Understanding The Purpose of Flash In The Search Engine World

Website Conversion October 19th, 2009



Flash In The Search Engine WorldOver the last few years the word "Flash" and "Web Design" have become the antithesis of each other if you are interested in receiving a high search engine rankings.  Flash programming while quite popular in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s is not as friendly to search engines which prefer HTML.

So one of the questions that I often get in my daily activity is, "What place does have Flash have in the online world?"

While I do not generally recommend using Flash as the foundation of your website development project, it certainly has its place in helping improve conversion.

The purpose of this article is to discuss the applications that we have found work for Flash in the online world.  These conclusions are mostly taken from data driven decision making through both Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer.

When Not To Use Flash

If you care about search engine rankings, do NOT build a flash based website.  Gone are the days that visitors come to a website and want to choose between an HTML or a Flash site.  The exercise is pointless. Forcing the user to take an extra click to get to your web site will only increase the chances of losing your web visitor.

Flash based sites in the past were often very busy and distracting.  The application of Flash itself was often quite flashy itself which often would pull the visitors eyes away from the core marketing message.

Flash is great for accenting key communication messages.  Instead of building a strictly flash based website the best application of flash is to implement a subtle flash piece within your HTML based website.  (I repeat the word – subtle)

The following are all great uses of flash.

Use A Flash Driven Sales Funnel

When a new visitor comes to your website you generally have 3-6 seconds to influence them to stay longer.  As described in an earlier post, the biggest thing you can do to influence this decision is by clearly stating why they should stay!  The top banner is instrumental in making this happen.  This is something we call a sales funnel.


Flash within a sales funnel can be helpful – if done properly. Here are some simple rules to follow when integrating flash inside of your flash sales funnel banner.

  • The flash should not take any load time.
  • The entire flash transition should not take more than 3 seconds.
  • The flash banner should have an end point. Do not LOOP it!
  • Use flash to highlight key items.
  • Be subtle in the delivery of flash.

Don’t overdo it!

The temptation is to make a fancy show but think about the last time you saw something with too much flash. You MAY have watched it the first time, but certainly not the 2nd or 3rd time.

Using Flash in Banner Ads

Want to improve the click thru rate of your ads?  Flash is a wonderful tool to make this happen!  We have shown an improvement in click thru rate of more than 3 times what we normally see in standard .JPG images. 

Many of the same items mentioned above also contribute to building a successful banner ad that gets clicked on.

  • keep the flash simple
  • use flash to accent the area of the banner that you want people to notice and/or read

Use Flash To Help With Conversion

Gone are the days that website’s are built strictly in Flash.  Flash however, can still be an highly effective tool to help in conversion.  They key is understanding the usability component of the tool and building effective flash elements for your web site that will aid in converting visitors through to complete your site goal.

Post By DJ (195 Posts)

DJ has been a high profile Internet Marketer since 2001. He is the CEO of TechWyse and as a passionate member of the internet marketing industry is a key contributor on the 'Rise To The Top' Blog.

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DJ has been a high profile Internet Marketer since 2001. He is the CEO of TechWyse and as a passionate member of the internet marketing industry is a key contributor on the 'Rise To The Top' Blog.

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