get a group of files up this weekend hopefully. I will get it up soon though, I promise.

                                          • 18. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                            Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                                            no worries, I know how it is...
                                            • 19. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                              Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                                              still anxiously awaiting files to see if this will work for me.
                                              • 20. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                                                still hoping for those files...
                                                • 21. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                  C-Rock Level 2
                                                  Sorry, I've been absolutely swamped and I have a 4 month old. I haven't had time to put together a package yet. I also have been implementing the new SWFAddress version 2.0 into the mix.

                                                  I will get it up soon.
                                                  • 22. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                    Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                                                    no prob - just making sure you didn't forget. Congrats on the wee one.
                                                    • 23. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                      Walter Elias Level 2
                                                      Maybe if we all scream and cry at 3 in the morning he'll get up and prepare formula -- I mean, code, for us. On the other hand, nah. We should give Carey a chance to catch up on his sleep, which I reckon will be about 20 months from now.

                                                      Enjoy the baby first. I suppose the rest of us can wait.
                                                      • 24. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                        C-Rock Level 2
                                                        Thanks for the wishes guys and thanks for being patient, I am quite low on sleep, :) but she is great, you haven't lived until you've had a child.

                                                        As for the code I'm going to see if I can point you in the right direction here to see if you're able to put it together on your own.

                                                        There are two ways that I have been using this technique and I'm not sure which is the best.

                                                        Technique #1
                                                        First you can make you separate "pages" of you site anyway you wish to load. Whether its different "sections" in the main timeline, loading separate swf's into a movie clip on the main stage/timeline, or my method creating a background file that usually contains the buttons and the background stuff and load the page swf on top of it. I keep this file on level0 and load everything else above it when it's needed. This stuff doesn't really matter that much, all preference I believe.

                                                        Next what you can do is go to google and type in SWFAddress 2.0 and go to asual.com? Not sure of the address. There you will find many examples of how all this works. Here there are two techniques as well. On for SWFAddress.onChange and one for the event, geared towards AS 3.0. I use the onChange way that was introduced in the first version of SWFAddress and for AS 2.0. Backically you place all the code in the second frame on its own layer, to keep it organized and because the first frame has your loader. I call this Back Functions, the layer name. This code will include on SWFAddress on Change function and some formatting title stuff, for the html page along with the include file for the class.

                                                        Basically on all your button code, I use movieClips, on the onPress of your button you place something like SWFAddress.onChange('/About/'); This code will call the function in the second frame of your back functions layer and actually add that to your title on the html page and change the address thus creating history. Everytime you press a button you add history to the browser by calling that function. If you hit the back button it looks at what is after your address and the yoursite.com/#/ to find out what page you're requesting to go back too. Now the tricky part.

                                                        In the onChange function the examples will show you an array called arr, I believe, that you just fill will the names of your pages just like you're calling them in your button onPress functions. arr = ['/', '/About/', '/Contact/' ... ] Then below that array just follow the examples because there is an if statement that tests the position of the item in the arr array and sets it to a variable we'll call getIndex, a number. So if my about us page is the second item in the array and the second line of my if else statement looks like this:

                                                        else if (getIndex == 1){
                                                        loadMovieNum("about.swf", 5);
                                                        _root.pageLoaded = "about" // this is a variable i use to track the page I've loaded for other coding purposes

                                                        So when you press a button it will call the onChange function and figure out what page you wish change to. Then it will load that page. When the back button is press it visits the onChange function again and changes back the page previous. Of course with animation, I use fuse, there is a lot more code involved but that's the gist of it.

                                                        Now for the SEO stuff. In an index page in the examples you'll see that there is a <div = #flashcontent> or something like that tag. That means that when the flash movie passes detection through the swfObject code then it loads the flash movie here in the html code. Here is where you place your alternate html text. This is the text that will be browsed by search engines. I actually just start building a text version with a few images of my entire site here if I'm using only one html page. Which leads me to technique nubmer two.

                                                        Technique #2
                                                        Technique number two is just like 1 except after my fuse animations I call a function called loadHomePage. That function then calls a javascript code that is on the html page that tells me what html page was found. If it's the index page then it returns "home". Then I pass that through and init(thisPage) function that is just like the onChange function but obviously requires a little different coding. So I end up with both function the initPage called when the site is loaded the first time and onChange is called from then on. So if you go to my site and hit the index page the home page of the flash movie will always be loaded. But if you go to company.html then the Flash code calls the javascript and I have the word "company" returning to flash. Then it goes through the init function and says load the company page first. So the buttons change and the company page is loaded first instead of the home page.

                                                        Why do this? For seo purposes. I began thinking that if I try and place a text/html representation of my entire site between the <div> tags in the index.html page only what happens if Google decides that too many people are spamming this and if your text here doesn't match your flash movie page text maybe they will consider it black hat seo. So now I have an html page for each page on my website that will make the flash movie go directly to that page.

                                                        Portfolio page

                                                        Now I can seo each html page like you would on a normal html site and you can push your links just like any html site and your site will act just like is expected of an html site.

                                                        However if you look at my code I've been learning seo and changing my text so many times that I haven't had time to make my html alternate text like I've described as above but that is the plan when I have time. So now each one of the 4 pages on my site can be found, linked to and indexed by google. You can also then get a page rank for each html page, but you really only have one full flash website. I believe this in the end will be the best way to go plus you have more pages html pages out there which gives you a better chance of getting people to your site as opposed to 1 page.

                                                        Pretty slick!!!

