Splash Pages vs. Landing Pages: A Critical Analysis

okdork splash page example

Splash pages vs landing pages. A critical analysis of which is best for your business, how to get the most out of splash pages and inspirational designs to get you started.

What are splash pages?

splash pages vs landing pages
Splash pages vs landing pages: which is best?

Think of splash pages as giant static pop-ups or ultra-short webpages that welcome people to a website.

More often than not, they are visually striking, with high-contrast colours, typography and eye-catching images.

Finally, the design of a good splash page should be consistent with the overall branding and messaging of the website.

This helps to create cohesion.

Splash pages need good copywriting.

Splash pages are not just about aesthetics.

They also rely on copywriting techniques to engage website visitors with a clear and compelling message to take a desired action.

A good splash page needs a clear and concise call to action that encourages visitors to take a specific action, such as clicking a button or signing up for a newsletter.

However, exceptional splash pages emotionally understand the needs of their website visitors, the challenges they face, their motivations in life and the pain points they want to solve.

This is why copywriting on a splash page is so important.

It needs to be well-crafted and targeted to the specific audience that the website is trying to reach.

Splash page UX needs to be simple.

A good splash page must be user-friendly.

This means that it should be easy for users to navigate, with clear links and buttons that guide them to the next step in the process.

The splash page should also be optimized for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).

Splash pages are different from landing pages.

I feel the need to point out that while splash pages do have some similarities to landing pages and pop-ups, they’re different.

They each serve different purposes and understanding their unique roles is key to improving your conversion rates.

A splash page is used as an introduction or welcome to a website, while a landing page is specifically designed to encourage visitors to complete a particular action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase.

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To illustrate the difference, let’s take a look at some splash page examples.

Destiny 2 Splash Page Example
Destiny 2 splash page.

The website for the popular video game Destiny 2 has a splash page that features a background with characters from the game and a brief message inviting people to either watch the trailer or visit the pre-order landing page.

Splash pages tend to be visually appealing with clear calls to action, but they are not specifically designed to encourage visitors to complete a particular action that may require more information.

Landing pages vs splash pages.

This is where landing pages come in.

A landing page is typically a standalone page that is separate from the main website and is designed to be highly focused on a specific goal or action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase.

They are often used in marketing campaigns to convert leads into customers.

GoGoChimp landing page example
GoGoChimp’s e-commerce conversion rate optimisation landing page.

For example, our conversion rate optimisation for e-commerce landing page is designed to encourage visitors to book a time to have a chat about our services.

The landing page features video case studies; testimonials; a list of benefits, a form for visitors to fill out; Calendly links and much more.

Splash pages are much simpler than this.

Examples of jaw-dropping splash pages you need to see.

Here are a few splash page examples to inspire you.

Tesla Model S splash page.

Tesla Model S splash page
Tesla’s splash page for the Model S

The splash page for Tesla’s Model S features a striking video background of the car in motion and has a call to action that asks visitors to customize their own Model S.

Airbnb splash page.

Airbrb splash page example
Airbnb’s splash page uses imagery to convey its unique value proposition.

Airbnb’s splash page is focused on getting visitors to enter a destination and search for somewhere to stay.

What’s notable about this plash page is the background image which reinforces the concept that users may be able to discover unique accommodation that isn’t available elsewhere.

Sonos splash page.

Sonos One splash page example
The new Sonos One splash page.

Sonos’ splash page features a video demonstrating the company’s wireless speaker system for the Sonos One and a call to action inviting visitors to “Buy now“.

Hulu Plus splash page.

Hulu Plus landing page example
Hulu Plus use a splash page to get visitors to try a 1 week free trial.

The splash page for Hulu Plus’ streaming service features a message inviting visitors to start their free trial for unlimited instant streaming.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka age verification splash page.

Age verification splash page
Age verification splash page by Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Tito’s Vodka uses a simple age verification splash page that asks users to confirm their age.

The design of their splash page is on-brand (using Tito’s Vodka’s logo, colours, and fonts), uses design techniques to keep the visitor’s attention on the call to action and keeps things simple with minimal copy.

However, as their website is age-restricted, there is no exit link to skip past it which may have a negative effect on their SEO (more on this later).

Simple newsletter signup splash page (OkDork).

OkDork’s splash page is an exceptional example.

OkDork’s splash page may have a simple design, but don’t let that fool you.

It’s a masterclass in splash page design and copywriting paired with its complex use of conversion rate optimisation techniques.

