A few of my friends are wedding photographers and if there is anything I learned from them, it’s that they love having their website developed in flash because it gives it a nice look and feel for their clients and prospective clients. Their sites are simple, clean, and attractive. The problem is that they want to show up in the search engine and rank highly. The very first thing I tell them is that they need to get rid of the flash site! But they never want to do that because it loses its aesthetics when switching to an HTML site. The point here is not that you cannot have any flash on your website, it is that the entire website should not be flash. Having a slideshow with photographs in flash on the HTML website should be fine. However, I do believe that a clean, beautiful website can be created through HTML which would be beneficial for both the photographer, for the clients, and for the search engines.
Success with SEO is highly dependent on the architecture of a website. You can add all the meta tags, content, etc. that you want, but if your website is not search engine friendly, the spiders can’t get to your pages anyway. This brings me to the topic of flash websites, which in short are not search engine friendly at all! They look pretty but that is about as far as it goes.
Around the summer months of 2008, Google and Adobe announced that they would work together to give flash sites the ability to get indexed in the engines. However, this still does not give enough reason for websites to be created fully in flash. When a flash website is competing with an HTML website, who do you think will win? HTML. Hands down. There are several reasons why you should not use flash if you want successful rankings in SEO. Flash websites have one URL, so the engine will not be able to differentiate between different pages on your site. HTML is much easier to read than the text within SWF files. You cannot mark up important phrases, titles, or content on your site using a header or bolding in Flash.
If your business has any interest in SEO at all, stay away from Flash. There is a great article at ClickZ about why you should avoid websites designed completely in Flash. Check it out to see what others in the industry are saying.