Search optimization checklist for RIAs

Source Adobe : This quick reference guide is intended to help you integrate search into the planning stages and production cycles you will encounter when developing RIAs.

To get the most out of this document, you should have a knowledge of Adobe Flash technologies and an advanced understanding of web development techniques related to SWF-based websites and applications. You should also read Search optimization techniques for RIAs, which provides detailed explanations of the techniques and topics discussed.

Establish search-related goals
Make sure you establish search-related goals in the planning stages of your project. Examples of search-related goals would be:

Improve ranking positions for certain keywords
Establish a top-five ranking for some business-critical terms
Drive x% more traffic from search
The traffic goals for your site should factor in search as a primary contributor. This will help you establish important goals that will drive technical and content decisions as you begin to build out your SWF application.

Keep in mind how the site content will help support business goals, in addition to complying with search engine requirements.

Create unique URLs for the important sections of your SWF file
Creating unique URLs for important sections of your SWF file, based on the keywords for which you want to optimize, will help search engines navigate into your SWF application and provide targeted results for the most relevant content.

Important sections of the site can be determined by your search goals. You may establish that there are 15 business-critical terms for which you must rank. In that case, you would need 15 unique URLs.

Don’t make your audience work to find the content they explicitly asked for.

Establish a 1:1 correlation between a Preferred Landing Page (URL) and a keyword and what the SWF file requirements will be. For example:

Keyword 1 –
example.swf defaults to show information related to Keyword 1
Keyword 2 –
example.swf defaults to show information related to Keyword 2
Keyword 3 –
example.swf defaults to show information related to Keyword 3
Use variables to control and display SWF content
This technique enables you to use the same SWF file to associate with each PLP URL, but control the state at which the SWF file opens to present the content for which the user is searching. Embed the same SWF file each time, but pass a variable into the SWF file to instruct what state to present. This is especially helpful with image viewers or video players. This is best accomplished by using PHP, Adobe ColdFusion, or ASP to write FlashVars, which is also available with SWFObject.

Object tag example:

Embed tag example:

Use the

In the

Reuse the design elements you used in your SWF file in the HTML. You should be able to do this with some simple CSS.

Reference the PUR Water Filtration System website as a good example.

Disable JavaScript in your browser to QA your content and design. This is a good representation of what the search engine will see.

Use XSL to control your data and content
Don’t build the same content twice. Use a single XML source to control the content in both the HTML and the SWF file.

By using Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL), you can alter the format of XML data, either into HTML or other formats that are suitable for a browser to display. This makes maintenance easier and ensures content accuracy.

Use HTML for the primary navigation
Make sure that your main navigation is in HTML. Search engines use the main navigation on websites to follow the links within the site, which helps them gain a better understanding of the site’s content. Monitor the progress of Adobe Flash Player for Search Engines, which helps Google and Yahoo! crawl SWF content.

Make strategic design decisions
Use SWF content to add visual interest and engagement where it makes a difference, not where it might burden either the user’s experience or the search engine’s task.

For the important PLPs (URLs), make sure not to over-design the animation and transition effects between sections and pages, since the browser will have to reload a new page each time. The transition effects (animations, fade in and out, and other such effects) can be very time-consuming to build.

Make sure to use actual text when creating animations that contain important marketing copy. A common mistake is to use an image or a flattened symbol in your SWF application to display text—or even creating text with ActionScript. Since Flash Player for Search Engines can read the contents within your SWF application, give it real text to read and ensure that the same text is available in the HTML source code.

For example, if you’ve decided that you need 15 unique URLs that will map to the 15 business-critical keywords that you have selected, and your SWF application has 45 total sections, use the other 30 sections for displaying the animations, transition effects, and other unique, rich interactive elements of your website.

Avoid pop-up windows
Pop-up windows create unique headaches for search engines trying to crawl your site, because search spiders cannot see them.

Structure your SWF content in a way that doesn’t rely on pop-up windows.

Avoid using a “Launch Flash site” button on your index HTML file that launches a pop-up window containing your SWF content.

Create an XML sitemap
XML sitemaps make it much easier for search engines, especially Google and Yahoo!, to crawl your site and interpret its content. An XML sitemap documents all the site pages you want the search engine to crawl. Use it to point the search engine to your important URLs. Set this up with a Google Webmaster Tools account.

Create an HTML sitemap
Both search engines and users can benefit from an HTML sitemap. This is a page on your site that contains links to all the sections of your site. The goal is to create additional links into the unique URLs that you’ve established. Apple’s sitemap is a good example of a format to follow.

Create a video sitemap
Video sitemaps are a specialized form of XML sitemap that optimize search for video assets. These are handy for sites that use a lot of video. They’re very similar to the XML sitemap. They use a simple XML format that enables you to specify not only the URL but also the location of a thumbnail preview image of the video. Set this up with a Google Webmaster Tools account.

Create a robots.txt file
A robots.txt file is a good way to steer search engines away from irrelevant content. It’s a simple way to control what content you want the search engine to crawl.

You place this plain-text file in the root directory of your web server. It tells the spider what files it is allowed to look at on that server.
Source Adobe:

Srinivas Katam

Do you need help growing your business? Srinivas Katam is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Consultant with over 200 successful SEO and Social Media client engagements completed. I’ve worked with brands across the world as a digital marketing consultant to deliver revenue growth from content-focused inbound marketing campaigns. He is an Innovative Marketer who specializes in digital marketing, specifically in social media, SEO and online strategy.

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