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Tuesday, Jul. 1, 2008 at 7:33 am

Flash May Now Bring More Search Traffic, Does it Matter?

By The Grok
July 1st, 2008

flashAdobe was the first company to introduce the concept of plug-ins to software (Photoshop), to open up Post Script standards, now they are opening up Flash so that search engines can crawl the files. Kudos to Adobe! This is wonderful way to enhance a powerful tool. You’ll have the power. Now, keep in mind though that with all “great power comes responsibility.” I know many designers who were able to discourage their clients from indulging their vanity in an all flash website because it “wouldn’t be visible to the search engines.” They won’t be able to do say that anymore. You can read hear about what allows flash to be indexed by the search engines.

Never Met a Search Engine With a Credit Card

I’ve seen Flash elements improve websites, I’ve seen all Flash websites that were both engaging and usable, but those sites are rare. Search engines may now be able to index the content in Flash, but does it mean that the Flash content is useful in converting visitors to sales? If you are looking for leads, subscriptions, or sales, then traffic is simply a means to an end, not the end.

Even advertising sites want people to click through to their advertisers. If what you create is sexy, cool, [insert any other positive adjectives here], but the content fails to attract attention, interest, build desire, and call your visitors to action, then you are wasting your time and their time.

You are playing a misleading numbers game where visitors are numbers, not people, and sales today is NOT a numbers game. In a recent A/B test with a client, we were able to reduce the homepage abandonment by 28.57% by substituting a flash element, with a static image. This change reduced load and wait time, it listed product benefits immediately, and we didn’t have to hope people would be patient enough to see the right part of the Flash animation. It also helped boost sales, since before the test so many people left before they got past the home page.

Please use Flash it really is a powerful tool.

Just please remember to make sure you measure the impact on your bottom line first. Search engines are great; but they don’t register, subscribe, or have credit cards to buy from you.

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Comments (10)

  1. As stated above “Flash is a really powerful” , but it also has to be one of the most misunderstood and misapplied tools. My personal feeling is that a large majority of web designers don’t have the first clue about useability, SEO and SEM. Now that Adobe is addressing this major weakness with Flash, we can expect more Flash sites that make us want to leave immediately, even if the spiders will now stay longer.

  2. I’ve always felt that most Flash as it’s typically done, especially on landing pages, was a distraction and more of a show piece for the web designer, and it wouldn’t be in place if more people were doing split tests. Thanks for informative post, I will definitely be passing this one along.

  3. Flash is just a tool. A great tool. As usual the problem is when someone uses it without purpose or background concept – but that goes for all tools in the world, including html and ajax.

  4. Does anyone have any thoughts on this Adobe Flash movie: http://www.thetimemovie.com? This guy has generated millions of people to his movie in a few years and has built up quite an impressive member base as a result.

  5. Although there have been breakthroughs with flash being indexed. I still think there is a long way to go before it is dominated the SERP

  6. I think it’s important to remember (as a website producer), that not everybody has flash, or chooses to allow flash in their browser. Designing alternate content that non-flash browsers (lynx anybody?) and search engines can see if vital to any site design.

  7. flash is nice on the eyes but thats about it

  8. Flash is good for established brands like Coca Cola because they don’t need to get visitors from google(search engines) and fight for each visitor as small fish, but for any other website flash is death as engines can’t read it.

  9. I always heard flash isn’t good for Google?

  10. I find it interesting that many new sites that I see being created are skipping over having flash. As technology advances it will be interesting if it get as readable as jquery or other solutions.

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