Today’s professionally designed marketing websites can be fine works of art. These tools can be glossy, shiny, sexy pieces that can make even the most staunch critic salivate and unsuspecting prospect ogle longingly. A well thought-out website design is a crucial determining factor in how well your business markets and performs online.
One of the latest trends (or fads..depending on how you look at it) to come about within the past few years is the “single page” or “one page” website.
What is a Single Page Website?
A single page website is comprised of a single HTML or dynamically generated page with a horizontal navigation that leads you to different sections of the page instead of your traditional navigation buttons that when clicked would take you to a new page. The user just scrolls down the one page to that particular content’s section or clicks a link and “jumps” to the correct section. The effect is pretty cool, kind of like being on an elevator and whizzing past the other site sections to arrive at your destination.
Check out Smashing Magazine’s post for a good overview and great examples of single page websites.
Single site pages are great for mobile viewers as well. The experience is more intuitive for swiping and scrolling instead of clicking. If you create one of these sites just make sure that your web server only serves it up to people visiting from mobile devices. Make sure the search engines and everyone else get the full URL-based content site where there are lots of unique page URLs with widely varying optimized content on them.
Why Single Page Websites Can Hurt Your SEO
One of the best ways to optimize your site for the search engines is by publishing keyword-rich content to your website on a consistant basis in the form of blog posts, articles, new pages, etc. The content on these pages is known as “on-page” content. This content is extremely important and prime real estate for adding your most valuable keywords. Think of places like your page title, meta description, headings, and body/link content.
If you have a single page website, obviously you cannot stuff all of the valuable keywords and text into these places without sounding/looking ridiculous. If you were to do that, there wouldn’t be a clear focus on the page and therefore, the search engines wouldn’t be able to tell what the site is actually about. If the search engines don’t know what you’re about, they won’t return you high in the search engine results page (SERP).
Traditionally, a single page site would be appropriate as a landing page for a PPC / Adwords ad, as these landing pages need to have a single-topic focus and be optimized for just that one topic, the subject of your ad. Doing this betters your Quality Score and improves your ad ranking.
Nowadays SEO is a page-by-page competition for ranking. When developing your website framework (the structure of the directories and individual pages), it’s best practice to limit each page to a single topic, so that each page can be optimized for its unique subject matter.
How To Keep Your Single Page Website and Still Get SEO Results
BoostSuite will be launching our own single page website in the very near future, so obviously this was a concern of ours initially. We were put at ease after doing some research because we realized that we can have our beautiful homepage and still have an effective content marketing strategy!
What’s the secret? You guessed it, our blog!
Our new homepage will cover all of the marketing bases of our product and company along with calls-to-action and a sign up form. It is just as important however to keep our blog around and make sure to link to it from the homepage and social media so our visitors can access and share our valuable, optimized content (like this article!). We want that sort of engagement with our readers/users/customers. The blog also gives us the ability to continually add content to our website/domain so we can make it more robust and content-heavy. The search engines like to see websites with lots of clear-focus pages. It makes their job of indexing content that much easier and if you make their job easier, you’ll be rewarded in the way of better search result placement. So in the end, the way to get SEO results with a single page website is to not really have a single page website at all. But a single “marketing” page supported by a blog with lots of great keyword-rich articles.
It’s not that Google can’t understand all of the content on a single page site. It can. The issue comes down to the units of exposure in today’s organic search real estate game. The most efficient unit of placement is the unique page URL. When you reduce the number of unique URLs your site has, you reduce the efficiency of your organic search efforts.
The world of search has become so competitive that it’s a long tail game pure and through these days. The most competitive keywords are pretty much reserved for the biggest budgets (in paid and organic search). So small businesses are left to chase down long tail keywords… which is fine since there is a huge untapped opportunity here. But this just means you need to have LOTS of pages (single-topic advertisements) available for ranking.
For example, an online retailer like Zappos.com wouldn’t be able to full utilize a single page website to highlight all of the different brands, styles, and sizes of shoes they offer.
For example, an online retailer like Zappos.com wouldn’t be able to full utilize a single page website to highlight all of the different brands, styles, and sizes of shoes they offer. Therefore, they create individual pages for each and every different make, model, and size of shoe they offer. This way the searcher can use a long tail keyword like “men’s Nike tennis shoes air max size 13″ and get to the exact product they’re looking to purchase. The fewer steps in the process, the higher likelihood of a conversion from visitor to customer!
Does your company utilize the single page website? What has your experience been with it? Did it help or hurt your conversion rate? Do you have a blog that goes alongside of it? Do you have a mobile-friendly single page site? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks!
After wasting more hours than I care to admit trying to find the right help for my two businesses, I decided there had to be an easier way to get the support small business owners need. The advice was either WAY overpriced or of such low quality that it served no practical benefit so I decided to create my own website to provide information the way I would have wanted it. This is how BoostSuite came to be. I hope it helps you as much as it would have helped me.