30 June 2010
Multimedia Tip of the Week
by Lesa Seibert, President, Xstreme Media
The Internet is starting to fill with podcasts, audio files, video files and all sorts of multimedia content. There is only one problem, search engines cant see or hear. Since their appearance on the Internet, none of these formats contribute to a page's search rankings. That is because search engines are text engines. Everything they index and follow is text - they can't see pictures, they can't see videos and they can't hear audio. But, things are changing.
Search engines are better than ever at indexing multimedia, if it is optimized properly. From Flash elements, to presentations and soon spoken words in videos. We will look at how things are changing in the online world of multimedia optimization in this two-part series.
The first format we will discuss are Flash and Flash video files. Flash has always been discouraged because of the inability to index in search engines. Things are changing, though. Adobe released specific Flash code to Google and Yahoo! in 2008, which gave them the ability to index the content but not the images in Flash files. According to Google's Webmaster Central blog:
"We've improved our ability to index textual content in SWF files of all kinds. This includes Flash "gadgets" such as buttons or menus, self-contained Flash websites and everything in between. [We can index] all of the text that users can see as they interact with your Flash file. Also, the words that appear in your Flash files can be used to match query terms in Google searches. [However], placing the text within an image will make it effectively invisible to us. We do not index FLV files, such as the videos that play on YouTube, because these files contain no text elements."
When you optimize a Flash file for the Internet, it is important to understand what can and can't be read by the search engines. The following items are those elements that can be read by the search engines:
- Titles of Flash presentations
- On-screen content
- Banner content
- Menu words
- Button labels
- Other forms of text
Text is the key word here. If you can read it and it is visible then the chances are good that the search engines can now index that content. If you have never optimized your Flash files, it is the best time to do that to make sure that search engine friendly text is included.
In part II of our discussion, we will look at video optimization.
*Resource - Website Magazine, March 2010