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Google Mobile Results warns users when sites use Adobe Flash

adobe_flash_logoJuly 15, 2014

As of July 15, Google is presenting warnings to mobile searchers when the results turn up a web site that uses Adobe Flash, which is a multimedia technology not supported by many mobile devices.

Now when Google’s algorithms detect a site that runs using Adobe Flash and those sites turn up in search results on a mobile device such as iOS devices or on Android, the searcher will receive a warning that says: “Uses Flash. May not work on your device.” At the end of the warning, Google provides an option for users to click either “Try anyway” or “Learn more.”

Google rolled out a similar warning in June for faulty redirects, which send mobile searches to the smartphone home page instead of the page they wanted.

What is the alternative to Adobe Flash?

Google encourages web site creators to use HTML5, which is supported by almost any device. That includes both mobile phones and desktop computers. On Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Software Engineer Keita Oda and Webmaster Trends Analyst Pierre Far announced the development of two resources for webmasters to use in building their sites that will work on all devices: Web Fundamentals and Web Starter Kit.

A responsive web design is recommended

Google recommends a responsive web design to achieve a search-friendly site, and this can be achieved by using Web Fundamentals. It is also recommended that when building a web site, webmasters should not block any Googlebot crawler so that Google’s algorithms can identify how your site’s responsive design is configured and give it the appropriate treatment. In other words, Google’s algorithms need to know that your site is supported by whatever device you are using so that it will not issue a warning when the site comes up in search results.

The Webmaster tools includes a feature known as Fetch as Google that “lets you see a page as Google sees it.” In other words, when you use the Fetch as Google tool, you can test your site to see exactly how it appears to Google’s algorithms and make adjustments if necessary.