Will a “Soft Launch” Cause Problems?

By Jill Whalen – September 08, 2006

Hi Jill,

I have an interesting case of a client who is wanting to do a “soft launch” of his site. The client wants to make the landing page or homepage a login section with little to no information about his product on it except for the name of the product and login details, as he wants to keep the product confidential until the official launch.

The page we have ready for the official launch will be fully optimized but will not be exposed until 2-3 months after the soft launch. Both of these pages will be using the same URL. The URL has not existed prior to this launch.

I am wondering if this will affect the page’s rankings and annoy the search engines? Or will the initial soft-launch page fall off the radar in terms of such a lack of content that the search engines won’t even pick it up?

I don’t want a case of the page being “black-marked” due to its lack of content. And the client is adamant about not having any content on this soft-launch login page.

Your advice would be very much appreciated!

Thanks,

Laura

Jill’s Response

Hi Laura, The search engines don’t “get annoyed” nor do they “black-mark” websites that aren’t attempting to deceive them in one way or another, so don’t worry about that! Unless you have links to your new domain, the search engines are unlikely to ever index it under your soft launch. The clock basically starts ticking once they find links pointing to your site — then they start to index it. If they do index the soft-launch page it’s no big deal; they’ll reindex the new site when it’s fully launched once they find a link to it and come crawling. Since the search engines base their rankings on whatever they find on the site at the time that they index it, you shouldn’t have any problems. Hope this helps! Jill

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