SWFAddress 2.0 & SEO Myth Busted

As you know I'm always looking for ways to help Flash developers make content accessible to search engines. Today I received a link to a site claiming to have the answer to that age old question, "How to SEO Flash"?

The site claims to have a sample of "SEO SWFAddress 2.0" code that "provides a better separation between the content and the presentation." Better than what I'm not sure! Either way, the urls in the "SEO sample" still contain #anchors. Googlebot ignores #anchors in URLs and I'm really hoping "SWFObject 2.0" isn't based around such a myth!

A good example of this is Google's cache of "SEO Sample" portfolio 2.
Here is what the user sees:
http://www.asual.com/swfaddress/samples/seo/#/portfolio/2/?desc=true

As you can see the two pages are different and that is called cloaking!

- Sample from SWFAddress 2.0 Website

12 thoughts on “SWFAddress 2.0 & SEO Myth Busted

  1. Shimrod

    This link :
    http://www.asual.com/swfaddress/samples/seo/portfolio/2/?desc=true
    goes to
    http://www.asual.com/swfaddress/samples/seo/#/portfolio/2/?desc=true

    that’s why it call SEO example I guess ?
    The swfaddress_seo() function transform http://domain.com/folder/ to http://domain.com/#/folder/

    “Generally the idea is to have a client-side redirect that produces exactly the same markup as the original page. This is why I call it “non-sneaky redirect” which conforms with the Google guidelines.”
    Says Rostislav Hristov from Usual here : http://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?thread_id=1879557&forum_id=630933

    Someone tell me if Im wrong ?
    Florent

  2. beussery

    Florent,

    “Generally the idea is to have a client-side redirect that produces exactly the same markup as the original page. This is why I call it “non-sneaky redirect” which conforms with the Google guidelines.”

    Yes but that is not the case here! Google ignores the URL after except the part prior to the #anchor.

  3. Pickle

    SWFAddress works as advertised. I know because I use it.

    Use a text-only web browser to Pull up any SWFAddress website that has been SEOed (try lynx on your comp, or most mobile browsers should do) and you will see exactly what the google bot sees. Yes, this is the same exact page that the regular browser sees, but you obviously get the non-flash content on the text-browser.

    If you have a Flash-enabled browser and enter this url:

    http://www.website.com/about

    you get redirected to this url automatically:

    http://www.website.com/#/about

    Google sends you to the first URL and you end up at the second… hope that makes sense.

    more info at…
    http://www.allflashwebsite.com

  4. beussery

    >If you have a Flash-enabled browser and enter this url:

    >http://www.website.com/about

    >you get redirected to this url automatically:

    >http://www.website.com/#/about

    >Google sends you to the first URL and you end up at the second… hope that makes sense.

    Thanks for your comment Pickle! I’m all to aware of how it works.

    The problem is that Google ignores #anchors. My point is not where “Google sends you” but where users send Google!

    When users with Flash post the #anchor URL in there address bar in a blog or another site they send Google to website.com because as I said above Google ignores the #anchor.

    So, I hope that makes sense to you and best of luck!

    -beu

  5. Pickle

    beu,

    The issue you described only occurs when someone ELSE links to your site. This is indeed a problem! It’s probably one of the biggest drawbacks to the method.

    However, there are workarounds like having a bookmark button on the page that links to the address without the # in it. Obviously, it’s not perfect. AJAX applications also suffer from similar problems.

  6. beussery

    @ Pickle

    PageRank is all about “someone ELSE” linking to your site. You are correct, it is not an optimal solution for optimized content or SEO!

  7. beussery

    “…our algorithms will index the URL without the anchor.” means that Googlebot will only index URLs without anchors and/or the URL prior to the anchor. Either way, not the URL.

  8. Pickle

    Do you think that when a person links to a Google Map from his webpage he copies the URL from the address bar or clicks on the “Link to this Page” button? Honestly, I don’t know what percentage of people click that link, but I suspect that most people who link to other websites are savvy enough to click it.

    Google Maps does not use Flash! Keep in mind that this problem is not so much a Flash problem as it is a Web 2.0 problem. In the simplest sense, Web 2.0 is the ability for a web page to update information without reloading that page. This very import functionality was built on top of a platform (Web 1.0) that had no idea what Web 2.0 would look like and thus there are definately some pitfalls.

    The real question here is, are you prepared to forgo Web 2.0 and all that it has to offer? Can you afford to ignore this revolutionizing technology in order to satisfy a short-sighted analysis of SEO that assumes that having a better website because of Web 2.0 won’t drive more people to your website?

    I’m sorry but there is not 1 answer to every problem. The decision to adopt new web technology should always begin with an analysis of the new tech benefits vs compatibility drawbacks.

  9. beussery

    Pickle, I agree with all you have said! My issue is that Asual markets SWFAddress as the 1 answer in their SEO sample seen here: http://www.asual.com/swfaddress/samples/seo/

    Since my original post, I’ve pointed this out to Asual’s founder Rostislav Hristov and as a result they have added a “Copy link to clipboard” link at the bottom of each page. Like what you said about Google Maps, I’m not sure anyone uses it but it is a step in the right direction.

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