This Adobe move brings to users access to what may actually be the most relevant content for their search, Hunt said.
"Many sites have their most relevant content behind Flash introductions or product overviews," he said. "Until now it was difficult for the spiders to get around or into these applications. If companies did not implement workarounds such as Flash detection and routing to non-Flash content or some of the other techniques, those highly relevant pages would never be exposed to searchers."
For site owners, the value is that they no longer have to see Flash or RIAs as a burden and can combine high interactivity, content accessibility and the potential for organic rankings without developing parallel systems, Hunt said.
For the search engines, "it means they get a lot of unhappy developers and major brand marketers off their backs. I typically talk to one or two disgruntled brand marketers a week who felt it was the engine's burden to solve this problem and they should not have to 'dumb down' their coding to satisfy the engine's outdated systems," Hunt said. This also means that much of the rich content can get found and indexed, upholding the promise of providing the most relevant content regardless of the format, he added.
Vanessa Fox, features editor at SearchEngineLand.com, said, "It will be difficult to judge the true significance until we see some real examples that illustrate how substantial the changes in crawling, indexing and ranking of Flash content are."
"For search engines, this can help the relevance of their overall search results, and for Adobe, this could be a big win if it does indeed trigger substantial search coverage improvements, as Web developers are becoming more concerned about how their sites surface in search results," Fox said.
She said content owners should not view this announcement as a reason not to invest resources ensuring that their Web pages are search-engine friendly.
"This new technology only goes so far -- it extracts text and links only," Fox said. "Any images, videos, and other non-textual content in the Flash files will remain hidden from search engines and searchers. But content owners should now have an easier time at making sure their sites are search-engine friendly. I think it's great that Adobe and search engines are working together on this."