Google Improves Flash Indexing Capabilities

    June 21, 2009
    Chris Crum

Last year, Google began crawling and indexing Flash content, but now Google has announced that it can also index external resource loading. In other words, Google can index external content that loads within an SWF file, and associate it with that file, so that it will appear in search results.

For example, a site that loads something like this in Flash:

Transporter Flash file

..might appear in a Google SERP like this:

This is new to Google’s Flash-crawling abilities. On Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Software Engineer Janis Stipins breaks down just what Google can do when it encounters SWF files:

– Index textual content displayed as a user interacts with the file. We click buttons and enter input, just like a user would.

–  Discover links within Flash files.

–  Load external resources and associate the content with the parent file.

–  Support common JavaScript techniques for embedding Flash, such as SWFObject and SWFObject2.

– Index sites scripted with AS1, AS2, and AS3 even if the ActionScript is obfuscated.

With regards to AS3, Stipins says, "The ActionScript version isn’t particularly relevant in our Indexing process, so we support older versions of AS in addition to the latest."

Webmasters who have SWF files on the web that don’t want them or any of their external resources crawled, can take care of this with their robots.txt file.