05 Nov 2019

Google to stop indexing Flash content

Google announced it will stop indexing and ranking Flash content in its search engine. This means Google will no longer process content within Flash SWF files, either on websites designed fully in Flash or web pages that have portions of the page in Flash.

What is Flash. Flash was introduced in 1996 by Adobe as a way of producing richer content on the web and on computers. It was a very popular web publishing platform in the late 90s but as time went on, fewer and fewer browsers continued to support Flash.

What is changing. Back in 2008 Google first began crawling Flash files and a year later, Google got more sophisticated in how it indexed those SWF files. But it never really ranked content within Flash files all that well.

Google’s announcement. Google said, “Google Search will stop supporting Flash later this year.” Specifically, Google said “in Web pages that contain Flash content, Google Search will ignore the Flash content.” “Google Search will stop indexing standalone SWF files,” also Google added. That means Google won’t be indexing or ranking content within Flash web sites or Flash elements on a web page.

The impact. Google said, “most users and websites won’t see any impact from this change.” Apple stopped supporting Flash when it introduced the iPhone on those devices and the company may have been credited as killing Flash. As we said above, fewer and fewer browsers have supported Flash. Google said “Flash is disabled by default in Chrome (starting in version 76), Microsoft Edge, and FireFox 69.”

Alternatives. Google said you should look towards HTML5 and other newer forms of JavaScript. But Flash is something Google will stop working with for indexing.

Why we care. If you have a website fully designed in Flash or parts of your website’s content in Flash, and you depend on Google search traffic, you should really consider updating your website and stop using Flash going forward.

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