Why Is Flash Bad for SEO? 6 Reasons to Avoid Flash for SEO

Learn why Flash is bad for SEO, from slow loading times to limited analytics tracking to lack of mobile-friendliness, and why you should use HTML5 instead.
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    Sarah Berry SEO Consultant
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  • August 11, 2023
  • 4 min. read

Like an outlaw in a small town, Flash is bad for SEO.

Why is Flash bad for SEO, though? For one big reason — it’s not SEO-friendly, with search engines struggling to crawl and index Flash websites, which are notoriously slow, difficult to track with analytics, and missing critical SEO elements, like header tags.

Why is Flash bad for SEO?

Learn more about what makes Flash bad for SEO below:

1. Flash sites aren’t crawlable

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), you need a website that search engines can crawl and index. Once your site gets crawled and indexed, search engines can start serving your site to users — if that doesn’t happen, you’ll have a tough time reaching organic search.

Since search engines can’t crawl Flash websites, they can’t index them, which means they can’t serve Flash websites in organic search results. Browsers like Firefox — a gateway to search engines — have even blocked Flash.

2. Flash sites aren’t SEO-friendly

Another strike against Flash for SEO is how much it’s missing from on- and off-page SEO, like:

  • Header tags, like H1s, H2s, and so on to structure a URL
  • Unique URLs, which SEOs use to target different keywords
  • Backlinks, which point to the single URL of a Flash site and remain hidden to search engines

If you’re looking to create a website that generates organic traffic, a Flash site isn’t built for the job.

You’ll struggle with the most critical elements of search engine optimization. Besides getting your website crawled, you’ll have no options for optimizing your site for different keywords, which will hold back your link acquisition efforts.

3. Flash sites are slower

Speed is another important factor in SEO, and it’s one where Flash fails again.

With a Flash website, browsers must load the Flash player and every part of the site contained within that player (it’s starting to make more sense why Firefox blocked Flash). This setup results in a significantly longer load time, which creates a poor user experience and Core Web Vitals score.

4. Flash sites aren’t trackable

Another reason why Flash is bad for SEO? Flash sites are difficult to track!

If you can’t track your website’s analytics performance, you can’t measure your performance When it comes to SEO, or even digital marketing. You need that data to prove that search engine optimization is a worthy investment, and you don’t have that with a Flash website.

Even if analytics tools like Google Analytics could accurately track Flash sites, you have a single URL to track. That means all visits, leads, and sales come from a single URL, which doesn’t provide great feedback when evaluating which SEO strategies are working.

Remember, though, search engines can’t even crawl and index Flash sites.

5. Flash sites aren’t mobile-friendly

Like speed, mobile friendliness has become another important ranking factor for search engines.

Guess what, though? Flash isn’t supported on mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. That means even if on-the-go users found your website online, they wouldn’t be able to view it, which means they’d arrive and leave as soon as they arrived — and they wouldn’t be happy.

Overall, Flash websites aren’t known for their accessibility.

Today, businesses need to be more aware of accessibility, as the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, can lead to expensive fines that can put smaller companies out of business fast.

6. Flash sites aren’t supported

Why else is Flash bad for SEO? Ok, how about it’s not supported anymore?

That’s right! Adobe stopped supporting Flash at the end of 2020, meaning it no longer receives support or updates. Browsers have also axed Flash support. So, if your site uses Flash, you’re using a technology now considered defunct, which isn’t good for your site.

What should you use instead of Flash for SEO?

If you’re looking for a replacement for using Flash for your website design and search engine optimization, there are plenty of trusted and well-supported alternatives! Some of the most popular include the following:

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JavaScript
  • Progressive Web Apps

The most common alternative to Flash is HTML5, and it’s what we recommend because:

  • Search engines can crawl and index HTML5
  • Developers can optimize HTML5 to deliver fast speeds
  • HTML5 supports animations, video, and audio, plus mobile devices and header tags
  • HTML5 supports creating multiple URLs vs. limiting users to a single URL
  • Website analytics tools can track HTML5 website performance

Essentially, what you won’t find in Flash is in the SEO-friendly HTML5.

Say goodbye to Flash and hello to traffic with a brand-new site

Flash is bad for SEO. Full stop. That’s why it’s time to say goodbye if you have a Flash site. Start investing the time and resources in moving your Flash site to an alternative, like HTML5. And, hey, if you need help, we’re here. Fill out our contact form to learn how we can help!

Portrait of a smiling woman with long hair, transparent background.
Sarah Berry is an SEO Consultant at one of the largest SEO agencies in the USA — WebFX. With more than 10,000 hours of SEO experience, she offers practical insights and strategies you can use to grow your rankings, traffic, and revenue from search.

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