Full-screen div instead of splash page

Hi guys,

I know that splash pages can be a pain in the ass for users, and serve no real purpose for SEO (especially if they’re just a flash movie) but I want/need to incorporate something ‘like’ a splash page for a project I’m doing.

I was thinking of overlaying a <div> across the whole screen of the homepage with Javascript or something, and only show this div to new visitors or users who select the option to view it every time they visit the page (I’d use a cookie or something to check this).

I cannot think an overlaid <div> would affect SEO negatively? Would it count as being hidden text?

Another option I’m thinking of is doing something like at this blog: http://coda.co.za/

But is there enough seo-relevant content on the entry page of that blog ‘as is’ to have it score highly?

Any help is gratefully appreciated and any other alternatives also!

Thanks in advance!

Having an overlay <div> won’t affect you negatively for SEO provided that it’s not shown to search engine bots. Probably the easiest way to do this would be do document.write the <div> with javascript so that it simply doesn’t even show for the bots. Bonus is that for users with javascript disabled (yes, they’re still out there) they won’t be negatively affected either.

Generally the entry pages of blogs don’t score highly. The landing page is a summary of the different articles built for human users, not search engines. To a search engine spider the main pages of blogs touch too little on too many topics to be relevant to anything. Rather, each individual article within the blogs are much more attractive to a spider and that’s the part of the blog that will rank well.

thanks for the reply Hyperbolik!

yeah I will do as you say with the javascript write, also I will give users the option of turning off the splash div on subsequent visits (using a cookie).

Generally the entry pages of blogs don’t score highly. The landing page is a summary of the different articles built for human users, not search engines.

Well I’m not coding a blog, I just liked that particular design, the website is to advertise a product and also maintain a frequently blog/articles module to provide information, if the index (landing) page of the website with the div has enough seo-friendly text on it (which it will have!), would having a couple of summaries e.g.

<body>

–seo-friendly text–

–seo-friendly text–

  • Latest Articles:

  • Article 1

  • Article 2

  • Article 3

  • Latest Blog Posts:

  • Post 1

  • Post 2

  • Post 3

–bit of seo-friendly text for the footer-

</body>

… be harmful to SEO?

all the relevant text <div>s would be first in the html source code, with just 6-8 links to the newest posts/articles near the end of the body tag before the footer. the linked pages would obviously be relevant to the product and link back to the homepage.

or in other words, how many ‘latest article’ links would I get away with before starting to dilute the seo value of the homepage?

any help is much appreciated, thanks in advance!

The “SEO value” of the homepage isn’t going to be hurt by numerous links to deeper pages of your own website. Feel free to link up as many pages as you see fit. As I mentioned before, your home page is never really going to be relevant to any searches except for the name of your website (unless specifically optimized otherwise). The individual pages of your website are the most specific areas and hence the most useful to a user. Google recognizes this and will most likely be ranking your deep pages better than your home page when it comes to content.

That being said, if the majority of your backlinks point to your home page rather than deeper pages, then your home page is going to rank better but it will have very little to do with what you have on it.

I guess my point is that you should design your website so that it’s useful to users. How many links to other areas do you think is too many before a user becomes distracted? I’d keep it under 10. In terms of SEO, the biggest factor is where the 3rd party links actually point to.

When trying to make decisions about stuff like this the best thing to do is ask yourself the question that Google would ask you:

“would you do it if there were no search engines and does it help your users?”

If the answer to both is yes then do it.