When it comes to search engine optimisation and Web design practices, there are different sides to a coin. Because rich media sites such as those designed in Flash are generally more visually appealing, there are a substantial number of designers and clients out there that would not mind to sacrifice proper SEO for these sort of designs. Fortunately, Google (Googlebot) can now crawl and index text content of Flash files, although there are still problems with accessing the content of other rich media formats such as Silverlight. This means that important keywords can still be missed by the Google crawler. The same also applies to video file contents, hence the importance of using transcripts and detailed description of the video inside your HTML.
When it comes to iFrames, there is no guarantee either that they will be indexed and available to appear in Google search result pages. Thus, if you must use iFrames, ensure that you provide extra text-based links to the content being displayed so they can be crawled and indexed by Googlebot. Generally, some of the best practices that can be adopted when using rich media files are summarised below:
- Using rich media only where and when necessary.
- Always provide text versions of pages. If you must use a rich media intro, make sure that there is a regular HTML link on the front page that links to a text-based page where a user or Google crawlers can navigate through without the need for rich media.
- When rich media is used, other content and navigation should be written in HTML.
Do you have any other recommendations that have not been mentioned above?