When Flash Strikes: Another SEO Disaster

The following is what I just emailed someone who contacted me about why their site isn’t showing up in the top 500 Google results for “interior decorator denver”:

I looked at your site, and it falls into a common trap: Flash. Because most of the content of your site is a Flash movie, there’s really nothing for robots to consume. They can’t look inside Flash (or photos, or images, or movies, etc.). So they return to the Google mother ship and pretty much shrug their shoulders when the mother ship asks “What is the site about? What terms should it rank for? How high?”

Sure, your designer put in meta tags, but a) too many and b) Google’s not going to rely blindly on them when nothing else says what the site is about.

Flash isn’t inherently evil when used sparingly, but when it’s the “everything” of the site, search rankings suffer.

That’s it in a nutshell. Common problem.

I know that Adobe is making effort to have Flash be more transparent to bots, but I kept it out of this email conversation because it may or may not be what the client ends up choosing to do. I’ll provide an array of choices.

We plan to meet next week and get him out of this SEO mess.

I’m not anti-Flash (I use it on this site), I’m anti-dumb-use-of-Flash.

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Check your server that handles PayPal Instant Payment Notifications

From a client:

“We’re getting emails from PayPal that say Please check your server that handles PayPal Instant Payment Notifications (IPN). IPNs sent to the following URL(s) are failing. Matt, what does this mean?”

I’ve gotten the same warnings. I traced it to work I did long ago on my site that was just exploratory development work — i.e.: it doesn’t do anything on my server, not critical to my sites.

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