When to use a Splash Page

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Nineteenth E-Webstyle.com SEO Podcast June 12th 2009. Second page of Transcription

Chris: So let’s keep that fattest city going anyway. So let’s say that’s one of the list. So you click that, that’s the list that starts off. And then the next list is the healthiest cities, and you click that. And without the entire page refreshing, BOOM, there you have the top ten healthiest cities. And, you know, the next one could be, I don’t know, some sort of top ten things David Letterman apologized for. And again, BOOM, it comes in without refreshing your screen.

Paul: Now why would we want to stay away from using that?

Chris: That’s a great question. Because Google and the Bots out there, so that would be like Yahoo Bots and again, Bots are the name that we give to the software that Google uses to go through your website and figure out what’s on your website. Well they’re not going to click all those links and they’re not going to be able to read all of that dynamically generated content. And so, if your target was to be on the first page for top ten things that David Letterman apologized for, and that’s the third of those links that I just mentioned, well Google is not even going to know that that information is on your page at all. And we all know if Google doesn’t see any information on your page relevant to a certain thing, you are not optimizing for that. So, does that make sense?

Paul: That makes perfect sense. And you know to someone, like when I first came across this, my first thought was, okay, well, dynamically changing content is a good thing. You want to have changing content. And I was first thinking, Oh, kind of like an RSS feed. It gives you dynamic content, you know if you have an RSS feed on your website, the contents change and Google likes it, it looks good. And that was what I was thinking at first, till I actually made the distinction between doing that and then, Ajax. Ajax is not going to be Googleable, excuse me, to be spidered.

Chris: Spiderable.

Paul: Yeah, there we go. I’m just making up words.


Chris: It’s a good day for that. Ajax, cleaning my sink. No, that’s exactly right. There is actually, you know, normally when a page refreshes there’s what’s called a server hit and that means that there’s a request from your user who’s viewing your website, and it goes back to the server that’s hosting your website and then sends new content. That does actually occur in Ajax, but it occurs on the page so the entire page doesn’t refresh.

The other thing that’s important to remember is, say you wanted to send the list of top ten things that David Letterman apologized for, to a friend. Because the URL is not changing on that page, the best you can do is send them the URL and then tell them to click the top ten David Letterman apologies list. So you’ve only given them a two step process. Whereas, if you have, if a new page refreshes, not only is it good because Google can see it, but you can actually send that URL to your friend and they can go directly to the top ten things that David Letterman apologized for. I don’t know any others except Sarah Palin, saying bad things about Sarah Palin.

Paul: The people came down on him for that one.

Chris: Yeah, pretty hard, but I don’t know. They were saying David is not funny and the guy’s hilarious. He’s a very well paid guy, because he’s hilarious. Did you know he hosted the movie awards, Academy Awards once?

Paul: Really?

Chris: Yeah, he hosted the Academy Awards. This was a long time ago, and apparently he was an abject failure.

Paul: Really.

Chris: Like…just bombed. His performance was just horrible

Paul: I didn’t know that. I wouldn’t think that because that’s what he does everyday. He gets up and jokes and clowns with people every single night.

Chris: And there were pundents who were saying, oh, that’s the first step in the fall of David Letterman. He’s never going to be in business again. And to David Letterman’s credit, he’s smart enough to get, you know he went on his show and made fun of his own performance that he given that was so bad. So, it’s, you know, turned it into humor. If self deprecation is a very endearing quality, and it can get annoying, so don’t do it too much.


Paul: The next thing on our list is, Image and Flash Content. I like Flash and I think it can go in a million different directions. I think it’s a good thing if you do it properly on your website. Now that’s kind of…..

Chris: You mean like us?

Paul: Yeah, of course. Is there anyone else that can do it properly? It’s kind of a fine line you’ve got to walk when you are using it so, what are we saying? It’s good, it’s bad, or that……?

Chris: We’re saying that you have to use it properly. And for instance, this is a classic example because we used to do this long ago here. The header of a page could say, let’s just stick with our theme here, you know, top ten things that David Letterman apologized for, that can be across the top. You could throw that in an image and fancy it up so it looks like a fancy Google. You know how Google is always changing their Google title on their research, so you could do that with top ten things that Letterman apologized for. But if that’s and image, then the text, top ten things that David Letterman apologized for, is in an image. The best you could do is add an all tag, which isn’t nearly as effective as having a header tag, H1, H2, H3. If you guys aren’t familiar with those, you should get familiar with them. It’s not nearly as good as just having text there. So, although it looks prettier and it creates a nice theme for the customer, for the user, a nice interface, it’s not very good for search engine optimization.

Again, you could have, and we’ve seen this, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this, an entire website, somebody you were quoting recently, a while back. One was all Flash and one was Images. So it’s like somebody took the PDF that they were making for their brochure and just stuck the image that the Jpg image up so it had all the tags, it had everything, it looked nice and even had some links. The challenge; it’s an image. And Google cannot go through the text of an image. And when Google can’t go through the text, Google thinks there’s no text….BOOM, you’re not going to get, you’ll get indexed, but you’re not going to get indexed the way you’d like to get indexed.

