Using Flash In Your Web Site: Do It With Caution

Web sites built using Macromedia’s Flash are fancy, flashy and nice looking. However, they take a longer time to load than plain HTML web sites, are often not indexed as well by search engines and for those users who do not have Flash plug-ins they have to download a free plug-in before they can view the Flash web site.
When building your web site, feel free to use Flash but let users click to the Flash part, don’t build the whole site in Flash.
Cnet writes That’s the anxiety that packed more than 100 Flash authors into a meeting room on Wednesday at San Francisco’s Herbst Theater during the Flashforward2005 conference, which runs through Friday. The main question on everyone’s mind: whether Google indexes pages written in Macromedia’s Flash animation format as well as it does “static” Web pages, such as those written in HTML, SHTML, ASP or PHP.
“Flash is a self-contained unit,” said workshop leader Gregory Cox, owner of the Leyline Web site promotion consultancy in Ventura, Calif. “The way search engine spiders work, they collect text–what I call ‘Google food.’ With Flash, there’s nothing for search engines to sink their teeth into.”
Cox acknowledged reports in the search optimization industry that Google was, in fact, capable of combing through Flash movies for keywords. (Google, which typically keeps mum on its indexing techniques, was not immediately available to comment for this report.)
But that doesn’t put Flash sites on equal footing with their static page competitors, Cox cautioned.
The chief hazard is a site written entirely in Flash. Cox said Google will treat that site as a single file. As a result, the site will lose out in important Google indexing metrics, like the ratio certain keywords make up within a page. On a 100 percent Flash site, Google will calculate that ratio based on the total word count of the site.