Sometimes the web designer in me is at odds with the on-page SEO expert in me. I want to make my websites beautiful but I want them to rank well.
When looking at new trends in web design I know that it is very important to consider the SEO implications.
I spoke about SEO at WordCamp Toronto 2012 and, during the Q&A I received a great question about how having a one-page website impacts SEO.
What is Parallax Design?
Parallax Design refers to the style of one-page website that has recently become all the rage. Parallax Design means navigation scrolls the visitor down sections of a single page. All of your website content is displayed to site visitors on a single page, essentially giving you a one-page website.
As an example have a look at the Leviate WordPress theme demo from Theme Forest.
Premium WordPress Parallax Themes
Many reputable premium theme providers offer attractive, responsive, one-page parallax scrolling themes BUT not all premium themes have been designed with SEO in mind.
Is a One-Page Website better for SEO?
Let’s look at different on-page SEO factors and see how a parallax theme impacts them.
A single-page will take longer to load, especially if you have a lot of image files. Google smiles on faster sites as faster page load improves user experience. Check your page speed here
Search Engines give added weight to content that is above the fold. With Parallax design, you have limited the above-the-fold real estate to just one page. Most of your website content is pushed below-the-fold.
RANKING FOR MULTIPLE KEYWORDS:
A single-page website makes it difficult to optimize the site for multiple search terms. With a multi-page website, there are more pages for Google to crawl and display in search results. If you optimize different pages for different search terms, there are more chances that your site will show up in search results.
A one-page website puts everything on the same URL. As a rule of thumb, you want to use keywords in the naming structure of your pages, something you can’t do if you have no secondary pages.
A one-page site equals one Meta Title and one Meta Description. There is only one page to optimize.
SECTION HEADING TITLES:
Search Engines give added weight to the keywords found in heading titles such as H1. Best practice is to only use one H1 per page; so I wondered how this would impact a one-page website. In this webmaster help video Matt Cutts address this. “If there is a logical reason to have multiple sections then it ‘s not so bad to have multiple H1’s.” So yes, if you use the H1 tag sparingly, it’s okay to use it multiple times.
Inspecting the code of the Leviate theme I don’t see any H1’s above-the-fold. An H1 above the fold on the homepage carries a lot of SEO bang for your buck so make sure you have one.
If you care about tracking click-through rates and conversions, you should know that it is very difficult to measure engagement on a single page website.
So what do I think about Parallax themes?
The SEO expert in me says no. A long, Parallax-style scrolling homepage can be attractive and for a simple website. But you need to ensure that the page doesn’t take too long to load and that there is an H1 heading title, and well-optimized text above the fold. Make sure that the theme allows for multiple pages and you aren’t limited to just a one-page site if you want to add more in the future.
Before you buy a Premium WordPress theme, do your research. Make sure the theme will help your on-page SEO efforts.