I have a website that uses a Flash based menu as its main navigation. A plain HTML fallback version is "lying underneath", the swf is embedded using swfobject.

swfobject.embedSWF('MENU.swf', 'menu', '1000', '600', '8.0.0', 'ext/expressInstall.swf', {}, {wmode:'transparent',bgcolor:'#666666'}, {});

Somehow Google now started displaying a link to the swf-file in the SiteLinks (noting [SWF] beforehand) which is pretty ugly as the Flash content gets all scrambled and all you see is a random string of characters and numbers (it looks "hacked" to me, although I do know it is not). Also, the link to the swf is plain useless as it relies on JavaScript-functions in the HTML-document.

I already demoted the swf in the Webmaster Tools, yet in some situations the link will still show up.

Is anyone aware of this problem (I haven't found too much on this on the Internet) and knows how I can keep the search results from linking to the swf?

  • How long ago did you demote the link? Might be worth waiting a bit longer if it was very recent. The other solution of course is to not use flash menus. :-)
    – Anonymous
    Jul 4 '12 at 10:24
  • @Anonymous- I did this about 2 days ago. It is really hard to tell if it already had its impact as results differ when you have the slightest changes (Chrome will not show me the SiteLink anymore, FF still does).
    – m90
    Jul 4 '12 at 10:28
  • If you logout of your Google account, do you still see the sitelink?
    – Anonymous
    Jul 4 '12 at 10:34
  • @Anonymous- In some cases, yes. Chrome won't show it, FF will.
    – m90
    Jul 4 '12 at 10:39

Google says:

To demote a sitelink URL:

  1. On the Webmaster Tools Home page, click the site you want.
  2. Under Site configuration, click Sitelinks.
  3. In the For this search result box, complete the URL for which you don't want a specific sitelink URL to appear. (How to find the right URL.)
  4. In the Demote this sitelink URL box, complete the URL of the sitelink you want to demote.

Once you've demoted or undemoted a sitelink, it can take some time for search results to reflect your changes.

Obviously you've done all this, I think it's just a matter of waiting "some time" as they describe. I'd expect within a week the problem will have rectified itself - provided your html fallback is working correctly. Maybe use one of the many "see your site through the eyes of a search engine" services and see if it's behaving how you think.

  • Thanks, I guess I'll just wait a few days and check again before I get really nervous. Strange thing is that the HTML site should look perfect to the bot as the swf isn't present in the <body> part and the bot shouldn't execute any JS, right?
    – m90
    Jul 4 '12 at 10:54
  • Bots are getting smarter, Google can access some data render by Javascript now. The extent of which isn't common knowledge.
    – Anonymous
    Jul 4 '12 at 12:03
  • Yup, waiting a few more days worked out (although the swf will still show if you opt for the "More results from"), but at least it's gone from the links in the main search results.
    – m90
    Jul 11 '12 at 10:32
  • Ah excellent. :-)
    – Anonymous
    Jul 11 '12 at 10:41

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