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Using Google Analytics to Settle the Apple Vs. Flash dispute

May 11th, 2010 | | SEO Management, Site Review & Analysis

The war between SEO and Flash has been settled for the most part, but Apple’s Steve Jobs attack claiming Adobe’s Flash as being unnecessary is bringing intense heat. But you might have an answer to the issue already for your site.  First, let’s clear the air on a few issues of what we know already about Flash and Search Engine Optimization:

1. You shouldn’t develop a site in Flash. 1998 was an awesome time of promise for Flash being the new Internet standard. Once it was discovered that the search bots couldn’t read flash sites, it didn’t take despite the rantings of my graphic design friends.

2. Flash can be weighty.Desigining an ad in flash doesn’t take many kilobytes, but start putting in more and more functionality, like a game, and it starts tack on more KBs than you want.

3. Flash is popular.There are several sites that host fun little flash games that can keep you busy for hours. Even the mighty Farmtown is in Flash. Flash-built tools and trinkets have made Flash very ubiquitous. It will be very hard to dislodge out of the common internet surfer.

With these three truths, you can see that you could put something useful on your site built in flash. A nice calculator, game or tool that can make your site note-worthy.

or should you?

Apple has been bold in its stance on not allowing Flash on iPhones or iPads, the future(?) of computing. There are good points to abandon Flash, but there are reasons to keep it. (If Farmville suddenly couldn’t be accessed by millions, there would be blood.)

I had trouble in which way to lean on this issue. There are several plans for flash objects to be included in my web properties, but if Apple was going to grab a hold of the market, I didn’t want to waste an investment in an abandoned technology (remember betamax?). With the antitrust probe possibility, it didn’t clear up my decision.

Today, however, I was running some reports in Google Analytics and I noticed a report that I passed over before or that I didn’t see.

Under “Visitors” you’ll see a “Mobile” category that you can expand. If you expand it you’ll see “Mobile Devices” and “Mobile Carriers.”

For my main site, I had 8 times more visits from the iPhone than the Android. I already had iPad hits, which I didn’t expect to see for awhile. (I aim low and pessimistically with my SEO work, it makes me feel better when I exceed a goal.)

For my local area, the Apple iPhone is clearly the winner. This means that if I put a neat little flash object on there, only 1 out of 8 mobile users would have seen it.

Is it time to abandon Flash?

Well, no, for two reasons:

1. The possible antitrust probe – This could force Apple to open up to 3rd Party developers like Adobe and

2. Android is outselling the iPhone right now - At this point, more phones that can support Flash are entering the market.

For your website development and SEO campaigns, keep track of your visitors trending concerning mobile devices. It is definitely worth while to include this information periodically in your plans to develop flash objects.

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