Google reads Flash … sort of
Every now and then in forums, someone advises that Google reads Flash, as if that’s the beginning and the end of the discussion. Having messed around with Flash a bit, I always think, “Yes, but how do you get H tags and other HTML tags into Flash?” — because you can’t.
Now Matt Cutts has given a bit more clarification in Stephen Spencer’s most excellent Interview with Matt Cutts:
I think that we do a pretty good job of reading textual content. Now, stuff within Flash is binary and you can define it in terms of characters and strokes – so you can have things that look like normal text – but that are completely weird and are not really normal text. So it can be difficult to pull the text out a Flash file. I think we do pretty well.
It used to be the case that we had our own, home-brew code to pull the text out of Flash, but I think that we have moved to the search engine SDK tool that Adobe/Macromedia offers. So, my hunch is that most of the search engines will standardize on using that search engine SDK tool to pull out the text. The easiest way to know whether you have textual content that can be read in a Flash file, is that you could always use that tool yourself and verify as well.
So, great: Google may well indeed read all the text in a particular Flash file. The question remains, though: would the text in that Flash file rank as well as regular HTML text?
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