Typically, a splash page is designed to catch the attention of a human visitor through use of a large graphic, a Flash movie, or some other technological item. While this may indeed attract the attention of your human visitors, visiting search engine spiders won’t be impressed, and ultimately your human visitors will not get all the benefit they could from visiting your site.
Search Engine Spiders and Splash
Search engine spiders rely on text and links to get their work done. In the past when there has been virtually no text on an entry page, images or a Flash movie, the content of the web page has not been read and indexed by the search engine spiders. Graphic images and Flash were lost on the spiders beyond ALT attribute text for the images. Until recently Flash was unreadable to the search engine spiders.
This is now changing as the major search engines are joining together to understand and index the content of Flash movies. While this is a major improvement for search engine indexing of Flash movies in the meantime it is important to provide at minimum a title and meta description as well as a text description of your company on your main entry page using important keyword phrases. A good combination is to embed a Flash movie within a page which also uses keyword optimized text.
To see what the search engine spiders see, go to SEOChat and use their spider simulator tool at http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/spider-simulator/ and enter your website address. When you run the spider simulator, you will see what the spider sees when it visits web pages to read and index information.
Splash Pages In Search Results
Ever search on the url of a splash page? It can be a real eye opener. Try searching on the url of the web page in Google and most often you will find minimal information about the page in the search results. You can hope that the search engine spiders pick up at least the meta description and title tag as part of the search results. There are times when even this is not available in a splash page and there is no text on the page to index. The search results are what searchers click on to go to your website. If there is no real information about your website chances are slim the searchers will click the search result to find out more about your company. If this is the entry page to your website it is not a good use of your online property.
The Importance Of The Entry Page
While a search engine spider can follow text links into the main content of your website, you are wasting this splash page. To make this page most useful to your visitors and to search engine spiders, you want to put good, keyword-rich text on this (and every) page in the website. Content is what your visitors, both human and electronic, are really looking for. Rather than having just a page of links, put some real content on the entry splash page. Websites that talk about their companies and their products and services on the entry page tend to catch users’ attention and make them delve deeper into the site to look for more information.
Make The Visitor’s First Visit Memorable
Once a visitor reaches your website you want them to stay and click farther down into your website. You never know what your visitor’s attention span is going to be, so each page on the site needs to stand on its own, and to give the visitor something useful; never waste a page as a “click here to go somewhere else” page. Splash pages are most useful if they provide information about your company to the visitor as well as information that can be indexed by the search engine spiders.