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Flash, Standards + SEO

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Flash, Standards + SEO

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11/16/05, 07:36 PM

In response to Galina Arlov's "W3C Compliance & Macromedia Flash" article:

It's always great to see web designers moving towards Web Standards. I have a few suggestions to help you out in your journey.

First off, concerning embedding Flash, your best option is to use FlashObject. It detects the browser and Flash version and writes the appropriate Flash content to the page, so there's no need to create different versions of your pages for different browsers. It's standards compliant, and best of all, since it works by replacing existing HTML content with Flash content, it's helpful for SEO.

Concerning Web Standards, Valor Cross Media is written with XHTML, so it's on the right track. It's very close to validating (just a few minor warnings that don't harm the integrity of the page), which is helpful for search engines. However, it is not standards compliant. Most notably, it incorrectly uses tables for the page layout. As Web Standards evangelist Jeffrey Zeldman has preached, a true standards compliant website should separate "style from content, using structural markup for data, and CSS for all aspects of visual layout control." To understand what that actually means, I'd recommend checking out The Web Standards Project. It will help you learn the what and why of Web Standards.

There certainly seems to be definite SEO value in using web standards, including following Accessibility Guidelines, when coding websites. I myself am not an SEO expert, and I'm not sure the value of Google's PageRank anymore, but for what it's worth, when I launched Flash Pearls (which is coded with Web Standards) earlier this year, it received an initial PageRank of 5. For a new site with virtually no backlinks and not a lot of pages, I'd at least like to think the way I coded the site contributed to that (and admittedly, it's still not 100% compliant, but better off than most websites out there).

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