Google confirms engineers working on Flash fix for Instant Preview feature
But the decision still comes as SMEs and SEO experts are attempting to keep up with the sheer amount of changes Google has made to its search results process, with the company pushing more information onto the home page.
Google spokesperson Courtney Hohne says the company is aware of an issue which turns previews of websites with Flash-based windows into black boxes, and engineers are working on a fix.
"This is a temporary issue that we're working to fix. Currently, some videos or Flash content in previews appear as a "puzzle piece" icon or a black square. We're working on rendering these rich content types accurately. So we hope webmasters aren't rushing to get rid of Flash – this is temporary!"
The confirmation is a relief for Sarah Leslie, director of art retail website Signarture, who was shocked to find her site did not appear rendered in the Instant Preview feature yesterday.
"I certainly am relieved to hear that. Half the point here is that there are beautifully designed sites that employ Flash, some of them are entirely built in Flash, and if they weren't going to be previewed, then beautiful architecture would be lost," she says.
Google introduced the change yesterday, with the feature to roll out globally over the next few days. SEO experts warn that companies may have to change their SEO strategies, as businesses may see lower click-through-rates if users choose to visit more attractive sites based on the Google Instant Previews.
However, despite Google's reassurance Flash images will be maintained, SMEs are still grappling with the changes and how to approach the new emphasis on design rather on dedicated SEO strategies.
Reseo chief executive Chris Thomas says his company is debating how to approach the changes, and says SMEs really need to start paying attention otherwise they will be left behind by fancier-looking websites, particularly by companies with larger design budgets.
"It obviously creates visibility around the results now, and there is transparency around what you're likely to visit. We've been talking about this internally a lot, and thinking about how we can change things for Google Preview mode."
"However, this isn't really a great surprise. Bing has been doing this for ages, not just with the graphical preview, but they used to have a small portion of the page and pull headings out of it. So you can see where all this started."
However, while Thomas says companies now need to pay a little more attention to their design, he also says this is because of a huge implication around AdWords.
"The big implication is around AdWords. If you have a crappy landing page and no one is visiting you based on these previews, then you are going to see click-through-rates drop and your ranking will suffer."
"We're taking a cautious approach. We know there are some big changes here but we think Google is still playing around with the changes and it will take some time for everything to settle down and for businesses to catch up."
But the change is only one of a few Google has made to its home page recently. With the launch of Google Instant and the Google Maps preview, Thomas warns its becoming harder for SMEs to keep up.
"We're just trying to digest the last change, and then this comes along. I've talked to a potential client and they've been hit by the Google Places change... they've had a hit to their traffic. They are making some big changes very quickly."
Leslie says the amount of changes being introduced by Google is hard to keep up with, especially for a small business.
"The pace of change never really slows down with Google, does it? It's fairly major when they make these changes... and it's creating a lot more work."