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All-Flash Websites Still Not Okay

Even though Google's announced they're even better at indexing Flash (SWF) content, don't get all excited and build a website all in flash because "it'll look cool, and Google can read all the content now!" For real. If you care ANYTHING about measuring the success – perceived or otherwise – of your online marketing efforts, an all-flash site isn't the way to go. At least, not yet.

Let's step back for a minute. "Hang on a tick," you say..."hasn't Google been able to penetrate Flash files for a couple years now?" Actually, yes – since the beginning of July 2008, Google's been working on being able to read and index Flash files, even updating last year to being able to index external content loaded from other files and associating it with the "parent" SWF file.

All this is awesome! Google continues to move right along and improve...but should you be building websites entirely in Flash because of this? I don't know....but my guess is probably not.

Here's why: even with this heightened ability to read/index SWF content, will a website built entirely in Flash still appear as one page? Currently, that's the case. Sure, The Google can read and index your Flash content. BUT, a site built in Flash registers as a single web page. "So?" you might scoff. Well, again, if you're interested in tracking any sort of data on your pretty little site, you MIGHT want to re-think Flash.

Check it out:

This is all the data Google can (as of this morning) gather for a website built entirely in Flash, which consists of 6 or 7 "pages" – to a human – but only 1 to Google. Visitors can enter, click around, and see different content, but Google perceives each visitor as hitting "only" the home page...since, technically, no other "page" exists (look at the address bar when viewing an all-Flash site; you'll see what I mean).

Maybe this newest advancement in reading SWF/Flash content will prove me wrong. But, maybe it's a glitch they haven't worked out yet...or might not ever be able to.

So, while a Flash website can look "really cool," "innovative" and "cutting edge," is it worth anything if you're looking to measure its success with analytics???

Answer: nope.