Flash Websites Facing Tough Times with Google Flagging Them in Mobile SERPs

Google made an important announcement on the 14th of July 2014 in a blog published on that day. As a revolutionary move, the company said that henceforth, mobile users can see whether websites will work on their devices without leaving Google’s search engine result page.

Targeting Flash Websites

flash-websitesGoogle specifically targets Flash websites. All websites that need Adobe Flash plug-in would be flagged in Google’s search engine results page to warn mobile users. This is no doubt a very clear message going out to those websites that if they are using Flash plug-ins that are not supported by a smartphone device, say Apple’s IPad, Google’s SERP will list that website with a warning for users. The user of a tablet or a smart phone will be given the indication that the flagged website(s) may not work on their devices. This announcement by Google does not come as a big shock as a similar announcement was made earlier by them for websites that redirected mobile users to the homepage, when they were promised another page with the content they were looking for. This usually happens when the concerned site may not have been constructed to work properly on devices such as tablets or smartphones. The redirection to the home page is a big distraction and disillusionment for users as instead of the results they were anticipating, they are redirected to the website’s home page. Such websites when appearing on the search engine result page were tagged with a message “May Open the Site’s Home Page”, thus warning the users.

No doubt these two algorithms of Google would hit the click-through rate of these websites when they appear on Google’s SERP.

With barely a month’s difference between them, Google has made two very important announcements regarding how the websites are listed on the search engine results page if they are not designed to support mobile-based web browsing. This means that website developers have to be very cautious that their site is not flagged in the listing and consider some useful points that are discussed below.

Ways of Ensuring Your Website is Not Flagged in Google’s SERP

Ending the Use of Flash

The most important point to keep in mind when designing a website is not to use Flash in the site. Adobe’s multimedia plug-in Flash is not yet supported by devices such as Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and Google’s own Android OS (past version 4.1).

Get the Developers to Understand Google’s Web Fundamentals

It is the responsibility of the proprietor of the website to ensure that all his developers have a clear understanding of Google’s web fundamentals resources that provide information regarding all these changes discussed above. These resources also contain the latest best practices related to the development of the websites.

Web-Starter-Kit

Ensure that the entire web development team goes through the Web-Starter-Kit. Google made an announcement of this kit approximately three weeks back. The Web-Starter-Kit is a unique tool in the hands of the web developer that will help ascertain that the concerned website is created in such a manner that it is in perfect sync with all the smartphones and tablets for a world class browsing experience.

Adhere to a Responsive Website Design

The makers of the websites should adhere to a responsive design for the website in entirety. A responsive design minimizes or eliminates specific graphics and information on the basis of the sized of mobile device screen. As a result your website will look great and function excellently irrespective of the viewer’s mobil device or screen size. This design can be incorporated when redesigning your website.

The services of an expert SEO and a skilled site can be hired to do a detailed and thorough analysis of the concerned website(s) at the earliest as one only has be at an advantage by following the recent Google updates.

Corrective actions to take after Google’s Announcement

It is very likely that a website may have been designed a few years back when the users usually navigated through the desktop versions of the websites using a personal computer or a laptop. However, the last 4-5 years have seen a drastic jump in the number of users using the mobile version of the websites on their tablets or tablets. In the near future, as trends and data point out, users of mobile websites would surpass the users using the desktop versions of the websites.

Creating a responsive website has a lot of advantages in the changing scenario as it can then automatically adjust and respond appropriately whenever its server detects changes in features such as smaller size of the screen for which there are changes in navigation and the size of the picture. It has been observed that users who use Internet on mobile are more impatient than the desktop internet users. A website optimized for mobile use should therefore feature less loading time and easy navigation. Larger buttons should be incorporated to allow users to navigate with their fingers. In addition, the text on the mobile website should be larger than that on the regular website. Most importantly, web designers should ensure that they don’t use flash in the website to avoid being flagged in Google’s SERP.

Losing a huge volume of user traffic because of the flagging is least desirable. Non-responsive websites should upgrade themselves quickly so that they cater to the responsive design as required for the websites to be viewed on smart phones and tablets. Google has laid down the best practices to transform a non-responsive website to a responsive one. Web developers must go through these guidelines thoroughly before they design websites. Mobile based Internet users are to benefit with Google’s decision to flag the websites using Flash as they can now ascertain quickly from Google’s SERP whether the sites in which they are interested are compatible with their tablets and smartphones.