In SEO, Web Design by attercopia

Parallax Scrolling: SEO Best Practice

It seems the one page website has come back to haunt us, although thankfully it’s not quite the same as it was before.

Very Early One Page WebsiteThe revival of the single page website can be attributed in part, to the recent developments in technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and AJAX. What development in these coding languages now allows, is for content to be displayed in some pretty interesting ways, without the need for multiple URLs. However, this in itself can mean having a one page website puts you at a disadvantage, particularly in terms of search engine optimization (SEO).  

The SEO Issues with One Page Websites

1. One Page means One URL

And that means you can only really optimize it for one or two keywords. You will only have one set of Meta Data to play with. In some instances where parallax scrolling is used to showcase a particular product or service than one or two keywords may be sufficient. However, for a website promoting multiple and indeed different things, this can become problematic.

2. Site Loading Speed

Again with one page constituting your entire website, that means everything has to load at once and that can increase loading times drastically. This can have a negative impact on SEO because most users expect a website load in under 3 seconds. Failure to do so has them bouncing off site and search engines, particularly Google often interpret this as a poor  user experience (UX) and penalize your website causing you to lose rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).     However, having said all that, Google’s very own Matt Cutts has reported that Google is getting better at understanding JavaScript and explains that generally speaking “if it works for users it should work for Google too”. So it is possible to have a search engine friendly, one page, parallax scrolling website.

SEO Tips, Tricks and Best Practices for Getting the Most Out of One Page Websites

Set up a Blog

Having a blog allows you to target extra keywords on top of the one or two you are limited to on your one page website. Furthermore a blog allows you to keep adding and updating content for your customers, without having to redesign and alter your parallax scrolling homepage (a far trickier task). While technically adding a blog does make your website more than one page, it does allow you to have the wow factor of a parallax scrolling website as well as the SEO benefits of a multi-page website. Use the Rel-author Tag You should be making use of Rel-author whether you have a one page website or not and especially if you are regularly maintaining a blog. It allows you to link all your blog posts to the Google+ account of the content producer. This allows you to demonstrate the credibility of your content both to Google and to users who will see an image of the author appear next to the blog entry in search results. This essentially has two benefits, one your entry on search engine results pages will take up more real estate on the results page thanks to that image and two, the more authoritative your site is that higher it will rank. Remember, A One Page Website Can Grow!

Simply because you start with a one page website doesn’t mean you have to stick with one. You can instead, add extra pages as your business and services grow. This can be an especially useful tactic for start up businesses: an initial one page, parallax scrolling website can bring the impact and excitement you need to your brand image when initially launching yourself on the market, then over time when you decided you need more space for content and extra keywords, you can add those extra pages instead of undergoing a complete re-design. This approach is already tried and tested with the likes of Spotify making use of a parallax homepage which then links out to separate, static pages exploring topics in more detail. In terms of SEO, these extra pages give search engines more material to index and therefore increases your opportunities for appearing in SERPs (as well as being able to target those extra keywords as well).

Build a Mobile Site

Again one page website or not, you should be providing a mobile solution for your users by now. This could be an app, a responsive website or a mobile site. In the case of a parallax website design, your best option is to also build a separate, fully tailored mobile site. This is largely because parallax designs do not work well on mobile devices.  

Shout About It

Marketing and advertising are still great ways of generating traffic to your website which in turn helps boost conversion rates. Simply designing a stunning website isn’t enough, you need to let people know it exists, especially with one page websites where your keyword optimization is limited. In the short term using Google Adwords to run a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign can be an effective way to boost your presence in search results and generate traffic. However a more long term, better value and ultimately more effective strategy is content marketing. Producing high quality content marketing not only helps target additional keywords but also drives referral traffic to your website, builds your audience and essentially generates new and repeat business once trust is established. There are a number of channels, platforms and methods you can use for your content marketing strategy such as:

  • Blogging
  • Entering for awards and competitions in your industry
  • Gathering reviews
  • Running competitions
  • Producing whitepapers, SlideShares, case studies and info-graphics etc
  • Generating a press release for key business milestones, news and events
  • Creating Videos and other rich media
  • Using social media and creating social profiles that you keep regularly updated with tailored content

Research, Research and more Research

If you only have one or two keywords you can use on your one page website then you best choose wisely. Having said that, even if you decide to eventually add more webpages and blog posts to your website, each time you should research your audience and their interests, what keywords are sending traffic and what potential keywords could generate new traffic if you target them. You should assign one or two keywords only to any single page and where relevant and natural, use those keywords in the content on that page. As a general rule of thumb you should use both exact match and broader variations of your keyword so for example, if your keyword is “digital marketing agency”, using that term in your content would be an example of exact match usage, whereas broader using would be things like “digital marketing, marketing agency, digital agency, online marketing agency” etc. Keywords should be used in the title tag, meta tags, page content, H1 tag and image alt tags and well as in the body copy of a page.

Keep Track Anything and everything you do online such as launching a new website, redesigning an existing one and the all the marketing and promotion surrounding that website and content needs to be tracked. One of the easiest and cheapest (free) ways to do this is by using Google Analytics. Tracking performances over time will allow you to track your progress and in particular your SEO efforts and allow you to further tailor and refine your strategy to generate the best return on investment for your business. The key thing here is tracking “over time”, most organic SEO efforts and content marketing strategies take time to take effect (typically 3-4 months) so you need to be patient and be confident in seeing your strategy through this far, in order to see results. Playing the long game rather than trying to make a difference over night is the best tactic long term as it keeps growth and progress and at a steady rate rather than constantly fluctuating, so see measuring progress and calculating averages is far easier.

Naturally Build Up Links

Emphasis on “naturally”! For one page websites especially, one of the best ways to help your website rank well with search engines is to build up a credible back link profile. You should reach out to relevant and credible blogs and other websites to gain referral links and of course, make the most of all those social media platforms. Some popular methods to build back links are: writing and producing content about your company on external but relevant industry blogs and then linking those posts back to your own website. Submitting your site to directories, award sites and website galleries and being socially active. And there you have it, a one page website doesn’t necessarily mean your SEO has to suffer. What other tips do you having improving SEO on one page websites?  

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