Paul: And you know, I don’t see that too often anymore. But I do still see it. I think I saw one last week….the whole site was Flash and if you like Flash and you want to do your whole website in Flash….and I’ll say this, if you don’t really care about your SEO, do your whole site in Flash.

Chris: You’re marketing budget is going to have to be a lot bigger.

Paul: Yeah, exactly. So, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Chris: That’s true. And so, yeah, Image and Flash….same kind of thing. They can have these great menus, you can have great….all sorts of things and just remember, Google and Yahoo and, is it Bling now….Bing, Bling, I think it’s Bing. The cool search engine,

Paul: And I just got on Bling yesterday for the first time. I won’t say anything about it. It was alright.

Chris: I was on it the first of this week and to me it was like, Live, they just made it prettier.

Paul: They just added bling to it.

Chris: There you go and it’s a platinum bling added bling to the Live. This is their third effort at SEO.

Paul: I wasn’t…..first I didn’t use Live that much, I didn’t really like their search results and to me Bing is kind of like….they just fancied it up a little bit. To each his own.

Chris: You need a little bit more than window dressing on a search engine to make it really pop. So the next thing we’ve got here is a Splash page. Paul, give us your honest opinion. What do you think of Splash pages?

Paul: Why, seriously, we’ve been through this over and over and over again. You know what I feel like when I see a Splash page? I’m like, Dude, did you not listen to the podcast?


Paul: That’s what I think….Like….STOP, STOP, STOP…..man. I just want to grab those people and shake um….Baby shake um…..okay, let me clarify that.

Chris: Apple of the iphone baby shake um.

Paul: You had to listen to a previous podcast. I do not shake babies. There’s where it comes from but just….if I run across a Splash page and I’m on the phone with someone talking to them about it and I’m looking at their site and they have a Splash page, I tell them, don’t do it. Or I would say, listen, if you’re little intro movie or whatever is just awesome and it gives a lot of insight about your company, put it on your home page.

Chris: As part of your home page.

Paul: There you go. Don’t make me have to watch this thing, because the first thing, when I see those, I’m immediately looking for…skip intro.

Chris: Skip or back or bounce.

Paul: I will bounce Hop, skip or bounce, and hopping is not an option, so it’s skip or bounce and if there’s no skip, it’s a bounce. And if you’re not sure what we’re talking about, everyone’s been to a site where they make you watch this little intro before you get to the site; the actual homepage. That’s really what we’re referring to.

Chris: Yep, that’s a big problem. You know there are some instances, having said all of that, you’ve released all of your anger….your in a good place now….there’s actually a website, a massive website, that uses what you could arguably call, a Splash page, and that is FedEx. If you go to FedEx dot com, they have a simple, no text, nothing to it, page and then you select your country. And that’s arguably a Splash page. But it makes sense, right?

Paul: It makes great sense, because there’s some utility to that you know.

Chris: Necessity. You know we’ve got clients that have websites in multiple languages and if there were enough languages, we would probably recommend that they do something along those lines. Until there is enough languages, we recommend that they have a link to each language on each and every page. So, if you’re on the homepage, you go to English, Spanish, French or Portuguese. If you’re on, you know, the products page, you can click English, Spanish, French, Portuguese on each of those pages, because that’s only four languages. But when you start adding a whole bunch more languages, you can’t list all of those languages. You probably could do a drop down, but it just makes a lot more sense to have a Splash page like FedEx. Also, on FedEx, I don’t think they do have any sort of Flash on there.

Paul: Okay.

Chris: Which, in that case, I would actually recommend that they have something….you know….motion something, you know, showing their delivery, showing worldwide capacity, or whatever there where they could also have the drop down of which country. Yes, most people are never going to look at it, but if anybody gets there for the first time and didn’t realize that that accesses a Splash page, you know, it’s a powerful brand and it’s an opportunity to brand again. In fact, the smartest thing might be to put some charity Flash on that front, you know. What are some of the charities that FedEx…you know they’re involved in some charities.

Paul: That would be a great idea.

Chris: What are the charities they’re involved in because you know, it’s like a no business cost way to advertise the charities that there in. So that I would actually recommend.

Paul: I think that
’s a great example of where that particular Splash has some utility to it, it’s a good idea. Remember that, not the shot that we’re looking at, but we went to another site that they had linked to and they had their shots and you could choose the language and I said, Okay yeah, this country, they operate out of Europe, but they sell to many different countries. They had the three biggest languages that they support and you could pick your language. And I said, okay, great idea, especially if you’re a global company. And I think that’s a great idea.

Chris: Makes a lot of sense. Aren’t we all global companies? Not the dry cleaner down the street. Tim and his new baby, there’s a “shout out” to you. I’m sure you don’t listen to the podcast. (laughter) Thanks for cleaning my clothes.

Paul: Thanks for taking care of my clothes….new buttons. I lost a button this morning.

Author: eweb-admin