How To Go About Optimizing A Site Built Mainly In Flash

So here’s the deal. I work at a company that produces acoustic amplifiers and the bosses are finally starting to see the light about SEO. The only problem is that our website is mainly built with Flash. It has 3800+ inbound links and for all intents and purposes, seems to have more authority than the other sites ahead of us in SERPs yet only ranks 7th for our main keyword “acoustic amplification”. The bosses want to be #1, but I’m a little unsure how we would even go about improving our rankings with the current website.

  1. Is it possible to secure the #1 spot with the current website?
  2. If so, what are the best steps to take?
  3. Is it advisable to rebuild the site in a more search engine friendly software such as Wordpress?
  4. If so, how do you go about doing so without breaking any of the 3800+ inbound links?
  5. If you were to take on this project (getting the site improved rankings), what would you charge?

Your insight is greatly appreciated. Depending on your answers, we may need to outsource this project, so please help me make the best decision and you never know, you may just be the one for the job!

Thanks again.

Oh, the website is lrbaggs[.]com.

So what you need is to provide HTML alternative content for every flash animation you use so that those without flash (which includes all the search engines) have some alternate content that provides the same information.

  1. When your site has, as far as search engines are concerned, no content at all, it’s always going to be a struggle to rank well. To be honest, I’m surprised you’re as high up as 7th, you must have a very good link profile!

  2. As Felgall says, you need some content on there. Not just for search engines, but also for people who can’t access Flash content (including people using corporate networks, which sometimes block Flash). Ideally, you’d recreate the site in basic HTML, and offer that as an alternative, with links back to the relevant Flash state from each page, so that search engines can find content, and people who don’t want to, or can’t, use Flash can switch between the two as and when they choose to.

Another quick change I would make would be to get rid of the <meta keywords>, or at the very least trim it down to about a dozen or so. No major search engine pays attention to keywords any more. But it wouldn’t hurt to improve your <meta description> a bit more - you can safely make it up to about 160 chars, and that will help to draw people in.

  1. I’m not sure that I would describe Wordpress as “SEO friendly”! Like most platforms, it can be a PITA to use if you want anything more than the most basic functionality - yes, it is customisable, but that doesn’t always make it easy to use. If you’re able to build a site from scratch in HTML, that is almost always a better way to go, especially if you’re not going to be regularly adding lots of content.

  2. If at all possible, keep the pages at the current URLs. If you can’t do that, put a “Redirect 301” on each of the existing URLs to send people on to the relevant URL in the new site structure. That way, search engines will update their indexes, and anyone hitting on an old URL will still find the page they were looking for.

Awesome advice all thank you so much. Yeah the site really does have a lot of links to it, so that’s helping to keep it on the front page of Google, but it really should be dominating the competition (I’ve done a little research on each site ahead of us). Flash always ends up being a nightmare, but in this situation, it may be a recurring nightmare I don’t want to deal with. I’ll do some research on converting sites to html and some of the other points you have mentioned and try to get back here when things mnove forward.

Thanks again.

Or maybe you can check this one good resource out:

SEO | Adobe Developer Connection

One of the best methods to optimize your Flash pages is to use the NOEMBED tag, the same way the NOFRAMES tag is used to index the sites built on frames. It’s between the noembed and noembed tags that text content must be inserted after you have defined a clear search engine optimization strategy for Flash.

I would just create a text to Flash ratio that works. It is a pretty bell and whistle, but at the end of the day search engine spiders to text to crawl through. Big giant moveis just get in the way.

There’s no such tag as NOEMBED.

Assuming that you attach the Flash correctly using an <object> tag, the non-Flash alternative simply goes just before the </object> tag where it will be processed if the object tag can’t be and will be ignored if the object tag is processed.

If you use a proprietary embed tag instead of the more widely supported standard object tag then the alternate content goes between the <embed> and </embed> tags.

In neither case is the non-existant <noembed> tag needed (which is why that tag does not exist).

*** WARNING *** I’m going to be BRUTALLY frank.

The best optimization?

THROW that slow loading inaccessible content-less steaming pile of manure in the trash, and start over with semantic markup and something on the front page actually resembling CONTENT. Likewise swing a giant axe at nonsense like the use of image maps, IE conditionals for nothing, line-breaks doing padding’s job, paragraphs before non-paragraph elements, bold+BR doing numbered heading’s job, and endless jquery bloat for NOTHING.

When anything resembling content on the front page is in flash, AND it STILL blows 13k of markup on less than 256 bytes of actual content text on the page, it’s time to scrap it and start over clean. Hell, even simple things like the keywords meta is pointless due to the TOTAL LACK OF CONTENT (much less said meta really should be chopped down to 8 or 9 WORDS and <128 bytes in length – but with zero relevance to the page that’s just wasted bandwidth).

There’s a derogatory term for developers who make these types of sites – Flashtard. There is a reason it’s called Flash and not Substance, and combined with all the other faulty methodologies used to build the page… It’s a laundry list of “how not to build a website”. It’s even got nonsense like content cloaking, presentational images in the markup…

There is really NOTHING from that site I would even TRY to salvage. It’s a perfect example of everything WRONG with web development today.