How to optimise Flash for search engines.

22Apr The End of Flash?

Wow, it’s been a while since I updated this, really should use it to it’s full potential, especially as FLASH Icon MAY NOT BE AROUND FOR MUCH LONGER!

Okay, that’s a huge lie.

Sure, Apple may be killing off Flash on their products and HTML 5 can explode videos (among other cool stuff) but while that’s the future the present most certainly sees Flash as being around for a long while.

The <video> tag may (very) slowly kill off Flash videos but you won’t be seeing the end of games and sites built with with Flash for a while.

Some facts (and by facts I mean things that I’m currently thinking)

  • Flash has about a 98% adoption rate on non-iPhone/iPad products. That won’t change any time soon and despite it’s flaws it’s still a very good way to embed video. Remember Adobe Icon have been doing this for 10 years and HTML is only just starting to do this.
  • Begun the codec wars has and until there’s a victor or agreement between H.264 and Ogg is resolved, HTML 5 adoption is going to be hurt a lot. This could potentially even have a HD-DVD/Blu-Ray type outcome with people being reluctant to jump on the new tech and something better (digital distribution in that example) is almost ready.
  • It will be long time until everyone’s browser can display HTML 5. Surprisingly it doesn’t work in IE6! By the time companies update their browsers and even all browsers are able to display videos in HTML 5 it could be close to 2020!
  • If HTML 5 video doesn’t work in some unforseen aspect how will it be updated? Do we wait 10 years for HTML 6? While browser developers will be able to make edits to how things display themselves (bonus!) when I think about how the different browsers render just now I don’t look forward to seeing another element that will require hacks.
  • How can videos be monetised in HTML 5? Forcing viewers to watch an ad before showing the clip is possible in Flash, and I guess you can add ads directly to the video before uploading but I don’t see how it’s possible to append an ad to the beginning of a video (which doesn’t mean it isn’t) in HTML 5. Somebody smarter than me care to wade in? Overlay ads should still be possible but if H.264 charges $2,000 (per region) for videos over 12 minutes that you receive revenue on it’s going to be pretty expensive running ads on these videos (again, unless Ogg wins).
  • The play/pause controls on HTML 5 are ugly as sin.
  • Actionscript Icon, Flex and Flash still allow more creativity than Javascript, HTML and CSS. That’s not to say things can’t be accomplished with HTML.
  • What HTML 5 may mean is more people disabling Flash in their browser (like an adblocker) this could cause problems for publishers. As an inconvenience, disabling and enabling Flash to watch a video is a pain in the ass. If I could still do 99% of what I want on the web but see 50% less ads I’d be inclined to just disable Flash entirely.
  • Will HTML 5 actually kill Silverlight more than Flash?
  • Will SVG get a boost from HTML 5?
  • How well does it do porn? icon biggrin

Okay, I’m done. HTML 5 raises a lot of issues (and a lot of SEO opportunities!) but I don’t see it killing Flash off just yet.

18May Flash n SEO

Just discovered a quality Flash Icon and SEO site that deserves much more attention for those serious about using Flash than I do. They’re doing what I should be doing!

It’s called Flash’n'SEO.

Check out their experiments page to get the inside scoop on Flash indexing, plus they have an absolutely pimp design going on.

04Mar Twitter for business. You’re doing it wrong!

There was a short exchange on Twitter between myself (@StalkerB) and Michael Gray (@Graywolf) which was prompted when I saw this Tweet from him.

“I love that easytweets lets me set up a whole day tweeting for my multiple commercial accounts in less than 30 minutes a day”

To which I replied

“@graywolf Tweeting for business. You’re doing it wrong.”

Which was slightly mis-interpreted as if I thought businesses shouldn’t use Twitter, which is why he wrote back

“@StalkerB tweeting for business is wrong? you wanna rethink that tweet and do it over”

While I was elaborating slightly with

“@graywolf Depends what Tweets you schedule, pumping out promos every hour instead of interacting with people is not what it’s about, is it?”

So, my initial response wasn’t at all to do with businesses not using Twitter but everything to do with how I see the use of Twitter. After a bit of reflection I thought I should make that view clearer.

Twitter is the new web darling and after 3 years (birthday soon?) on the go seems poised to be jumped on by every business, marketer and spammer around; although it’s still a few years away from being used by your mum. It provides a unique opportunity for group level discussion and answers from companies to consumers but if history proves anything it’s that companies don’t know how to interact with customers and new media will be ignored or abused.

