What is a Flash Content Error in Google Search Console?

Whether you have just completed a full website redesign or you are simply monitoring the tried and true website you have had for many years, Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is an important tool for maximizing your website’s presence within the Google Search results. One way that Google Search Console can help you monitor your website’s performance is by alerting you of any errors that exist within your website infrastructure. One of the mobile-only URL errors that is commonly seen is the Flash content error.

What is a Flash Content Error?

Flash is a feature that is not supported by Apple iOS or Android versions 4.1 and higher. As a result, Flash content errors will show up in Google Search Console because these devices cannot render these pages.

How Do You Fix a Flash Content Error?

Flash can be a double-edged sword. While websites designed with Flash can look spectacular and provider users with a unique experience, the downside is that these pages will not load for everyone, particularly smartphone users. With more and more individuals relying on their smartphones for either the majority or all of their online searches, you are potentially missing out on the opportunity to reach a lot people. So, how do you fix this?

  1. Eliminate your Flash design. While this may be easier said than done, this is the only way to guarantee that all mobile users are able to properly view your website. Would you rather have people be able to view your fancy design or be able to access the information they are looking for?
  2. Implement responsive web design. Responsive web design is Google’s recommended configuration for websites that have both desktop and mobile versions. Essentially, this design pattern displays the same content for desktop and smartphone users, but it renders the display differently to accommodate the screen size. While a responsive web design will not make flash features work on all mobile devices, it will at least help to ensure that the content and other HTML elements display for everyone.
  3. Do not block Googlebot. Even if you insist on keeping a lot of Flash content in your website, you do not want to block Googlebot with robots.txt or any other setting. While Flash may not be supported by many mobile devices, you still want Google to get an accurate understanding of your website’s design and configuration so that it can handle it correctly.