Why website 'Coming Soon' pages are a bad idea for SEO

Written by Helen Selby

You despise your website. The content is outdated, the colours are all wrong, and you’re worried about the impression it’s making on potential customers.

If a new website is in the works, it can be tempting to pop up a quick ‘website coming soon page’, complete with an email signup form and social form. Brilliant, right?

Well, in a word, no. You may not be your site’s biggest fan, but it still has value – or at least it could, with a little care and attention.

Here are a few reasons why you should leave your site be, right until the new site is ready for launch.

If you want more tips and tricks on how to use your brand to benefit your SEO  - download our Guide to Optimising for Search.

Customers should feel welcome

It’s unlikely that your customers, be them existing or potential, have as much beef with your website as you do. A ‘coming soon’ or ‘under construction’ page only makes them feel excluded, frustrated and none-the-wiser about your services.

Don’t assume customers will hunt for information about you elsewhere or check back each day for your new site content. Keep their attention by leaving your content right where it is.

Your website says a lot about you 

Your site could be the first point of contact for potential customers. No matter how amusing or creative your ‘coming soon’ page is, you run the risk of your business appearing incomplete.

Make a great first impression by giving customers the information they need. It might not be perfect in your eyes, but it still offers vital information that an almost-blank page just can’t compete with.

No site content = SEO fail 

Over the years, your site has been indexed and ranked by Google. Pulling it down in favour of a ‘coming soon’ page will undo much of that good work. It will also break all your inbound links. A ‘coming soon’ page doesn’t give Google any content to index, so in the search engine's eyes, you might as well not exist.

Avoid starting at zero again when the new site goes live. Feed Google with rich, informative content instead of a promise.

The temporary fixes 

We know, we know. You don’t have any rich, informative content at the moment – that’s the whole problem. Our advice? Forget about the missing magic for now, and focus on what you do have.

Make quick updates
Go through your current site and repair the simple stuff. Bolster your headings (even if it’s just the main ones – the H1s), update any incorrect information, and fix any broken images. Keep your soon-to-be-live site in mind as you do this, as you may be able to keep this polished content on your new pages.

Offer alternatives
If there are a couple of pages that are really bothering you but you simply don’t have time to amend, don’t just remove them: sign-post users to other relevant pages on your site instead. Or, if it will make sense for the user journey, consider putting redirects in place. It’s all about creating a positive user experience.

Don’t over-share
Keep in mind that most brands are forever updating their websites; it’s good for business and SEO. But there’s no need to tell your customers when you’re doing it.

Should new businesses use an 'under construction' page? 

Here’s the caveat to all of the above: if you’re a new business and don’t have a site right now, you could get away with a ‘coming soon’ page while you wait for your developers.

Just make sure the page points to your social channels, which will be fizzing with great content.

Speaking of which… take a look at some of the content we’ve worked on in our Tails.com case study.

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