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I could write an entire article dedicated to it.

But I’ll resist my geeky urges by surmising that this splash page is a very effective tool for telling people who this newsletter is for, what content they can expect from it, what “spicy” incentives they get when they join and who writes the newsletter.

Gated content: Report download (ConversionGods)

Conversiongods cta

Conversion Gods uses a splash page to offer a free report download that promises to reveal conversion-boosting secrets for video sales letters.

The splash page is simple, with a big, bold yellow button that makes it easy for users to take action.

Are your splash pages helping or hurting your SEO?

are splash pages bad for seo
Splash pages might harm your SEO efforts.

Now that we’ve covered what splash pages are, and why you should use them, we’re now going to tackle the elephant in the room… Are splash pages bad for SEO?

It’s a fair question to ask because search engine optimization (SEO for short) is crucial for any website that wants to get high rankings on Google.

While there’s a lot of solid advice about SEO online, pop-ups; overlays; modals; splash pages and interstitials are often overlooked.

Is your splash page mobile-friendly? Here’s why Google cares.

We have come to rely so much on the internet that we expect it to provide us with a seamless experience.

However, this is not always the case.

In recent times, we have seen an increase in the use of intrusive interstitials on web pages, which can be a source of frustration for users.

Interstitials are pop-ups or standalone splash pages that obscure the content of a webpage.

They often appear when a user is transitioning from the search results to the actual webpage and while they can be useful in some instances, such as age verification or cookie usage, they can also be annoying and disruptive.

This is particularly true for mobile users, who may have limited screen space.

It’s always important to remember that when it comes to SEO, all Google cares about is its users.

They want to satisfy their users with relevant search results to high-quality content on websites they trust.

If Google thinks that your website has a poor user experience then they won’t think twice about penalising your rankings in search.

These interstitials infuriate users, causing them to abandon pages and flee to more hospitable websites.

It’s worth remembering that Google takes into consideration your bounce rate. This signals the quality of your content, its relevance to the search result and how much users trust your website.

Splash page SEO that complies with legal obligations.

As seen above, websites such as Titos’ Handmade Vodka have to comply with legal obligations surrounding age verification.

However, if a website’s splash page appears in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage, or age verification then it will not be penalised by Google.

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Pop-ups SEO.

Pop-ups can happen in new windows or in the same browser window and a general rule of thumb is that new window pop-ups are a big no-no.

According to Google’s guidelines in 2016, as of January 10, 2017, web pages that use intrusive interstitials may not rank as highly.

This means that websites that use pop-ups or splash pages in an insidious way may lower their ranking on Google’s search engine results page.

In fact, you’ve probably noticed that most browsers now automatically stop pop-ups in new windows as they are mostly used by spammy and sketchy sites.

Overlays SEO.

Overlays, on the other hand, are less problematic, but they can still cause issues, especially with mobile.

A common overlay is a small element, box, window, or visual that appears on the page and asks users to take action, such as signing up for an email newsletter or downloading an ebook.

Interstitials SEO.

Interstitials are essentially advertising experiences that can interrupt the user experience.

They tend to be disliked by Google, and they have caused many sites to be penalized or even removed from the SERPs.

Timing splash pages for SEO.

Timing is worth considering when using splash pages.

Google views pop-ups differently depending on if they appear initially upon page load or if they trigger after a few minutes.

If an overlay or modal interferes with a visitor’s ability to read the actual content on the page, then Google may penalize the website and remove any mobile-friendly benefit.

Additionally, if the element can’t be closed or lasts too long, it can also cause problems for SEO.

Splash page interaction for SEO.

Pop-ups; splash pages; overlays; modals; interstitials or any kind of element that interferes with content or readability will have an effect on SEO.

Google’s new mobile guidelines state that any element that hinders a visitor’s ability to read the actual content on the page may be penalized or lose any mobile-friendly benefit.

Will your splash page affect SEO?

When it comes to websites, there’s no one size that fits all. However, while splash pages can be effective in engaging users and driving conversions, they can also have a negative impact on SEO if used improperly.

Gaining traffic through SEO is not an easy task, and businesses should not undermine their hard work by neglecting the impact of pop-ups, overlays, modals, and interstitials on their SEO.

As discussed above, there are multiple factors that can impact SEO, including timing, interaction, and content.

Therefore, you must carefully consider the use of splash pages on your website and how they may affect your SEO.

By following best practices, you can ensure that your splash page doesn’t have a negative effect on your website’s SEO.

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