Today I wanted to write about Single Page Websites and SEO. Single Page Websites are all the rage these days and I’m sure you’ve seen your share of them. If you’ve never experienced a single page website, try this one.
I love the look and feel, they clearly work great on mobile tablet – especially on a smartphone in my opinion.
Plus you can do some amazing creative design stuff like interesting graphics with animations and transitions in content.
But what about optimizing that content? You can only fit so much content on a single page website. While these websites look and feel cool, are there any issues regarding SEO for single page websites?
“It’s going to depend on what your particular area is, what the topic is, and what kind of layout you come out with. But if it works for you and for users to have that all on one page, for the most part, it should work for Google as well.”
You typically find start-ups and conferences using single page websites but this isn’t always the case. Either sway, each of the two typical examples would arguably require some decent SEO to be found. But SEO isn’t just on-page keywords. What about publishing and promoting relevant and equality content?
Search Engine Land’s Tom Schmitz spoke with some SEOs about this and heard what they had to say. “Common advice includes adding sub-pages or a blog. My only problem with this is it skirts the issue by turning your one page site into a multi-page site.”
Yes, agreed! It seems counter to the whole point of having a single page website. Therein lies the conundrum.
You want a slick and engaging single page website, you know your website needs you (or someone like me!) to publish regular and relevant content, but you only have so much room to play with on a single page website. I mean, you can keep adding content which will make the user keep scrolling and scrolling.
This may not be an issue, but for some it could really affect the User Experience (UX) on your website and could increase bounce rate while decreasing time spent on your website.
Let’s take a look at the total picture and the overall good and bad to single page websites and SEO.
We’ll go through a few misconceptions and then we’ll show you how to SEO and optimize a single page site.
Common Misconceptions About Single Page Websites and SEO
While it’s certainly true that search engines want to deliver results based on the relevancy of the users search query, a single page website will develop relevance for the primary and secondary keywords of that page, and may likely perform well in the SERPs. The problem becomes when you’re “stuffing” too much information into one page. You could “dilute relevancy for sub-topics and terms that might rank easier on their own pages.”
How To SEO for Single Page Websites
If you’re like me, you get bound and determined to do something because you’re certain it will be the best decision, regardless. So are you ready to launch your single page website after getting some serious SEO added to it? Here’s how you optimize a single page website:
1. Split Content in to Sections
This way, each ‘section’ a user scrolls trough on your single page site, is essentially the same as an internal page. You should treat it as such and use keywords and headings appropriate for what you want to rank for, for that section.
2. Create DIVs for Each Content Section
“Place each section of content inside its own DIV. Look at the code on The .GIFYS. Their sections include:
</div> <div id=”art-design”>…content…
</div> <div id=”cats”>…content…
</div> <div id=”film”>…content…</div>
CSS id names are not considered SEO keyword signals, but it’s a good way to keep things organized. You can also use them for anchor links, which are SEO signals.”
3. Anchor Links Are Super Important
Anchor links take you to a specific spot on the page. Using this approach can essentially give your single page website some simple navigation. Even a “navigation menu” if you will.
This way a user can click on a anchor text/menu item for a particular section/topic on your webpage, and the anchor link will take the user to that particular section of the page automatically – no scrolling.
4. Use Header Tags For Each Section
It turns out one H1 tag won’t be enough. Now I can hear SEOs screaming a the screen or punning on their desk saying “NO, NO, NO!! You must never use more than one H1 tag!! Use H2’s and H3’s instead of multiple H1’s.”
Now they may have a point, as I personally never use more than one H1 tag on a regular website and I know Google frowns upon use of multiple H1’s but…
Since an H1 tips off the search engine spiders that the following content is unique and independent of an other content on the rest of the page, this might be the only time you’d ever want to use multiple H1’s.
Google will be fine with it trust me. As long as there is a logical reason to have multiple H1’s. Here’s what Matt had to say about using more than one H1 on a page:
I still love the look and feel of single page websites. I agree with Schmitz when he says “Single page websites can be great for new sites and special projects.” For long-term needs however, you should stick to a multipage website that includes a blog, social integration, social sharing, e-commerce, and obviously a full on SEO strategy.
The compromise would be to design a multipage website with each page being a single column. That way you can have the look and feel of a single page website & SEO won’t be an issue.
What are your thoughts on Single Page Websites and SEO?