Single-page websites with parallax scrolling have been all the rage for the past couple of years.
The relationship between web design and SEO has been a tricky one from the start. Where web developers are focused on the latest and greatest design trends, SEO experts are looking for what's going to perform the best on the search engines. While both groups are concerned with the users' experience, they don't always see eye-to-eye on final product.
Parallax is way cool in the way it provides visual razzle dazzle and depth. However, in the process, too many businesses that transitioned to single-page scrolling websites lost a large amount of monetarily valuable organic search visibility and website traffic. Web developers see one page websites as easy to manage, fun to look at and engaging for users. Search engines see one page websites as slow loading, lacking a strong hierarchy and often aren't especially mobile friendly. Websites that had broad search visibility and strong organic traffic referrals that developed from a content-rich website were often hit hardest after transitioning to a Parallax site. No amount of scrolling is going to get that back as long as it is a single-page website as you're removed the content, metatags and linking structure that the search engines were relying on to award search visibility.
Alexa stats for a website that went to a single-page parallax scrolling website about six months ago. Before the transition, the Alexa number was under 1.5 million. Note that with Alexa, the lower the number, then the higher the website traffic.
Why do single-page websites lose search visibility? For starters, there is typically less content and content ultimately drives search visibility. Single-page websites, even long single pages, are essentially online brochures. Because all of your content is living on one page without any hierarchy to follow, search engines see no topical focus. The single page cannot be too long or it will be unwieldy. Search engines will not view the single-page website as having much relevant focus for any competitive phrase. Without informative content on specific URLs to link to, attracting in-bound links is going to be iffy.
Beyond the issues associated with the lack of content on Parallax websites, we must also look at Conversion Rate Optimization opportunities. A user has to scroll through all of your content to find your CTA, so you don't have many opportunities to get that right, or even test the possibilities. Being able to convert visitors needs to be a major focus of your Online Marketing initiatives.
You can SEO the single-page site to help search visibility, but the potential upside is limited. Basically you SEO each of the sections within the Web page as if each section was a Web page with their own H1 tags and text links into them. You're limited to a single Page Title and Meta Description and have to do a lot more with a lot less than a traditional, multi-page website.
The popularity of Parallax design is on the decline (a web design trend us SEO experts are happy to see!), but understanding the limitations is still important for brands looking at a redesign today. You need a content-rich website if you are going to build significant organic search visibility. That means you need a multi-page website. You do not have to give up parallax design. You can still have a website that looks cool. There are plenty of web design options and trends that give the look and feel of parallax scrolling without sacrificing your success on the search engines.
If you are stuck with a single-page website template that does not allow multiple pages, you should still be able to add a Blog so you can have multiple pages with a growing content inventory. For this approach to be effective, you must Blog frequently and have well organized categories to help users more easily find content of interest and for search engines to better recognize the topic of the Blog posts.
No matter how much you work on your single-page website, you are not going to get the search visibility that multi-page content-rich websites generate. With a well-designed, multi-page website, your current and potential customers will more easily find all the information they are looking for about your business.
For more information on transitioning to a new website that benefits your Online Marketing program, contact the team at E-Power Marketing! We love working with brands and web development teams to find the right balance between good looks and great performance for both the search engines and the end user. We'd love to talk you about how we can help your website outperform the competition!