Google Can Index Flash

In a dramatic shift from everything SEOs hold near and dear, the Webmaster Central blog today posted that Google can now index text inside Flash content.What does this mean? Google can read and index “almost any text a user can see” inside Flash content. Wow. What… really?  Does this mean we can tell our clients that they can have their designers have at it with Flash?

Not likely, but this makes an interesting point. Now we need to discover just how flash text affects rankings.  This opens up a whole new series of questions. How important is the text? Is there any hierarchy to the importance of flash text over inline HTML text? Is there any hierarchy within the SWF object, itself? Do bullet lists in the SWF file mean anything?

What about spamming? Can developers now stuff keywords into flash content simply for the sake of rankings?  Will text embedded in an SWF file become  the new “alt text” for stuffing key words?

But there’s so much more from an under-the-hood stand point. In Flash, text boxes can be turned into graphical objects or simply left as text fields. Can Google read the text when they have been converted to objects, too? Either way, when a client asks you to look at their Flash-based site, source .FLA files may still needed for a complete analysis. Certainly changing any “on-page” elements will need source file access. This gives a lot more for SEOs to be concerned with.

While this is interesting news, a lot of watching needs to be done to see if sites done in Flash get any bump in rankings.

Thoughts from my fellow SEO-ers?