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Even Google hates splash pages

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Thursday June 12, 2008 )

Well, that’s somewhat an exaggeration, but Google does recognize that lots of folks (me included) hate those interruptive and usually bandwidth intensive splash pages.

I’ve never quite understood the logic behind splash pages – they do nothing except showcase the graphic designer’s skills and after the first “ooh and aaah” (from a few new visitors), they are a bandwidth sucking and time wasting pain in the butt. Some old statistics I came across show that 25% of visitors left a site directly after seeing a splash page.

Given that a site’s home page is really important in ranking, using a splash page can cause problems there also as they rarely contain any text that can be spidered by a search engine.

Google obviously sympathizes on this issue and now in Google’s listings where a splash page is detected, there’s an option called “skip intro”.

You can see it in action by running this example query:

tbilisi state medical university

Note the [ Skip intro ] link next to the listing title. Clicking on the link simply bypasses the splash page and takes you to where the “skip intro” link on that page is pointing.

If your web designer tries to convince you that you need a splash page; buy a large fish (preferably one that’s about to go bad) and slap him or her with it repeatedly while repeating “Splash pages are evil; splash pages serve no purpose!”.

I’m really surprised how many of them you still see around; they should have died out years ago. This is a wonderful feature Google has implemented and one I hope the other popular engines soon emulate – perhaps then the hint may have some effect.


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