Google indexes swf files !…?…:(

25 08 2007

Google indexes swf!!! I had trouble believing it when I saw this “news” from 2004.
(click here for reference if you haven’t heard.)

The reasons I am astonished are as following:
1. As a Flash developer, swf files are the only products we produce so far. If such thing existed three years ago, we should have known for at least two years and three hundred days by now.
2. Flash haters argue that swf files are not SEO (Search Engine Optimized) , so they prefer sites with javascript and/or other scripting languages over Flash sites. That is why we have been struggling so hard to make our sites SEO. Why hasn’t anybody told us this yet?

I googled the keyword”filetype:swf” and yes the news is true. Google does index swf files. No question there. Then how come we haven’t heard yet?

I think the major reason lies here: how Google indexes swf files is Google extracts text strings stored in the swf files and indexes them as the keywords. However we try to make content of sites dynamic by using external xml files to store the text strings. I don’t think Google indexes xml files well* yet, so all the content in xml files are “hidden” from Google spiders. 🙂  (* [added on September 11th,2007]As a test, I googled the keyword “  filetype:xml“, the result returned nothing however I know there are several xml files on the site for sure.)

You can see even swf files on large Flash sites such as which gets over 10,000 hits per day don’t get indexed. (Compare the search results of the keyword “filetype:swf” and keyword “filetype:swf“)

Then I clicked on the links Google provide when I search for “filetype:swf“. It showed the mere swf file, with no embedding html or any constraint. Because many swf files are designed to “fit the window”, they looked terribly scaled up in the browser window. Sorry Google but I think they look horrible when scaled up. Yucks. 😦 Do the users really want to see this? Or do the site owners really want to see this? I know I don’t like my site when it happens.

According to the news above, Macromedia made a program that extracts text strings and converts them to html page metadata. Obviously, it is one of Macromedia’s SEO attempts. But it is not as popular as other products from Macromedia/Adobe. I guess it is also because we love external xml files! ha.

So now we know Google indexes swf files. My recommendations to those who wanted to make Flash sites SEO but didn’t know what to do: create a huge textfield on the main timeline in your swf file somewhere off stage, and put all the keywords in there. To those who are concerned that their sites will look bad when users come from Google’s swf index, (like me), avoid putting meaningful words in the swf files and keep using external xml files. (Have you tried AS3 yet? The XML object is super in AS3!) Keep working hard, Adobe.




2 responses

10 09 2007

I have find a utility called Polar SWF MetaData
Are this can help to index Swf file on serach engine ?

14 06 2013

I have gone ahead and added a backlink back to your website from one
of my clients requesting it. I’ve used your webpage URL: and blog title: Google indexes swf files !?:( | Interactive Section to insure you get the correct anchor text. If you woud like to see where your hyperlink has been placed, please email me at: Thank you

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