Stephen Ostermiller's Blog

Myth: Websites should use under construction and coming soon notices

In the 1990s when the web was new, under construction notices were popular. Many sites would have them on unfinished pages. Some people are tempted to use them today, but there are some good reasons that their popularity has declined.

Perpetual construction

Almost all websites are constantly improving and being tinkered with. Even if nobody is actively developing them, there is always something that could be done. By this logic, every page on the web could have an "under construction" notice.

Construction isn't quick

When users encounter under construction notices, they quickly learn that they should be ignored. Most of the time, the notices stay up for months or years. It isn't any sort of draw to come back and check again to see a finished product.

It drives users away

Users are less likely to stick around and use a page that they see is under construction. Just taking the notice off without adding functionality can increase engagement.

It can hurt SEO

Google doesn't like to index blank pages or thin content. Google will consider a page with nothing but a "coming soon" notice to be a "soft 404." That is the same as a "page not found" to Google's algorithms. Google won't index that.

Even if the page does have some content, search engines may see an "under construction" notice as a sign that the page shouldn't be indexed or ranked well.

Best practices

It is better to release pages as content is written without putting up notices that the site isn't complete.

  • Don't link to pages that haven't been written yet.
  • Don't use "under construction" graphics or "coming soon" notices.
  • Release your site one page at a time as it is written. You can always add more, even without prior notification to users.

This article was written as part of a series about SEO myths.

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