Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Ajax, Silverlight and Flash

Nikhil Kothari wrote an interesting article about SEO for Ajax and Silverlight Applications a year ago. SEO works perfectly well for static content but fails for RIAs (Rich Interactice Applications) where “the HTML page simply becomes a shell containing presentation and behavior, and doesn't contain the meaningful data that needs to be indexed”. Therefore his idea is “to serve up a page that is search engine friendly without trying to detect a search engine crawler on the server, and without maintaining a parallel static version of the page”. Since he wrote this article that long ago I was wondering whether it would still apply and here is what Nikhil replied:

I’ve had some discussions with folks from the search team around extracting metadata from xap files… technically its possible to do this even now, but this isn’t something search engines do just yet.

In the meantime, the thing to keep in mind is that most Silverlight app packages themselves don’t contain interesting data statically that can be indexed for meaningful results. The data they fetch/display etc. is usually more interesting for the purposes of indexing… hence the article I wrote long back still applies.

The metadata in xap approach works usually for static fully self-contained apps. Eg. an online game … though even there you can imagine you might want something like the high scores data that is fetched dynamically by the game from its associated server is also meaningful for indexing, and won’t be embedded in the xap.

It’a always amazing to have some of the most brilliant people in direct reach 🙂



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