Single Page Website Design and SEO

What works best?

Technology continues to grow and trends in web design are no different. The latest of which is thesingle-page-example Single Page Website or the One-Page Layout. With the use of CSS3, AJAX, and Javascript, web designers have been able to make navigating a website extremely fluid by using an elevator like affect that takes you to different sections while staying in the same page. Normally, the experience would be a navigation to a new page with it’s own URL and load time. The single page website design allows the user to save a lot of time by having quick access to the different sections.

Note: check out Web Design Ledger for some great Single Page Designs

How does Google see a Single Page Website?

Google has come out and said that if the structure of your website is correct and the content it contains is great you should rank as you would normally like any other website. Here is a video of Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam at Google on the subject:

So, according to Google, I should be fine? Wrong!

Google is saying that your website will be indexed the same as other websites, meaning it will look at the content and pick out the structure to show in search results. See, every page that gets created on a regular website is an opportunity for you to add meta data and structured content to rank for multiple topics. The use of a single page website does not, because only one page will be indexed.

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When should a Single Page Website be used?

While it may not be beneficial to use a single page website from an SEO perspective, a Single Page Website is great for single topic focused websites and PPC/Adwords Ad landing page.

That’s great and all but…

If you do have a Single Page website, don’t panic. There still is a way for you to rank on search engines however the approach is more based on linkbuilding than on-page optimization. Which means you will need more high quality referrers than your competitors.

Single Pages are cool, but they are not as effective

To sum it up, Single Page Websites are harder to optimize for search engine rankings and targeting multiple keywords which is something many businesses, small or big depend on, as an initial and sometimes, only source of traffic.

What are you thoughts on Single Page Design?

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  • http://thinkersplayground.com/ Gavin Morrice

    What we did at KatanaCode.com was create a hybrid option.

    The homepage is long and scrolls just like a SPW normally would. Each section though, also has it’s own page – which is accessible from the nav links in the footer.

    I think this tackles both the design and SEO issues pretty well and we’re on the front page of Google for a lot of our relative search terms, so I guess it’s working.

    • http://www.alcantaramedia.com/ Michael I. Alcantara

      Hey Gavin, thanks for the response. I took a look at KatanaCode.com and it’s a very nice looking website, I noticed you are using the #tag to navigate to page sections which google and then you have other pages that are not in the single page design. If you do a google search for all your indexed pages you will see that your main page, and their menu pages are not being indexed individually. Google search site:katanacode.com. Because you do have other pages it’s probably not hurting you as much. This post is more tailored to websites that are completely single page. Particularly because each individual “page” is not being indexed.

      • http://www.alcantaramedia.com/ Michael I. Alcantara

        Also, very nice Hybrid, I haven’t see that before.

        • http://thinkersplayground.com/ Gavin Morrice

          Thanks Michael. That was our intention – trying to offer the easy navigation of a flat structure, whilst giving google a branched structure to work with.

          I’m still tweaking the formula but it’s working well for us ’til now.

          :)

  • Justin Holland

    So, I’m curious then about the “linkbuilding” technique you mention if you really are just using a single web page? Say you’re hosting a website for a company so small, it only needs/wants a single web page to have its company info and contact info on it. Would you just optimize all of the components to reflect the company name/services provided/location, or are there any other ways to increase results?

    • http://www.alcantaramedia.com/ Michael I. Alcantara

      Hey Justin, that’s the thing with Single Web Pages, from an optimization perspective, there is not much to Optimize. I mean you can use rich snippet data, to make the result stand out, but ultimately you are stuck with one set of Meta-Data, which is what Google uses in the results. Multiple pages allows us to create multiple meta titles, descriptions and use different combinations of related keywords.

  • http://www.paginasweb.pe Diseño Paginas Web

    interesting discussion, we work at a design company and after arguing, we plan to move paginasweb.pe to a one page design, however, we think in keeping all old URL, i think google will treat our main page as single page, so we dont want to risk anything

    • http://www.alcantaramedia.com/ Michael I. Alcantara

      Glad you liked the post! I think that is a good idea to keep your old pages, you don’t want to lose the index value they have by completing deleting them.