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Kalena Jordan, who I thought was on top of things pretty well, has discovered that Google now crawls Flash. Of course, those of us who have been keeping up have known about this for at least a month.

This is indeed good news, but there are still boundaries you should give your design team with regard to Flash files. The primary boundary is don’t build an index page that is entirely made of Flash. It will be a disaster for your website. And while we’re busy making rules, don’t build any page on your website that consists solely of Flash.

Google may be able to crawl Flash, but this crawl is a limited crawl. Text and links in Flash are now crawlable, but the images are still to be treated like any other image and since Flash is primarily image oriented, that leaves a lot of real estate that will go uncrawled. Essentially, if you have one line of text and a link in your Flash file, which takes up your entire page, then all Google will see is this:

    This is one line of text (here’s the link)

The other search engines won’t even see that, which means that your search engine marketing will be limited to Google. I think, for most small businesses, it’s a bad practice to get into to rely on just one search engine for traffic – even if it is Google with its lion’s share of searchers. You can still get good qualified traffic from Yahoo! and MSN, and, yes, even AOL and Ask. So don’t count them out.

If you are going to use Flash in your website then use a Flash video surrounded by text for better optimization or put Flash in your header and have a completely textual web page well-designed with graphic enhancements just as you’ve got right now. Until Google figures out how to crawl images, text is still the crown on the king of content. The old principles of web design still apply.