Google can now index Flash better than before. What this means is that Google can now provide searchers even more information than before – if you look for information only found within a Flash site that Google can read there will be a result where there used to be none.
However, it does not mean that searchability, accessibility and usability issues regarding Flash websites have been resolved. Flash is an important tool and has a role in web presentations but should rarely be the format of choice for entire websites.
Indexing Flash better does not mean indexing Flash well. By design there is very little text within a Flash site for the search engines to read. Moreover, you have little control over how the website will appear in the SERPs (and often, it won’t be pretty).
There is no jumping inside a Flash movie. Google reading more into Flash does not mean it can overcome one of its main usability drawbacks – the fact that most flash websites are on a single URL or have a limited URL structure. You cannot link to a specific point within a Flash site. So even if Google knows that somewhere within your site there is something a user wants to see, it has no way of sending her there.
Many usability conscious SEOs are worried that news on better indexing of Flash sites devalues their oft used argument – it is easier to convince someone to avoid Flash if you can threaten very poor search engine visibility. However, most companies with pure Flash websites are simply victims of looks-obsessed graphic designers who don’t understand user experience. All the arguments against Flash abuse still hold: hard to optimize for search engines, poor accessibility (think rich managers on mobile devices if sight-impaired users aren’t good enough), poor user experience (no back button, no way of knowing how to interact with many sites).
This does not mean there is no role for Flash to play. If used correctly (most of the time within a website rather than instead of a website) Flash can make for great user experience (Future NOW’s Jeff Sexton provides great examples) . So next time your advertising agency or web designer tells you to go Flash make sure they understand its limits.