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I'm wondering if <embed> tags get used to crawl and/or affect SEO rankings.

Say I'm making a "widget" of HTML (maybe eventually a Polymer web widget) but let's say it's just a plain old HTML5 embed:

  <embed src="http://www.example.com/some-widget/" style="width:500px; height: 300px;"> 

Also, assume my widget URL returns HTML containing a set of images. Would these image URLs get crawled as if they are part of the parent HTML document?

I guess my question could be rephrased as, do crawlers index tags during the crawl? Would Facebook's URL preview generator perhaps behave the same way (e.g., the thumbnail image)?

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Google can crawl and index some content put into the page with the embed tag. For example Google says that they index flash files that are embedded

Googlebot can index almost any text a user can see as they interact with any Flash SWF file on your site, and can use that text to generate a snippet or match query terms in Google searches. Additionally, Googlebot can also discover URLs in SWF files (for example, links to other pages on your site) and follow those links.

It depends on which type of plugin handles your widget. Google maintains a list of file types that it can crawl and index.


Most thumbnail generators work by firing up the page in a real browser and taking a screenshot. Images, iframes, CSS, JavaScript, and AJAX end up showing up in the screenshots. I would expect those browsers to have popular plugins such as Flash loaded as well.

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