A prospective client of mine commented that he was considering a pay-per-click campaign to promote his website as he had been told that it would be difficult to gain good ranking in the organic search engine listings (SERPS) for his Flash site.
It’s true that Flash is not particularly friendly as far as the search engines are concerned. Search engines prefer simple and quick to follow web pages, and not a complex and difficult to navigate web site. If it is important for you to have a Flash website (for example to show off your artistic or design skills), then a pay-per-click (ppc) campaign may be the best way to drive large numbers of visitors to your site. Even then you will need to pay close attention to your site structure. Visitors who click through an advert to arrive at a website will want to see very swift evidence that they have arrived at a relevant site, otherwise they will click away again very quickly. So it is important to land them at a page on your website that gives them the information they are looking for – they may not want to wait for a movie to run, or to try to guess which particular graphic they need to click to take them to the area they need.
If you have to use Flash and still want a crack at reasonable SEO, then make sure you still make good use of the title and meta tags, and try to include as much ‘real’ text in the website as possible.
Hint: To get a good idea of what a search engine spider will see when it visits your site, try using a Text-mode browser (e.g. Lynx) to view the site, try searching for a search engine simulator, or use the ‘Fetch as Google’ tool in Webmaster Tools to see how Google renders your site!
You may want to consider running an HTML equivalent of your Flash website. You can target your adword clicks to the HTML site whilst giving visitors the option to jump to your flash site once they are there. The HTML site will also be better ranked in the organic search listings as well. The downside is the extra cost of maintaining two sites and keeping them in step, although it does give you the best of both worlds – you can also see which one generates the most interest, the best comments, and of course the most business.