I stumbled across this website called www.dontclick.it. Of course, the concept is intriguing, but the thought crossed my mind, How would this concept affect SEO if it were to roll out across the entire Web?
First, the site is designed entirely in Flash. In order for it to do very well in the search engines at all, Flash would have to move beyond its current state of interest and the search engines would need to capability of crawling them. That’s already happening to some degree. But Google would have to to do better than that in order for Flash sites to be indexed the same way that HTML sites are now. That’s for starters.
Another thing that I think would happen if the entire Web looked this way is meta tags would go out of fashion completely. There’d be no need for them. If the search engines could crawl the Flash files and read the text and images for indexing purposes then there’d be no need for meta tags whatsoever. They’d completely disappear.
The most obvious issues related to search engine spiders would be the links. Since we’re talking about mouseover effects inside of Flash, there might be an issue with the search engines being able to crawl those links – at least at their present stage of development. Google has been known, however, to find solutions for its algorithms based on new developments in design so it is not entirely impossible that Google couldn’t figure that out. And what Google does the other search engines are sure to follow.
Still, the biggest downfall of a Flash-dominated Web would be the interlinking. Would webmasters still want to link out using mouseover links? Today, if you want to leave a website to get to another, you have to click a link and that takes a conscious effort. What about if you simply had to mouseover it?
You could make the mouseover require an action like swiveling the mouse in order to activate the link, or add a timer, but each method has some drawbacks. No matter, there would still be some SEO ramifications to any of these solutions. Would link building still have the same effect that it has today?
I realize some of this may be over the heads of readers who are new to the Web development and are still trying to figure out why linking matters at all. But eventually these questions will have to be answered. I see Flash becoming a more important part of the Web, but just how important remains to be seen. And, of course, like any new development, there will be adjustments. But the SEO part of the equation is one that I find intriguing and am somewhat concerned. Does anyone else share that concern?