Flash vs. 21,150 Search Engine Keywords
In my quest to build beautiful, exciting, and effective websites with Flash I decided to come up with a list of 20,000+ keywords for submission to Google etc... I wrote a little script that would combine keywords to make additional keywords. I created a few arrays with certain terms that would play nice with other terms. I then ran the script and tried to loop through each Array and combine the terms to create keyword phrases or Google Food as Gregory Cox would put it. I thought that Flash would be able to concatenate the string and push it into a text field on the stage without any problem. It turns out that Flash has a huge issue with writing to the text box each time it updated and ran through the loop.
The match was like Mike Tyson against Michael Spinks or Carl "The Truth" Williams. In less than 95 secs each was easily defeated. I chatted with my Friend and Flash Expert Tyler Wright and thusly took the heavy lifting away from Flash and instead made a variable that would store the data.After the nested loops had finished I throw the variable into the text field.
The result turned everything around. Flash turned back into the superhero that it has always been and kicked it out in less than one second. I kept adding to the array to see how it would handle even more data. I also tried putting the data into a Trace statement in the same way I tried to push the data to the text box. The result was slower than writing to the text field after the loops finish but the fun part about using trace() is that it will only retain a certain number of the results. The "Output window" will retain only 9999 items according to my test. Flash will process the entire amount but will only display the last 9999.
So this is what I learned from this exercise.
- Abstract the processing from the display. In other words set up a variable to store the data while looping and then only display that data when the looping is complete.
- The output window will only display the last 9999 results from any trace or combined traces.
- Flash AS 2 with Flash 8 can not handle repeated updates into a text field with large(really large) strings
Stay tuned for all the Search engine tips and tricks of how to optimize Flash files for optimization
So the other day I had an interesting conversation with Parker Garlitz of Patrick Henry & Associates, a noted Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert and 2-time Dungeons & Dragons champion. The discussion was something like this -
"The best thing you can do for www.directpointe.com is take off all Flash from your site. This is going to sound crazy but you need to 'uglify' your site to get people to conversion." Patrick said. "Flash is the worst thing you can do to your site if you want search engines to find it."
He was very adamant about the fact that Macromedia Flash can not be crawled by search engines. Because I challenged him on this fact, he said tell me one site that uses Flash extensively and ranks on search engines.
So, I decided to take him up on the offer. Here are my findings.
I searched out what the most searched keywords are. I went with the results from Google, Yahoo, and AOL. I typed these into the search engines and this is what I came up with. This list was gathered on 8/22/06.
Websites that show up on page one of Google and use Flash extensively.
Search Term - Sports
Search Term - Tour de France
Search Term - World Cup
Search Term - Talk Show
Search Term - NASCAR
Search Term - Computer
Search Term - Music
Search Term - News
Search Term - NFL
Search Term - Pizza
Other notable sites that use Flash extensively
Canadian National Budget
Zions Bank - Promotion
Zions Bank - Microsite
Even Walmart has gotten into the act.
Most car manufacturer, fashion designers, sports teams, movie websites, airlines, computer makers, cell phone companies, universities, governments, etc... etc.... etc... use Macromedia Flash extensively. That seems like a lot of smart people to me. There must be a reason for using Flash to get people to conversion. The fact is that Flash can be crawled and flash elements can be effective. The days of Flash being invisible to Google and the gang are over.
Stay tuned for the next blog on how to Optimize Flash the right way for SEO and the results of making www.DirectPointe.com compelling, effective, viral, and searchable.