                                                        It's all still a work in progress but there you have it. I will one day be putting this all together and allowing people to download the whole package already built but no time right now, I've gotta pay the bills and sleep so no time for work that doesn't pay right now unless you're willing to make a donation to me and I may find the time. :)

                                                        A few notes. Remember to include the SWFAddress.as file on your main timeline because the SWFAddress.onChange function calls many functions in this class.
                                                        Also use the SWFAddress.js and SWFObject.js files in the root of your site or in their own folder (that's how I'm doing it)

                                                        The big kicker here is you still have to know SEO or at least learn it. Make sure you don't have invalid html code (there is a test), start building lots of links, verify your site, the age of your site is important. Don't spam keywords, use your main keyword phrase in your title, hint: you change the title in your SWFAddress code so in the html make it your best keyword phrases along with your description because when the flash movie loads it will change to the title you wish to be displayed but the search engines will pick up the title in the html code. Be sure to use h1, h2, and h3 tags in your code. Use keywords in your image alt tags in the alternate html code. These are just a few of the items you'll need to do to get a high score, right now I know of 179 different things for Google. Keyword density is a big one, you never want to out perform the top 10 by much at all, just a hair.

                                                        I've been working on my position for two months now and for my 24 keywords (check my source of my index page) on the 17 major search engines I show up on the first two pages of of 202 of 408 possible combinations, so I'm well on my way. I'm number one on several including "ohio flash company", I know not a widely searched term but it was the first phrase I started with and then I've expanded to wider search terms which is what I recommend. Don't be silly and think you're going to show up number one on Google with no links for "flash web design" overnight, it takes lots of work. Start narrow then increase your search parameters to wider and wider searches.

                                                        Sorry if all of this is confusing but feel free to email me on contact me through my site if I can quickly clarify anything I've written here. Also browse my site and look at the source of my html pages to get a better idea of what I'm talking about.

                                                        • 25. Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                          Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                                                          I've tried implementing swfadress before and had no luck getting it to work without it killing my animated button rollover. So if possible, I want to know exactly which method you used. Technique 1 or 2?
                                                          • 26. Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                            Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                                                            ok i had already tried to implement swfaddress2.0 before I ever saw your first post. It worked but disabled my button rollovers.

                                                            I just tried it again with the same results that I had before. It STILL disables my button rollo vrs.

                                                            I was really hoping to see why your solution doesn't disable rollovers.
                                                            • 27. Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                              Flash_Forms_Question Level 1
                                                              OK I tried, I really did. I figured out a jury rig to fix my rollovers (found a script to make rollover on a MC). But when I uploaded the (I thought) working file. It doesn't work. Title bar doesn't change. The script is sending the user to right place within the timeline, but no change to html title and I'm not sure why.

                                                              I've uploaded the fla here http://www.pxlforge.com/composite.zip

                                                              and the url to look at my source is http://www.pxlforge.com
                                                              • 28. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!

                                                                Thanks for your help on implementing these two great scripts. I'm planning to use it on my next website as i've seen in tons of times on sites from http://www.thefwa.com (favourite website awards).

                                                                • 29. Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                                  Great Work! I know how hard is to rank well on flash based sites...
                                                                  • 30. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                                    This is great. Can we see the code example?
                                                                    • 31. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                                      C-Rock Level 2
                                                                      I'd love to just give it out for free but it's worth too much money at this point, sorry. I'm selling this product very well because it's so new and not many companies can do it. It takes the whole "but flash can't" out of any selling of a full flash website. If I just give it away I would be losing money for all my hard work.

                                                                      It does work and if you're an internet marketing company it would be worth paying for, trust me.

                                                                      I have a client who I've been working on the SEO with since June and he's no. 1 on 7 of the major search engines for his key terms. It's paid for itself many times over to him. I myself have to "dumb" my down because I'm a one man company who can't afford to answer the phone all day. It's proven and it's legal and not black hat.

                                                                      In fact my site and another was reference by Google as the way to do the full flash site SEO.

                                                                      I would be willing to sell the code, as I have done to several others already. Each one has thanked me and said how valuable this new scripting is...
                                                                      • 32. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!

                                                                        I'm not really sure what I should do about the script. I don't really want to take the time to market it and sell it. However I have spent a great deal of time making it work well. So obviously since I'm a Flash devleopment company I'm not going to just give it away for free. Then whom ever I give it to may take work from me some day? Or is that just crazy talk?

                                                                        • 33. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                                          mikerss Level 1
                                                                          I look forward to seeing if the script will work as well as i think it will. SWFaddress always seems to disable the animated onstate of my rollover - but your site has rollovers with animated onstates, so in theory your approach should be just what I need.
                                                                          • 34. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                                            C-Rock Level 2
                                                                            As I've mentioned before to others. I would be willing to package everything up and give it to someone for the right price. I have several companies whom I have designed sites for a have done SEO work on the full Flash site and they've seen overwhelming results. After 1 year with a startup company they are seeing as many clicks per day through organic as they did before the SEO with a 3500 a month CPC program.

                                                                            It works and works well. Everything is white hat and nothing is spamming, cloaking or any other kind of "cheating".

                                                                            My site has been ranked well for over two years.

                                                                            Feel free to contact me if you're interested in purchasing...
                                                                            • 35. Re: Finally Flash SEO!!!
                                                                              IO90 Level 1

                                                                              But why do you find it so necessary to use flash in the first place? I mean, is flash the necessary mechanism for you to deliver the "bread and butter content" of your site? For example, I built this site for a guy who wanted a place to post a greyhound coupon code, and he wanted flash on the site, and I had to ask him, how is flash going to positively affect the user experience of the site given the intended purpose?  He said it would just "look cook."  Well, that's my point exactly, if it's just there to "look cool" you should definitely reconsider.  Go with what is tried and true, text, and forget trying to keep up with the latest and greates, then spending all you time trying to "jerry rig" it to work with your intended purpose.  Why waste the effort?