Google Warns Users About Flash and Other Updates

WarningGoogle has decided to take another step against Adobe Flash ®.  Now, if your website uses Flash ®, instead of just showing your normal website information in the search results, Google is including a warning “Uses Flash. May not work on your device. Try anyway | Learn more.” for anyone searching on a mobile device.  So, if you are using Flash ® on your site, it’s highly likely that your mobile traffic is about to sink to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Google also updated how they are displaying Authorship results in their search results and released some new features for their local products.

I’ll tell you all about these updates and what Bing has been up to in this month’s SEO update video:

Full Transcript:

“Hi, I’m Kurt Steinbrueck with and this is your SEO update, keeping you informed on what’s going on in the search engines.


We’re going to go ahead and start with Google. They’ve got a couple of new features. They also have changed the way that some of their search results appear, and that might very well be affecting how many people are clicking through your search results, and we’ll get to that in just a minute.

The New-ish Google My Business
But let’s go ahead and start with some of the features. In the Google Local arena, Google has launched what they’re calling Google My Business, and this is a new – well, kind of new service. It actually is a combination of the Google Maps or Google Places and the Google+ Local pages.

Basically, Google realized that there were a lot of local organizations that had a Maps listing and also had a Google+ business page, but not a Google+ Local business page, so they wanted to put those together. They wanted local organizations to just have one listing that would cover both Google+ and the Maps. And so they’ve created Google My Business that allows you to do that very easily, and it also has some extra analytics, insights, things about how people are finding your site and things like that.

So if you manage your own listings, then go ahead, make sure that you are signed up in Google My Business and that everything is set up properly. If you have, if we are managing your listings for you, then don’t worry about it; we’ve got it all taken care of. And actually, we had everything moved over to Google+ Local awhile back, so there really wasn’t even anything that needed to shift around for you. So that’s one change that they did.

Updated Google Maps App
Another change was that they updated their Google Maps app. Hopefully, I said that slowly enough. It’s the app for mobile devices that Google has for Google Maps. They’ve just updated some of the features in the map, like there are descriptions now for the listings that appear on the map. It’s easier to switch between the list view of results and the maps view – which for some of us, we still like that list view, to be able to see the information about those listings – so now it’s easier to switch back and forth between them.

There are some other helpful things for getting reservations, and there’s also now filtering, at least in some categories. Like if you’re searching for a hotel, you can now filter those hotels by the star rating that Google has. Those are some new features; they’re all in the Google Local concept, but those are some new features that they have there.

Now, how did Google change their results, and how is that affecting you?

Google Authorship Profiles
One of the ways that they changed their results for everyone is if you were a Google Authorship person, like if you’ve signed up for Google Authorship and you have things set up on your site and in Google+ for that, then before, when you wrote something or published something online and were the author for that, and it showed up in Google results, and you had a picture set up for your Google Authorship account, then your pretty little face showed up with the results.

That was a really great thing, because having that image next to the results, typically, studies showed that people were drawn to those images, and those listings got higher click-through rates than sometimes even the websites that had higher rankings than those did.

Now that’s gone. Google has removed that, and so it kind of stinks for those of us who have signed up for Authorship and have been trying to build that Authorship ranking up. However, it doesn’t make Authorship meaningless. Authorship still has its value, and it’s still possible that Google might one day use that as a ranking algorithm.

So I would strongly encourage you to keep working with Google Authorship, but just know the picture is no longer there, and so you might see a change in the click-through rates. Google said that they were trying to clean up their results and that’s why they removed it; some people think that that whole drawing people’s attention to the picture was also drawing people’s attention away from the AdWords things that Google gets paid for, and maybe that’s why they removed it. Who knows? We’ll leave that up to you and Google to decide that. But that’s something that’s changed, so just be aware of that.

Flash Warning!!
Another thing that’s changed – and this is really important for you to hear – if you have Flash on your website, Google is now putting warnings on search results for websites that have Flash if someone’s searching within a mobile device. So if they’re searching on a smartphone or a tablet and you have Flash on your site and your website comes up in the listings, instead of just being your normal search result, there’s a warning now that says “Uses Flash; may not work on your device,” and then it has two links. It says “Try anyway” or “Learn more.” People have to actually click on “Try anyway” to go to your site.

This may seriously impact the number of people who are willing to click through that result. Do you want to choose one website that’s just a normal result over one that has a warning on it? Probably not. Even the way it’s worded, to me at least, it feels like Google is saying “You really don’t want to do this. You don’t really want to go to this site, because it’s got Flash on it.”

So if you do have Flash on your site, you might want to look into ways to remove that. There’s still a lot of ways that you can keep the elements that you have. With HTML5 these days, you can do almost anything that you can do with Flash in HTML5 and with some of the other coding options. So there’s not really an overly compelling reason to keep Flash.

Also, just keep in mind, Flash does not play well with mobile, which is why they’re putting that warning up there. It also is not able to be read by the search engines, so if you have a site that’s all Flash, guess what? The search engines, they see your site as nothing. It’s just a few lines of code that say “this is a Flash site” and that’s about all they see. So it could really be hurting you in the search rankings anyways if your site is all Flash.

Now, that’s not the case if you just have Flash elements, if certain parts of your site are Flash; then only those parts are what Google can’t see, and they’d be able to see everything else. But even still, still looking into whether you can replace those, remove the Flash, maybe put something else in there that’s the HTML5 or something else, so you can still do the same things but not have that warning on there, and make sure that the search engines can see all of your site.

That’s the Google updates that we have.


We also have two feature updates for Bing.

Free Khan Academy Courses
One of them is that Bing is now listing free Khan Academy courses, so if you search for something that could be a course at Khan Academy – so maybe it’s 18th century literature or geometry or organic chemistry or whatever – if Khan has a free course listed, then over on the left side, Bing is going to list those Khan Academy courses that you could take. So if you’re interested in learning a little more about it, you can take a course about it.

Free Books
The other thing that they’ve added is that if you search for a book and it’s in their database, then they will show you whether there is a free download or if it’s available at your local library. So instead of having to go out and buy the book, you might be able to get a free copy of it, like an online version or a Kindle-ish version – it probably wouldn’t be Kindle – or even just going down to your library and getting a hard copy for free. That’s a new feature that Bing has offered.

Really, none of the search engines did anything that’s going to change the algorithms, but there are the changes in Google, the way that they’re displaying results. Those are some pretty significant changes.

But remember, we live in this internet age, so it’s important that you stay strong in the search engines so that you can achieve your mission online. We’re here to help you do that.

God bless.”

Share Your Thoughts:

  • What do you think of Google’s warning?  Is it fair?  Would you change your website because of it?
  • Have you been working with Google Authorship?  What do you think about the removal of your picture?


7 Responses to “Google Warns Users About Flash and Other Updates”

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