A couple days ago, I got a request to do an article detailing some link building tips for Flash Websites. So today, we’re going to cover some of the strategies I would consider when building backlinks to a Flash Website.
First and foremost, let’s get one thing straight. Search engines (most notably Google) can index Flash text/content. They can even follow link links within Flash files. Heck, they’ve been doing it since 2008.
Given that, do I recommend that you build your website in Flash? I wouldn’t. Here’s why.
It has been well documented in the SEO world that Flash websites are fairly tough to optimize. Among their many issues are:
- One URL. Typically, Flash websites are all built under one URL. This means that many pages are contained, dynamically, in one .swf file. As a result, Flash sites can lose the extra SEO power and flexibility that is often present in a multi-page website.
- Sparce content. Due to their inherent nature, Flash websites often have less content and are often unable to compete with sites or URLs that have many content-rich pages.
- Lack of deep links. As we said above, most Flash sites lack the ability to gain equity from links pointing to deeper pages within the site.
- Slow load times. Page-load times with Flash are often considerably higher than regular HTML pages – thus hurting their rank and user experience. Search engines tend to like pages that load quickly and tend to rank the faster-loading pages more favorably (if all other things are equal).
So now you understand the complications that can arise when trying to optimize a Flash website. This isn’t to say that Flash websites don’t have their place. However, unless you’re a large brand or have built a website that is highly relevant from a social perspective or highly engaging from a user perspective it’s best to go with a traditional HTML site – you can use HTML5 or jQuery to do your animations instead.
With all that being said, having a Flash website is not the end of the world, and there are still things you can do from a link building perspective to help your site rank well for your target keyword phrases.
5 Link Building Tips for Flash Websites
I think you’ll find that these link building tips will hold true with regular websites.
#1. Focus On Quality Links, Not Quantities of Links
Links are like “votes” for a website. The more votes (i.e. links) that a website has, the more relevant that it must be from a Search Engine’s Point of View (SEPOV). This may seem simple, but I assure you that it isn’t that simple.
Sure search engines may perceive your site as being more relevant if it has a lot of links, but the thing you’re forgetting is not all links are created equal. Some inbound links are more valuable than others.
For example, a link from the Wall Street Journal will likely carry as much (and probably more) weight than 100 links from various low-end blogs. From a SEPOV, the Wall Street Journal – who themselves have a solid link portfolio – is likely to be more trusted than a collection of lower quality websites.
The so what? Link building takes a lot of time and can be difficult – Flash or no Flash. So, why waste time building 100 low-quality links when 1 high-quality link will do the trick to move your site up in the rankings?
#2. Use Target Keywords in Your Link Anchor Text
Getting your target keywords into the visible, aka anchor, HTML text of the links that point to your site is one of the most important and fundamental link building strategies you can employ.
From a Flash link building standpoint, having quality anchor text becomes even more important when you consider that Flash websites typically don’t have a lot of text to begin with – in essence limiting much of their ability to target specific keywords.
For example, if you wanted to rank for the keyword ‘outdoor gardening’, then it would be important that when people link to you they use that keyword as the link anchor text. Search engines will use this anchor text to get and understanding of what your site is about and your topical relevance. In a Flash website, this may be one of the only ways you can diversify your keyword targeting.
Here is the HTML code used to generate the above link within a Web page:
The most important parts are:
- The URL (Uniform Resource Locator): This is the web address of the Web page being linked to.
- Anchor text: This is the visible text of the link (in this case it’s: Search Engine Optimization).
#3. Diversify Your Link Anchor Text
The key point to remember is that search engines like natural link structure and hate what they perceive as an artificial link structure. Natural links tend to vary in anchor text, while artificial links tend to be identical or have anchor text that is suspiciously uniform.
So from a SEPOV, having varying anchor text is a good thing that will serve to pass along more equity to your website in the long run. From a Flash-Link Building point of view, having anchor text that varies gives you the chance to target a wider array of keywords where your Flash website’s content may be lacking.
Strive to maintain slight variations in your inbound link anchor text to ensure that it appears as if the sites that are maintaining them were generating the anchor text independently and naturally.
#4. Get Topical Links
Links coming from pages that are topically-related to yours are considered to be of a high quality (i.e. more relevant) from a SEPOV. For example, if your site is about ‘outdoor gardening’ and you got a link from a high-end gardening blog, then that would be good.
A search engine will recognize not only the link anchor text in this case, but the playground where your site is playing so to speak as indicators on what your site may be relevant for. Flash or no Flash, this is just a good link building practice.
#5. Diversify Your Link Sources
Again, this falls into the category of looking natural. Having a wide portfolio of inbound links from a variety of sources is a great way to help search engines understand your relevance. And like we stated above, if the link sources are topical the better.
Trying to acquire links from a variety of URLs gives you a chance to be creative. You can do anything from guest posting, to writing press releases, to submitting your site to topical directories. Every little bit helps.
Again, quality is a main factor to consider here. Strive to acquire links from as many high-quality and topical sources as you can, and you will gain equity and build your link portfolio gradually – all while looking entirely natural from a SEPOV.
Anyhow, those are all the pointers for today. Follow these 5 link building tips and you should be well on your way to building a solid search presence – even if you do have a Flash website.