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!



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!


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September 8, 2006

CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.

High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.

Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ, Inc.com, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.

Search Engine Guide > Jill Whalen > Will a “Soft Launch” Cause Problems?