Content Marketing

Google Says NO to Flash Content For Search

On the internet, there are about 1.94 billion sites available. Thus, there’s a handsome competition in achieving a top search engine ranking. Search engines list sites in their search results based on various factors, of which user experience is one. Google, the most popular search engine, said that it will stop indexing and ranking flash content in its results.

What does that mean? 

It means the content containing Flash SWF files will no longer be processed by the search engine. This applies to sites that are designed fully in Flash & the sites containing the portions flash content.

Let’s learn more about the Flash content and Google’s new update regarding this.

What’s Flash Content?

Flash was first introduced in 1996 by Macromedia to provide users with rich content and a better experience. It gained popularity in the late 90s, but later, fewer browsers continued supporting flash. In 2005, Adobe acquired Macromedia, thus taking over the flash development technologies.

Flash animations contain text and vector graphics and don’t occupy a lot of space. However, you can compress the flash content and download it on your personal computer. Still, there are large flash animations, which take a few seconds for loading. 

To view flash content in your browser, you need the Flash plug-in. While there’re many browsers in which Flash is automatically installed while some animations required an updated version of Flash.

Flash extensions are .FLA and .SWF.

Google & Flash Content

In 2008, Google first started crawling Flash content, but it never ranked the content containing flash files.

On October 28, 2019, Dong-Hwi Lee, Engineering Manager at Google, confirmed in a post that the search engine will stop supporting Flash later this year. Lee said, “In Web pages that contain Flash content, Google Search will stop indexing standalone SWF files.”

According to Google, most users and websites won’t see any impact from this change. Flash is disabled in Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox 69.

Flash slows down the site speed, affecting the user experience. In September 2016, Google announced blocking Flash content on Chrome 53. They said that HTML5 is a lighter alternative to the Flash and can help in speeding up page loading speed & it saves more battery life as well. 

There has been a rise in mobile users in the past few years. For most of the mobile browsers, Adobe Flash isn’t licensed. It’s advised that websites should immediately remove Flash from their web pages. 

So, what’s the alternative?

If your site has any Flash content, you should replace it with HTML5 and other newer forms of Javascript. 

In 2010, Steve Jobs said in a public letter that the new iPhone won’t support Flash, with reasons such as security issues and reliabilities.

In today’s world, there’s a wide range of content generation technologies available, and new standards are being developed. Mobile usage is constantly increasing, thus developing mobile-friendly sites becomes more significant. Unlike Flash, HTML5 doesn’t have any restrictions in any mobile or desktop browsers. If your site contains any Flash content, consider replacing it with HTML5.

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