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Is There Long Term Harm In Launching Early?

     
3:17 pm on May 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the process of launching an info site. The big draw is PDF documents which are mostly made of images.

Usually I just post pages as I go, but I've hired a team to write descriptions of each PDF. I post the descriptions on the HTML 4-6 weeks after I make it live.

Currently the HTML files have listings of PDF files with the actual title, preview image, and a working link to the complete PDF. I just have the word "Description" posted next to it.

Is there any long term SEO harm if I leave it like that? Should I noindex those pages now or not worry about it?
6:36 pm on May 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'd noindex the pages until they're complete. In fact, I wouldn't even put them online until they were finished but it sounds like they are already and they are being worked on live by the people you hired.

Long term damage? Probably not. Those PDFs may rank high for "description" though.
1:39 am on May 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thx @keyplyr
2:19 am on May 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Depends on what you want to rank, the PDF/image or the description that will lead to that content. After the fact bolt ons rarely make much difference and once these are in image search might take a while for your descriptions to update the presentation.

Generally you don't want to release anything that is incomplete in hopes that any SE much less g will come back and fill in the empty spaces.
4:16 am on May 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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releasing incomplete pages en mass can sometimes result in troubles if it is a high percentage of overall content. I have received manual spam actions because of it.

And later got myself out of after completing the pages, I viewed it as my personal exercise towards curing spam actions. (Nevertheless the site did rank in other search engines, albeit poorly). I let the manual spam action sit for close to an year while I got busy with other sites, and see how that affects the ranking). Given the circumstances...long term damage, maybe not, but it's definitely not good for immediate / long term success. I believe it's much better to get good metrics off the start, especially during that fresh starting stage.

The traffic is slowly increasing after the spam action had been lifted. But it probably would have been much higher/better if I avoided that thin content hiccup when I first started the project.

I personally would not let google even see those thin placeholder URL / pages until they are ready for general public consumption. Password protection can probably be the way to go.
8:17 pm on May 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In years gone by I released whatever content I had as soon as I could, incomplete or not.

I've changed my approach now. In several instances G were very reluctant to change their indexing approach when I changed articles because they had been set up incorrectly. It can sometimes take a year or two to correct mistakes and get G to realise it.

In the end G does take notice but it can piss you off big time for a year or so.
8:48 pm on May 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The only time I would launch anything early would be to protect a trademark/copyright .... and only then if there was sufficient to cover that need.

The OP is talking images which, in my opinion, are treated separately, even with PDF or descriptions. Meanwhile, why take chances on any SE getting it half-right at the get go?
4:46 pm on May 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys. That really helped me make the right decision to not rush in and wait until I have a complete site ready to roll.
12:37 am on May 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts covered this a while ago - only push a page live once it has the right copy.