Flash search engine experiment

Triggered by a comment on my recent Flash SEO post I decided to set up my own experiment to find out if, and to what extent search engines index Flash content.

The movie you see above and the text file it loads contain five words that are currently not in Google’s index.

  • One is in a static text field, Flash’s simplest way of displaying text.
  • Another is put into a dynamic text field using actionscript.
  • A third is loaded in from a text file and put into a dynamic field.
  • That text file contains an extra variable to see whether SEs index the file.
  • The last one is declared in the movie’s actionscript, but not displayed.

I’m pretty sure the first one will get indexed, but if any of the others show up in Google I’ll be surprised.

It’ll take a little while for search engines to index these pages, but once they do we’ll have a better understanding of how they see Flash content. Until then, please don’t post my “words” anywhere. Thanks. I’ll be sure to post the results as soon as I get them.

[EDIT]The result are here.[/EDIT]


  1. Cool experiment and one I NEED to find an answer to ASAP. According to this URL: http://www.learnthat.com/computers/learn.asp?id=1774&index=32 using an external plain text file and a Dynamic Text Field, the search engines didn’t seem to pick up on it. “Conclusion: A Flash site that loads most of its information dynamically is probably SOL from an SEO perspective.” This, if true, is not want I wanted to find out. That is exactly what I am trying to do for a client, who wants to manage her own content. * So, I am hoping you find out something different in your experiment. Otherwise, it’s all about PHP, .NET, WordPress or something else that my client will have to pay for and learn. Updating a Plain Text file and having it render in a Dynamic Text Field was (I though) the perfect solution… My fingers are still crossed that there is some encouraging news from your test here.



    Comment by shorescores — March 15, 2007 @ 7:26 pm

  2. I’m pretty confident that you’ll only ever going to find text that is in text fields on the stage. Nothing that gets set dynamically. Indexing content that gets set through actionscript would require the seach engine to interpret the code. Google, apparently, is working on a javascript engine for their bot (allowing AJAX based site to be indexed more easily), but actionscript is likely to be much further down their wishlist.

    If you read my original article, you’ll see that the SFWObject method of embedding the Flash movie into HTML offers the ability to add content that will only be seen by people without Flash and SEs. If you’re really using a plain text file, why not have a simple PHP script dump the entire contents of that file into the html page? That could be done in one or two lines of code I believe… a simple include statement even perhaps? I for one would really like to know if that works for your client.

    PS. The tutorial you’re referring to is ancient. if you’re still using “loadVariables”, you might want to look up “LoadVars” in the Actionscript Dictionary for newer ways to load external content.

    Comment by Roy — March 15, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

  3. Your first word has been indexed successfully.

    Comment by Quantic — April 16, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

  4. check it, google imporved and now track flash websites. Word 2 – deebrixability results:

    [FLASH] condreexability static text field dynamic text field, content set …
    File Format: Shockwave Flash
    deebrixability. static text field. dynamic text field, content set through actionscript. undefined. dynamic text field, content loaded from text file.
    http://www.roytanck.com/wp-content/uploads/setest.swf – Similar pages

    Comment by Darius — January 6, 2009 @ 2:16 am

  5. Yeah I noticed that. Most of the hidden stuff still isn’t shown, but there’s some definite improvement.

    Comment by Roy — January 6, 2009 @ 2:18 pm