The absolute best thing about Twitter (to me) is how instant it is. The instant search is brilliant http://search.twitter.com/, Twitscoop let’s me see what people are buzzing about that I didn’t even know existed and the breaking news that sweeps across the Twit-o-sphere (that’s not a word, please don’t repeat it anywhere) is nothing short of a phenomenon.

As for what prompted my comment, EasyTweets is a great tool when used well but as companies get on board they’re not going to appreciate the value in interacting on Twitter so some poor sap is going to have to write a regimented 5 Tweets a day on corporate BS and will use EasyTweet to do it. Alternatively @TwitterSpammer (not registered, get on it!) will set up 100 accounts each to Tweet the same link to some shoddy money making scheme and now be able to do so quickly and efficiently.

So with all that in mind, scheduling Tweets for 4/8/16+ hours from now seems like a bad idea and not being online to manage Twitter campaign responses also seems to be ‘doing it wrong’.

Having now had time to reflect there are a few issues I didn’t immediately consider.

1) ‘Tweets don’t kill people’, just because the tool could be used poorly doesn’t mean that it can’t be used well. A good example would be to let customers know of an upcoming sale, where stock is limited and getting in before the event is a must. If your business knows that the prices will update on the website (or brick and mortar) at 13:00, a Tweet a few hours earlier will make sure users turn up to get a bargain.

I assume that Michael knows what he’s doing and the ‘doing it wrong’ wasn’t based on knowing what his commercial Tweets were about. So I apologise for claiming otherwise if you read this.

2) If you spam me I don’t have to follow you. Even assuming Michael did nothing but Tweet every hour on the hour about bargain iphones I can easily distance myself from him by stopping following and thereby not even see the offending Tweets.

That’s all I have time for on my lunch, so I’ll leave it there.

The end of the Twitversation (that’s another made up word, don’t let it catch on) finished with

“@graywolf No, business Tweeting is good. Tweeting for Tweeting’s sake is bad. Like I say, depends what’s scheduled.”
“@StalkerB develop a profile where ppl are used to U tweeting links yours and others, pass back thru and answer @ and DM’s how is that wrong”
“@graywolf Sorry, can’t read that last Tweet icon sad

I still can’t make out the implied punctuation for “where ppl are used to U tweeting links yours and others” (is this to do with Tweets that include links or that the act of Tweeting intrinsically links you to other people?) but now see that as long as you monitor the responses that scheduling a Tweet may be okay.

I guess I should follow this up at some point with “Twitter for business. You’re doing it right!”, maybe tomorrow icon wink

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11Feb SEO Buzzer – A Flash Wire Buzzer Game

As I mentioned at least 100 years ago when I first started this blog I was working on a competition with amazing prizes and today I am ready to finally unveil it.

buzzer

Behold it’s glory!

Basically an update on the old buzz wire game that kids of yore played.

Full details can be found on the SEO Buzzer page and the winner gets a review on my blog and an ad for the month in a slot of their choosing.

Game was created by Galaxy Graphics who offer customisable and bespoke Flash Icon games for a very reasonable fee. I’d like to thank Michael for putting in the hard work when WordPress wouldn’t display it and then when my database wouldn’t record the scores. The delay in putting this page live is certainly not a reflection of how long it takes them to create a games, which was actually ready 3 days after I ordered it.

Hopefully some people enjoy this but after 6 months of practise I’m fed up of it and I can get round in a little over 10 seconds, as it’d be unfair I’ve removed those scores from the table icon smile

Please make sure you leave an email address you can be contacted on if you want the prize as I’ll have no other way of getting in touch.

Comments are enabled on the page if you want to brag about which fast time is yours or to lament that final 7 second penalty that cost you the win.

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25Jan Sometimes you just can’t win.

graph

Traffic graph

Here’s a graph of one of the (what seems like) 5o sites that I launched this year (hopefully explains why I update so rarely).

The orange line represents the number of keywords this new site was getting found for and the blue line represents what percentage of traffic was coming through search engines.

Then in August some guy gets a lucky banner on a previously undiscovered popular site  and my success suddenly pales in comparison icon sad

That’s 5 keywords in January (launched late January, brand terms only and probably someone in the office searching for them), to 1072 in Novemeber (and back to 904 in December) and topping out at 50.57% traffic share in August, dropping all the way down to 8.44% in October.

Still, the more people coming to the site the better, there’s no I in team.

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