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The Axandra newsletter archive - 30 September 2003
Welcome to a new issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week we're giving you tips on how to rank well with Flash movies. In the news: Amazon builds a new search engine and Yahoo has released a Froogle competitor.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this issue and that it helps you to get more out of your web site. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Facts of the week: How to rank well with Flash movies
Flash movies are a popular way to make web sites more compelling. They are useful if you want to impress your web site visitors or if you offer web design services.

Unfortunately, if you use Flash movies, or if you even design your complete web site based on the Flash technology, your odds of getting listed in the search engines are greatly reduced.

Search engines can only "see" pure text. They are not able to recognize text on an image or text that appears as a graphic in a Flash movie.

Google advises on its webmaster guidelines page: "If fancy features such as [...] Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site.".

AllTheWeb.com is able to recognize Flash files since September 2002. However, it's not able to recognize text in the Flash movies.

So how can you achieve high search engine rankings in spite of Flash contents?

First of all, you should re-consider using Flash on your web site. Keep in mind that many visitors still use slow dial-up connections to access web pages. They don't like to wait 1-2 minutes only to see your company logo fancy animated. Your Flash movies must carry invaluable information to the visitors, otherwise they will be disappointed.

Entry pages that only show your company logo are becoming more and more annoying to users. Using web pages like company brochures only show that your company didn't get the whole Internet idea.

Keep in mind that not everyone has installed the Flash player. Always add a link to a web page that contains the same important information as found in the Flash movie in plain text.

For these reasons, not using Flash or building a duplicate site without Flash are the easiest ways to make sure that your web site visitors and the search engines can access your web site.

If you really must use Flash on your web site, the following tips can help you getting your Flash contents indexed by the search engines:

  • Provide links to alternate pages that contain a lot of text and some keywords that the search engines can index.

  • Place some text above and below your Flash movie that contain your keywords. Along with your title and maybe your meta tags, this gives the search engines some contents to index.

  • If you embed the Flash movie in your HTML code, use your most important keywords in the movie filename using the HTML tags <param name="movie" value="movie-filename.swf"> and <param name="src" value="movie-filename.swf>.

  • You can use the <object standby="your message to show while loading"> attribute to include some text that is displayed while the Flash movie is being loaded. In addition, you can use the <object title="your movie title"> attribute to include a keyword-rich movie title.

  • Use the <noembed> tag to provide text for web browsers which don't support the Flash plugin. Use it to describe the contents of the Flash movie as search engines can index that description.

  • You may want make your Flash movie transparent and place it "over" your web page using CSS layers. This web page explains the technique in detail.

  • Some search engines (e.g. Inktomi) offer pay for inclusion programs that guarantee the inclusion of your web page regardless of the contents. Note that these search engines still need text to index.

  • You could provide an alternative, "pure text" web page solely to search engine crawler programs. However, this technique is called "cloaking" and search engines don't like it (click here for details).

  • Link from other pages of your web site to your Flash page with a keyword-rich link text.

  • Use the Macromedia Flash Search Engine SDK to convert a Flash file's text and links into HTML for search engine indexing.

Macromedia, the developers of the Flash technology, have recognized the difficulties in getting Flash contents indexed. For this reason, they have developed an accessibility kit that helps you to embed pure text and links in the movie file.

Macromedia hopes that search engines will learn over time to read the embedded text.

Flash is a trade mark of Macromedia Corp. You can find out more about Flash here. This web site gives useful advice for making user-friendly Flash sites.

Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com

2. Search engine news of the week
Amazon to build new search engine

    "Amazon.com Inc. is invading Google's turf with a new online search engine company that hopes to pluck some of the profits pouring into the rapidly growing sector. [...]

    This is part of Amazon's ongoing evolution from an online bookstore to a technology services company."



FindWhat enters Japan partnership

    "Under terms of the multiyear licensing deal, FindWhat will provide the technological backbone to power a keyword-advertising program for Mitsui in Japan.

    Mitsui will sell listings and provide customer service for the offering, which will route queries back to FindWhat servers in the United States. Those servers will return the results. The Mitsui offering will compete with those of Overture Services and Google.



Yahoo released Froogle competitor

    "Yahoo! Inc. launched Yahoo! Product Search, an e-commerce search engine [...] creating a faster, easier and more comprehensive way for consumers to comparison shop online.

    Delivering on the company's commitment to provide users with the highest quality search experience on the Internet, Yahoo! Shopping is now integrated with Yahoo! Search and has been completely redesigned with a new focus on comparison-shopping.



Search engine newslets

    Google cleaned the backlinks from a couple of sites each with 5500 guestbook links.

    DMOZ.org updated its search facility last Friday.

    Ask Jeeves is expanding its "Smart Search" tools with direct responses to queries about weather information and numerical conversions.

Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com

3. Articles of the week
"Is Google like Microsoft?"

    "First, Google has reached near-monopoly -- or at least oligopoly -- status as a search engine. Some observers fear their privacy is being violated: too much personal information culled about them by one company.

    Some advertisers complain about a lack of transparency in Google's search algorithms, which dictate the ranking of Web pages on its results page. Individuals might wonder about this, too."



Interview with Gigablast's Matt Wells

    "Most major search engines rely on an army of hundreds of people to create and maintain their services. Not Gigablast -- it's a high-quality search engine built and operated by sole proprietor Matt Wells."



Microsoft out to overtake Google

    "Microsoft Corp. may be the most recognized software company on the planet, but when it comes to searching the Internet, people are much more likely to 'Google it.'

    Microsoft wants to change that, and it's betting millions that someday it will be as well-known for searching as Google is."



The Google File System

    Here's a technical paper that describes Google's file system handling terabytes of data on inexpensive hardware. "The file system consists of hundreds or even thousands of storage machines built from inexpensive commodity parts.

    [...] The quantity and quality of the components virtually guarantee that some are not functional at any given time and some will not recover from their current failures. We have seen problems caused by application bugs, operating system bugs, human errors, and the failures of disks, memory, connectors, networking, and power supplies."

Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com

4. Recommended resources
Great new version of IBP coming soon

    We're currently beta-testing IBP 3.0 that is planned to be released in October.

    The new version has a very powerful search engine submission feature that has a huge advantage over all other search engine submission tools (details coming soon).

    IBP 3.0 helps you with all aspects of successful web site promotion:

    • IBP optimizes your pages for high rankings
    • IBP submits your web site to all important engines
    • IBP tracks the results

    In addition, many features in IBP 3.0 have been improved: The ranking check is now faster, and the PDF reports and the IBP database files are much smaller than before.

    The price for IBP Standard 3.0 will be $149. The new version will be a free update for all owners of the current IBP version.

    If you're interested in an extremely powerful tool that helps you to get more out of your web site, it might be a good idea to purchase IBP now so that you can take advantage of the current $99.95 price.

    We'll inform you in this newsletter when the all-new IBP 3.0 is available.



ARELIS 4.2

    ARELIS 4.2 is planned to be the next release after IBP 3.0. It will be a free update to all current ARELIS customers. You can find further information about ARELIS here.

Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com

5. Previous articles

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