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Flash Relegated to Bad Porn Games and History

Make no mistake, Flash has been dying for a very long time now — Adobe stopped providing download links to the Flash development kit back in January, and have been slowly withdrawing support for the animation system for years before that. Google, however, just swung it’s mighty hammer (I like to imagine its name is Mgoolnir) and pounded the final nail into Flash’s coffin with a vengeance.

That came in the form of an announcement from Google that, as of June 30th 2016, Flash advertisements will no longer be uploadable onto their advertising networks — and starting January 2, 2017, Flash advertisements that are already uploaded will no longer display on those networks. From that date onward, the oldest standard the Google advertising networks will support will be HTML5.

And No One — Not Even Adobe — Cares
Here’s the thing: even Adobe thinks that this is the right move. Adobe already offers an expansive suite of HTML5 animation tools. Ever since Apple banned Flash from running on the iPhone/Pad/Pod mobile ecosystem in 2010, citing excessive battery use, massive security holes, and lack of touch support, Flash has been on the way out. Android’s decision to follow suit a few month’s later didn’t help. Today, the only realms that are still significantly running Flash are advertisements, horrible little online games (many of which are X-rated), and the one place where we will miss Flash:

But even HomeStarRunner points out that HTML5 can do the job — it’s just that the creator will have to actually take some time to learn the new platform, which could be a problem for several long-term semi-cult-status content creators who have full time jobs on the side.

Do We Lose Anything With The Switch to HTML5?
There are some things — OK, many things — that Flash can do that HTML5 cannot. Importantly, HTML5 doesn’t handle measurements of less than one pixel well — some web browsers will round a sub-pixel amount up, some down, and some according to the typical rules of rounding. This means that HTML5 animation can appear differently in different browsers, which isn’t acceptable in today’s market.

But What We Gain Is SEO
That said, HTML5 has enough going for it that it more than makes up for the difference. Of the greatest importance is the difference between how HTML5 objects and Flash objects are seen by Google spiders. Flash objects literally show up to Google as an impenetrable, featureless object called “Flash Object,” providing absolutely no SEO value whatsoever. By comparison, HTML5 objects can be crawled by Google and, depending on how much work you put into the microdata, can be anything from just slightly better than Flash to ‘approaching meaningful’ to your total SEO efforts for a page.

I say ‘approaching meaningful’ because obviously, no amount of microdata is going to approach the strength of the classic “backlinks and domain authority” when it comes to SEO, but in a world where SEO is as competitive as it is here and now, every little thing you can eke out of a website can actually matter.

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