One page websites are becoming increasingly popular. Much like an app, a single page site is intended for a single function, or focused on an individual purpose, like an event or a product launch. It’s great to focus your consumer on something special, allowing for unique branding under the umbrella of your original identity. Designing to deliver on that purpose exclusively makes it easier to optimise accordingly.
This design trend has taken a lot of criticism for not being search engine friendly. The non-paginated structure is alien if you’re a conformist. With an abundance of content on one page, search engines struggle to index the site, and search spiders can find it difficult to find relevant content. If you combine this with the fact you have one page, and only have the ability to tag a single keyword phrase, you are limiting yourself. However, there are many well created one page sites out there that are incredibly effective.
So how do you make your one page site SEO friendly, to achieve maximum reach with your audience via the big search engines like Google?
Well with this article, ‘It Starts’ will help you with a few pretty sneaky tricks and methods that are key to achieving a great looking site that ticks all the search engines boxes. We’ve got some pretty mad skills in this department, so don’t move a muscle.
Paginate Your Page (say that after a pint or two)
An unpaginated structure is generally the main strike against a one-page site. It’s a structure we are unaccustomed to within normal website architecture, and in turn, search engines are not as accustomed to it. It helps give your domain authority, and spreads it out for a search engine spider to scan for pages that match a user’s keyword criteria.
Many other articles suggest that adding a blog, or just a few additional pages to your one-page site will achieve a better ranking by search engines. However this would make your single page website a multiple page website, and thus make the point, irrelevant. This is an important point to make as many sites suggest this idea, which is misleading.
So how do we create a paginated site without actually having pagination implemented within the architecture?
We do this by separating out the content on the page into an organised informing format. This creates a fake paginated format on only one page. If the page you are creating/designing is a page for your business, you can separate the content out into the industry standard way: home, about, contact, products, blog, and so on. If you’re setting up a landing page, you can separate the content by headings: features, headings, reviews, contact form, etc.
Simple defined sections of content that are easy to navigate will make your one-page site more SEO friendly, you can see how we have achieved this for ‘Lovecrossed’, here.
Don’t be Arachnophobic
Of course, whatever you want to partition off from users will have to be adjusted in the CSS, and that’s easily accomplished by placing each section of content within DIVs.
While this doesn’t have a direct effect on SEO, it does make your CSS easier to scan. You can also use CSS id names as anchor links, and these do directly affect your SEO. They serve as little keyword beacons of light, which search engines lock on to. Like moths to a flame. Flies around sh… anyway.
This is best accomplished with a navigation bar, either on the side or the top of your page. This, again, makes your one-page site more usable and easier to index. Each anchor link should have a targeted keyword, one that sounds natural and makes sense in the overall context of your site. If it doesn’t fit in with your content structure then it only serves to frustrate users and inflate your bounce rate.
To make an anchor link, begin by naming the DIV:
<div id=”hypothetical content section”>
Then add the link you want:
<a href=”#hypothetical content section”> Hypothetical + content + section</a>
Speaking of links, building outside links back to your site is another great way of increasing your rank. Which brings us to our next point.
What do we mean by seeking authority? Well we are talking about what we can add to the site to enhance our visibility via search engines. Building site links within the content of your page goes a long way and is a rule that search engines still look at, however it is rumoured to have a declining importance.
Spam links are a big no no, but if you incorporate clever links to social media posts or social sharing buttons, so they go to relevant content that matches the subject matter you are talking about, you will gain SEO brownie points. Together with this, you should seek authoritative links back through guest blogs, collaborative efforts with influential voices inside your industry, and positive reviews of your offering.
Multiple H1 Tags
On a normal site you would have one H1 tag per page, usually indicating the page title, and a search engine would rank you on this structure, which is why pagination is important. However on a single-page site we need to break the normalities of one H1 tag per a page, as you only have one page but perhaps multiple areas upon that page. Each one of these areas is a opportunity to mark it as H1 in the code. Multiple H1 tags can indicate a separation of content making the page more legible and giving the site a structure, much like pagination does. This gives you also the option to keyword optimise each H1 tag and better match a user’s search engine query.
Keep your reader happy
All web designers should know this, as it’s part of a user’s experience of a site. If a user cannot read the text on the site, how are they supposed to use it, let alone enjoy the experience. Never sacrifice flow or coherence for the sake of SEO.
The best way to ruin your search engine ranking is to have a site that no one can read. It’s best to conform with what search engines want and to score highly by delivering content of quality and relevance to your target user. Good, fresh, digestible material equals good organic traffic, which is what search engines want. Take this article for example, aren’t you impressed by the knowledge you are gaining from? No? Shame on you.
Mix it up
The final bit of advice we want to impart is to keep your content fresh. For giant search engines like Google to rank your site highly, you want them to keep seeing changes to your site. This doesn’t have to be a big design change, just more content changes. Freshening things up each time Google scans your site will mean the search engine giant wants potential users to see what new content you have for them, and as a result, will place you above other competitors in a similar keyword search.
On a single page site that has infinite scrolling enabled, this may be easier than a site that does not have infinity scroll. Either way we advise our readers to always keep their content fresh and current. Like us.
So, those are our tips on making your single-page site search engine friendly. If you have any questions, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.