The other day I was doing some research for a client from a list, supplied by the client, of competitors’ websites. After reviewing nearly 270 websites, I was left rather amazed and depressed due to the number of websites still sporting an Introduction Page. Over 60% of the websites had Introduction pages, detested by Search Engines and visitors alike, half of which were made with Flash.
If you own a website with an Introduction or Welcome page, here are some very good reasons as to why you DO NOT need them:
Of course this is an average but you have to design your website for the average user otherwise it will fail. By putting an extra click between your content and the visitor, you rob yourself of 1/3 of the available clicks on your website.
The reason you may not be getting much traffic to your website could very well be the Flash-based homepage (or worst still the entire site being in Flash). Search Engines and Apple products such as iPhone and iPad cannot read Flash. Just to see what search engines see, go to a flash based website or homepage and then “Right-Click” on the page and select “Page Source”. Firstly, if the website is entirely Flash-based you won’t get any option to view the code, as there is nothing to view other than a Flash frame. Secondly, if you have Flash in the middle of the page, you should see some basic “Header” and “Page” information plus a “Flash Frame” code and then nothing! This is what the search engines see, i.e., Absolutely Zilch Content, Nada, Zip, Nothing! As far as Search Engines are concerned your website does not have any content, so why should they bother indexing it or sending traffic to it. Now do you see why your website is so quiet?
Apple products such as iPhone, and iPad, just see a blank space wherever your Flash file is supposed to appear, and if the site is made up of Flash entirely then they display a big blank page.
SEO experts had always suspected that the Google algorithm measured the page load-time, but with the latest information released by Google they have made a clear statement about slow loading pages. Slow websites will be penalised within the SERP, as this is detrimental to “Customer Experience”. The key point to remember is that customer experience is now being included in the Google algorithm, and all that time waiting for your flashy Flash to load is counting against you.
All the time your visitor is waiting for your flash or your Introduction Page to load is costing you quality time with your prospective buyer. This page is intruding on the interaction with the visitor and their customer experience. This is as bad as being in a meeting and answering your phone! Not only it is the height of bad manners, but it also shows you have no respect for your customer’s time, because what you have to say is more important than what they want to hear.
If your pages are coded correctly then Google, Yahoo and all other search Engines are smart enough to recognise that your site is multi-lingual. People tend to search in their native language, using the appropriate Keyword/Keyphrase. Search Engines will then display the correct SERP (Search Engine Results Page) together with links to the relevant page and language.
Google will not direct you to a French page if you have searched in English or German or Spanish. So you do not need a page that allows people to select their language. However you do need to show visitors that you offer other languages by using flags or drop-down to offer the option of selecting a different language. This helps find the correct language specially in cases where common terms are used across different languages. However, your coding should send the correct signal to search engine as to the language in use on each page and avoid 99% of these instances.
In summary, if you want a website that performs better in SERP, if you want your customers to have a better experience of their visit to your website, and if you want more quality time with your visitors, please get rid of these pages and my advice is do it today.
Talk to us and let us help you create an effective website that performs well with Search Engines, creates an excellent Customer Experience and generates the results that contribute to your revenues and profits.
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