By Des Taggart
Feb 22, 2007
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Flash intros have steadily gained popularity in the past few years when it comes to annoying website visitors. The coolness factor was a late 90′s web version of a Cirque du Soleil performance–and even now people still attempt to utilize animated splash pages and intros–for what?? Companies, great and small, utilize Flash for the “wow” factor to highlight brand appeal and reinforce current messaging. But in doing so, run the risk of annoying site visitors–some to the point of total website abandonment.
In fact since 2006, “skip intro” has been the most clicked-on entity on websites. It’s like watching a television show and being rudely blasted with a commercial when the volume is mysteriously tweaked another 15 decibels to get your attention–most of us do 1 of 3 things–we hit mute, we change the channel or leave the room momentarily. If we change that channel or leave the room–in website terminology, the company misses an opportunity to deliver their sales message and risks losing potential business.
So … how can a website achieve better brand recognition and an increase in sales? Save the circus show for the bearded lady and the lion tamer. Your website in this day in age is to inform the customer and to ultimately do two things–increase your brand/identity and to sell. On average, visitors that hit your website are there for a reason–whether to learn or buy, is between the age of 18 and 42, computer savvy, and doesn’t have an incredible amount of time to toy around with that annoying flash intro.
How does this relate to the world of Search Engine Optimization? Well, Flash has made some strides to improve itself as a viable and searchable tool but not by leaps and bounds by any means. It is still a tool that requires “heavy duty” work arounds to ensure itself a somewhat competent SEO tool for web designers/developers worldwide. The jury is still deliberating over the evidence and is still swayed by the overwhelming popularity of NOT using this web tool as a means for “credible” optimization … Flash and it’s embedded links are not indexed by the likes of Google and Yahoo. Furthermore, Flash acts as an interrupt to allowing the Googles and Yahoos of this world to search throughout a site that have a Flash intro populating the entry point of the initial visit. Search bots are finicky–or perhaps discriminating to say the least. Use Flash sparingly if your main objective is increasing your SEO results.
With all of this said, Flash is a great tool and incredible when it comes to interactive presentations and as a utility tool for websites … Just remember less IS more!