Recently I was looking at a number of Flash-centric sites that should have been able to be indexed.  Digging deeper into the problem I noticed that many sites have not updated their Flash detection and version checking scripts to allow spiders or mobile phone users to access their content “without” meeting the requirements they are testing for thus creating a spider trap.

Many of these scripts alone work ok but they have multiple detects which will often stop s spider unless you specifically test for them.    I suggest you go through he following test to determine if spiders are getting trapped:  .

  1. Is the browser compatible?
    1. Yes. Proceed to Step 2.
    2. No. Display alternative content. This is where the search spider will stop.
  2. Is Adobe Flash Player installed?
    1. Yes. Proceed to Step 3.
    2. No. Display the No-Flash Player alternative content. This is where the search spider will stop.
  3. Is the correct version of Adobe Flash Player installed?
    1. Yes. Display the content.
    2. No. Display the Adobe Flash Player Upgrade content or Adobe Flash Player ExpressInstall. This is where the Search Spider will stop.

If you want to see how many sites that feature SWF content actually block search spiders, simply do a search for “flash player required” and see how many results you find. There are millions of sites out there that show a message like “ requires the Flash Player plug-in.” Spiders are not web browsers, so they cannot interact with your site to download any software requirements. They can read only document formats, such as HTML and PDF files. So when they run into these software download requirements, they go elsewhere.

Note: If you are not already aware there is a great resource from Adobe on making sure your Flash content is search friendly in the Flash Optimization Resource Center.