SEO for Flash Websites – SWFObject

There have been some versions of SWFObject out there for some time. In the beginning, SWFObject was called FlashObject and was developed in order for you to put an alternate, HTML version, of your content as well as your designed flash content on your site.

Considering todays blog discussion at walternaeslund.com about Lowe Brindfors, and his previous posting about Forsman & Bodenfors, I will start a series of blog posts about how to implement Flash on a website that makes it:

  1. Accessible by people regardless of disabilities
  2. Accessible by Google spiders

As a person I try to find solutions and thus this is what I bring to the discussion table. A series of how tos’ aimed to solve a problem with web bureaus not utilizing all that is good with the web format.

SEO for Flash Websites – Using SWFObject
There have been some versions of SWFObject out there for some time. In the beginning, SWFObject was called FlashObject and was developed in order for you to put an alternate, HTML version, of your content as well as your designed flash content on your site.

Basically, FlashObject detected whether or not the visitor could run javascript or not. As most search engines back then couldn’t execute javascript, they saw the HTML-version of the website rather than the SWF-file (flash file) which for a search engine is similar to an image. (Ie. as they only read the code, an image file name is little to read and thus most of what is in or on the image is not indexed by the search engine.)

Sites that adopted this technique of flash inclusion found themselves with an advantage to those websites that used the old “param, object” includsion technique.

SWFObject evolved
I have no clue if this was the reason, but I am guessing either boredom or will to constantly evolve and get better, improved the FlashObject. Todays SWFObject can read external content files and you can create variables to send into your flash file depending upon who your user is. Thus the modern SWFObject gives you the freedom to both develop flash websites that takes into account what user you are and what you’ve done previously.

The most common use of these variables (FlashVars) are however that you can include variable content in the same file. Ie. different languages, different images, different video sources. But ofcourse, the initial purpose is still satisfied.

This is a gross simplification of the process and what you can do, and it is actually not entirely accurate as you could use FlashVars in other inclusion techniques as well. However, for the sake of conversation.

How to use SWFObject
Well, there is really no point in me rewriting what has allready been said better by the creator of the SWFObject – Geoff Stern.

Learn how to include flash files with this SWFObject Video Tutorial from gotoandlearn.com.

I would also like to recommend all of you flash programmers out there to watch this a complete “How to build a flash website tutorial”. First episode below:

//Jesper

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