The indexing of Flash files has been something that designers have been begging Google to improve for many years so this is the equivalent of the graphical web designer’s wet dream.
Google can now index any kind of textual content embedded in Flash files. They can also discover URLs. From the official Google blog post:
“In addition to finding and indexing the textual content in Flash files, we’re also discovering URLs that appear in Flash files, and feeding them into our crawling pipeline—just like we do with URLs that appear in non-Flash webpages. For example, if your Flash application contains links to pages inside your website, Google may now be better able to discover and crawl more of your website.”
The new technology was made possible in part due to Adobe’s Searchable SWF library:
“We’ve developed an algorithm that explores Flash files in the same way that a person would, by clicking buttons, entering input, and so on. Our algorithm remembers all of the text that it encounters along the way, and that content is then available to be indexed. We can’t tell you all of the proprietary details, but we can tell you that the algorithm’s effectiveness was improved by utilizing Adobe’s new Searchable SWF library.”
As a SEO who repeatedly bashes heads with web designers who worship at the Almighty Altar of Bells and Whistles, this is great news. Maybe now I can co-design web sites that both look good AND get indexed without finding myself at the bottom of the design team’s Christmas card list.
Thanks to the delightful Karon Thackston for the heads up.