If you haven’t noticed yet, single page websites are all the rave right now. Design-wise they are wonderful. But from a technical standpoint, it makes most SEOs cringe. Don’t roast your internet marketing agency just yet, because there are ways to optimize your one page website, including separating your content into sections wrapped into DIVs, ensuring anchor links are utilized correctly, and finding ways to keep your content relevant and fresh. However, the pagination architecture is still highly recommended and encouraged for most industries. Industry expectations and company needs/goals should be considered to determine whether or not a single page website is a good decision. If it’s decided that your company will be utilizing one page to garner an online presence, you’ll need to optimize it correctly to get the most out of it.
IF YOU HAVE THE OPTION, PAGINATE
Again, we suggest you paginate. And by this we mean you create a multi-paged website with lots of optimized content. Maintain a blog, too, that is consistently being updated. Reach out to industry partnerships beneficial for both parties. This is what we suggest.
A single page website doesn’t have the opportunity to be updated as often as a multi-paged website. And by update we don’t mean changed. We mean a multi-paged website tends to maintain a blog, and that blog is populated with relevant content on a regular basis. Also, as you update your service and staff pages, search engines notice. New content is a chance to be crawled by search engines.
A one page website can be optimized. That’s what this post is about. A one page website can be updated, but on a smaller scale. The relevance to users’ queries may be on point, which is great, but try and stretch your reach any further than that baseline and your one page becomes cumbersome and overwrought with information, suggesting in and of itself, that you need more pages.
One page websites aren’t bad. In the right industry, and with the correct target audience, the single page website is perfect. However, you need to make that conscious decision based on marketing needs and goals, not just because it looks cool.
That’s what we suggest, anyway.
NOW TO THE OPTIMIZATION PART
So you’ve decided to move forward with your one page website, or you already have one and you’re looking for optimization tips. Great! The general idea on a single page is to break up the content based on categories or topics, similar to how you would create a multi-paged website. If you have services, there needs to be clear visual separation as the user scrolls, so they don’t get confused as to why they were reading about one service and the text changed randomly into something else.
Oh, and then there’s the code part.
DIV FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
DIVs are going to help separate your content for your user and the search engines. It’s the suggested way by many, and it works quite well.
For example, your single page website sections may look like the following when viewing the code:
<div id=”home”>…section copy…</div>
<div id=”bios”>…bio stuff…</div>
<div id=”services>…your services…</div>
Notice that each section is attributed its own id. Take note CSS tends not to be SEO friendly, which means you’ll need to use a different strategy for search engines to understand what each section is actually about, even though they know the sections are separated by the DIVs.
This is what anchor links are for, and they are discussed in the next section.
ANCHOR LINK OPTIMIZATION
When your’e building internal link structure, you use anchor text that relates to the page it is linked to. This is similar on a single page website, but it’s used exclusively in the navigation. The menu items at the top of your page will be using the DIV id of each section. This is how search engines will discover what each section on your single page is about.
This is how:
section code: <div id=”dental-services”>…copy…</div>
navigation link: <a href=”#dental-services”>Dental+Services</a>
Once you have the section DIV ids created and the navigational links to go with them, your site is ready to move forward.
LINK BUILDING VS LINK EARNING
We take the time to discuss this process because it isn’t dead. It has simply evolved. The practice of gaining links is the same. You make connections online and people link to your site/pages. However, it’s now being deemed “link earning,” so that spam tactics aren’t taken to gain those links. It’s still effective in SEO. Backlinks are still an efficient way of gaining authority.
Now that you understand link earning is still alive, how do you go about practicing it if you have a single page website? The same way you would with a multi-page website. The only difference is this: the section link.
For example, if you guest post on another website’s blog, ensure the section of the site you would like to attribute that authority to is the section anchor link you created in your navigation from earlier.
Here’s an example:
multi-page website link: <a href=”http://yourwebsite.com/services”>Services</a>
single page website link: <a href=”#dental-services”>Dental Services</a>
You’re using the div id link to send whoever clicks on that link in the guest blog post to that particular section on your site. You are also directing authority to that section via this link structure.
Now onto heading tags!
TAG YOUR SECTION HEADINGS
As you move deeper into your one page site, it may dawn on you that it’s tough to get much deeper than surface level content, unless of course your site is about one service and the various stages of that service. This is why earlier we suggested to ensure your industry, target audience, marketing goals, and company needs are aligned before committing to the single page setup. If you can’t justify using a single page website, understand that it’s the best for you, your business, and your users.
Nonetheless, heading tags come up quite often on single page websites, because up until they became a trend you only used one H1 on each page. Now, you can use H1 tags equal to the amount of sections on one page. And here’s how:
You’ll need to add a single H1 tag per section. The crawlers will figure this out. And it’s the other way to define each section in addition to the div id navigation/anchor links at the top of the page in your header.
UNIQUE AND RELEVANT CONTENT
The Hummingbird algorithm ensures that exact match keyword queries aren’t the guaranteed front runner anymore when delivering content to user queries. What this means for single page websites is this: You can pack your content onto one page and still rank well in search results, specifically Google.
The major caveat to this: Your content must be unique and relevant.
HOW TO KEEP IT FRESH FOR SEARCH ENGINES
How do you keep your one page fresh and relevant?
You still have the option for a blog, which we highly recommend on any website that deals directly with clients or customers. You can create a subdomain for the blog, and then link across to the root domain, which is your single page using the div id links in your posts. Is this the optimal way to “link internally” on your website? Not so much. But it is an option to consider if you plan on maintaining a blog. You can also share links from your blog on your single page to feed your users over to the ongoing posts.
Also, take note that Google does not hesitate to penalize sites for not following the content quality guidelines. Don’t risk it. Follow the guidelines.
UPDATE PORTFOLIO AND REVIEW SECTIONS
Another option is to create a review/testimonial section on your site and update it regularly with new quotes and statements from clients. If you have a twitter account, a feed on your site can help, too. And if you maintain a portfolio, update that every so often, removing old projects and adding new ones.
DETERMINE YOUR FUNCTION, CHOOSE YOUR WEBSITE STRUCTURE, THEN DESIGN
As we wrap this up, remember to choose the site that best fits your needs. Too many times websites are created based on form first and function second, which can result in a disaster down the road. The function of your website needs to match your needs and goals first. After that, fit your form to the function. In this case, design your website based around what you plan on accomplishing with it. Your designer, builder, and users will thank you for it.