Does the legal team or your boss absolutely insist on having a splash page? Here’s a tip to SEO the homepage in the search engines despite the splash. It’s untested as of yet, but I feel it’s good enough to be worth a try.
Are you ready?
Ok seriously, you knew that. What I want to suggest is a way to have both a splash page and a separate, properly optimized homepage.
And no, it’s not cloaking.
I call this the double homepage technique.
Have you ever been to a site like Ralph Wilson’s famous Web Marketing Today? He uses a DHTML rollover (or at least I think it’s coded in DHTML?) to get more newsletter subscribers. It looks like this:
Well, why not make a full-size rollover that replaces your splash page? Ask people for their age, location or whatever else you’re currently using the splash page to segment visitors by.
Similarly, my sister Maya, a Montreal make-up artist, uses a lightbox effect when people click on her pictures. The pregnant lady’s thumbnail (not shown), when clicked, shows her in full size with the rest of the site darkened in the background.
You can use the lightbox effect to present splash page stuff automatically when the page loads, and then have a normal optimized homepage.
But if it’s just a boss who insists on some geo or language segmentation, then it’s probably OK. Just make sure you still have another way on the homepage and throughout the site for people to pick their language.
Boom – two homepages, no cloaking, legal gets the splash, SEO brings in the cash. Everybody’s happy! If you liked this, add my RSS feed to your reader for more advanced whitehat SEO ideas and techniques.
Update from the comments section:
Benj Arriola of SEO Consulting Firm Business Online tells me that their firm has presented this solution to a client and is waiting for the go-ahead.
Dr. Pete of Usability shop User Effect has suggested a valuable variation on this technique. The good doctor suggests you cookie visitors’ selection so that you don’t need to show them the splash page on subsequent visits.