Splash Page SEO: How To Rank With The Double Homepage Technique

Author: Gab Goldenberg

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?

Drumroll please…

Get links!

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:

Dhtml Rollover Subscriber Box

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.

Lightbox Effect

You can use the lightbox effect to present splash page stuff automatically when the page loads, and then have a normal optimized homepage.

There’s a slight catch with the Lightbox approach. It depends on javascript, and about 5% of the web population has javascript disabled. So nothing will happen for them. So if legal absolutely needs 100% of people to confirm their age, then this isn’t ideal.

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 are 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.

Sidebar Story

Comments

  1. This is pretty much straight forward that I believe even without testing this would work. In fact we have presented this technique to a client two months ago as a solution to their Geo selection map image. So far we are just waiting on implementation hurdles to get solved and once completed, I'll update you how it goes.

    Comment by Benj Arriola - June 23, 2009 @ 8:18pm
  2. Interesting... Another nice thing about this approach is that you can cookie it and only show it to new visitors, so it's not an annoyance. I hate all of the big corporate sites who make me jump through hoops to tell them my location, only to serve up 98% of the same content.

    Comment by Dr. Pete - June 23, 2009 @ 8:21pm
  3. hey Benj, Thanks for the kind words and sharing your own personal experience! I'm always fascinated how different people in the industry, without even speaking to one another, will come up with the same solutions to a given problem. Please let me know what happens with that client!

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - June 23, 2009 @ 11:43pm
  4. Great point Pete! Hadn't even considered that. It's funny how they do all that only to serve the same content... Here in Canada though it's more logical because of the two official languages.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - June 23, 2009 @ 11:44pm
  5. So if we comment on this article that means we'll get a link back to our site with the anchor text we want? That's kinda weird how your repeat user comments right above the comments only with a clean link and valuable anchor text. Whatev... can you link back to ryanwhiteseo.com with the anchor text "SEO ROI"? thanks

    Comment by ryanwhiteseo - June 24, 2009 @ 4:51pm
  6. No, my policy has always been that valuable comments get dofollow links. I've repeated the comments because many people don't bother reading comments. I want to highlight and thank Benj and Pete for valuable contributions. Being rude won't get you very far in life.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - June 24, 2009 @ 5:22pm
  7. I like the idea. A lot. So much so... that I'm going to use it. And with a cookie implemented... :)

    Comment by Andy - June 25, 2009 @ 1:54am
  8. Nice article. :-)

    Comment by The tools at Carazoo.com India - June 25, 2009 @ 3:44am
  9. Glad to hear it Andy! Let me know how it goes :).

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - June 25, 2009 @ 12:43pm
  10. No seriously Matt Cutts it isn't cloaking I am using the Ajax for website functionality... *g* I have used the same approach for doing Testimonials as no one ever writes keyword rich ones :) I also wrote a previous Article on Javascript, AJAX and SEO. http://www.quenet.org/Articles/AJAX-Javascript-SEO/ BTW nice meeting you at SMX Advanced Gab. Cheers.

    Comment by SEO Canada - June 25, 2009 @ 1:42pm
  11. Very nice solution. I'll consider using a variation of this on one of the many biligual sites we work on so often here in Quebec! I love reading your stuff Gab, keep up the great work! -Matt

    Comment by Matt - July 7, 2009 @ 8:19pm
  12. Glad to hear it Matt, n thanks for the kind words! Let me know if there's anything else I can do for you, as one Montreal SEO to another.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - July 7, 2009 @ 8:59pm
  13. a little late but anyway...was looking for something similar for my wordpress blog.while searching for some plugin i found this: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/splashscreen/ but it doesnt seem to be what you are talking about(rollover , javascript etc) does it? what would be the effect of using this plugin in terms of seo?how spider would see my homepage? another thing i found while searching is action popup plugin which can be used to do smth like that, no?i mean im still talking about wordpress and some easy way to implement this idea for by a non programmer. any ideas?

    Comment by ZassanaPauka - July 19, 2009 @ 7:24pm
  14. hey Zassana, I'd go to scriptlance or elance or rentacoder and have someone create such a plugin for you. Just explain what it needs to do. The plugin you've linked to doesn't seem to do what you need.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - July 20, 2009 @ 3:31pm
  15. nice. How about css z-index and a mix of cookies to eliminate the annoyance to your visitors and we have ourselves another viable solution.

    Comment by Carl - January 18, 2010 @ 4:40pm
  16. I've heard the words 'z-index' before but I'm not sure what that means. I'd love for you to illustrate in more detail/ explain what z-index would do :D! Sounds creative in any case - thanks for sharing that great comment!

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - January 20, 2010 @ 1:44pm
  17. Prob. a little late for an answer, but wisn't z-index the property in css that decides on wich layer something lies? like layer 0 would be behind layer 1 and layer 100 would be on top of every layer with an z-index smaller than 100, even -100 is aplicable, no? :)

    Comment by ov - April 15, 2010 @ 5:37pm
  18. Correct, with the condition that the z-index attribute is given to explicitly positioned elements ie relative, absolute or fixed.

    Comment by Springboard SEO - April 18, 2010 @ 11:49am
  19. That is a nice whitehat SEO technique. Would it be so annoying if you make the splash page cover the entire page? And some people don't like signing up forms.

    Comment by tree service eugene oregon - December 1, 2010 @ 5:02am
  20. This is a good white hat techique !!!

    Comment by bk - February 2, 2011 @ 6:53am
  21. nice. How about css z-index and a mix of cookies to eliminate the annoyance to your visitors and we have ourselves another viable solution. Owais from SEO Pakistan

    Comment by Owais - February 22, 2011 @ 10:19am

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