Single-page websites have grown in popularity in recent years, especially among businesses promoting a single product and those targeting a specific niche.
The question is whether single page websites are good or bad for SEO. Could a one-page site hurt your chances of ranking on Google?
Let’s take a look at some single page website examples and discuss the pros and cons to see if we can find an answer.
What is a Single Page Website?
If a website has all the content on a single page and there are navigation links that take you down the page to see more, it’s called a Single Page Website (SPA).
Users click navigation links to jump (or scroll) to destinations further down the page. This interaction makes the page appear to change; however, there is no page refresh.
Below is an illustration to see the difference between how a traditional page interacts with the server and how a single page interacts with the server.
Note: A single-page website is slightly different from a single-page website. One-page websites are literally one-page; there are no navigation links to give you the illusion that the page is changing.
Example of single-page and single-page websites
You don’t know what I’m talking about? Let’s look at some examples of using this style of web design.
One page website for an app
Momentum is an example of a one-page website for an app. The seamless user experience keeps users focused on the one goal: downloading the app.
One page website for e-commerce
The Kukla Kit is a great example of how e-commerce sites can use a one-page site design.
Online stores can include a ton of product information using the landing page to sell the collection while keeping attention on a singular call to action: buy (download) now.
Single page website for an event
You Gotta Love Frontend is a nonprofit event for developers.
What I like the most about this example is that the main details (about, times, contact) are all on one page, while information about past events is available on sub-areas.
Single page website for a niche
The Figma startup has a service targeting a niche audience, users looking to convert their Figma design to WordPress.
The sleek site uses primary navigation to scroll users to the section of a single page that interests them most while controlling the user’s journey to conversion: request a quote.
Advantages and disadvantages of SEO
As you can see, single page websites look great and are fun to build, but are they good for SEO?
There seem to be two schools of thought on this subject. So I will tell you the pros and cons of having a single page website.
First, let’s look at some of the advantages, or advantages, of using single page web design.
Better mobile experience
In 2019, Google announced that it was working to move to mobile-first indexing. So having a website that works well on mobile is a must.
One of the main benefits of single-page design is that sites generally convert much more easily to mobile and users find them simple to navigate.
They also load much faster than multi-page sites, which is a huge bonus for most users who don’t have the patience to wait more than a few seconds for a site to load.
Also, some people find it difficult to click on additional pages or tabs on a small device, like a smartphone, so having a single-page site is a blessing for those who don’t have such slender fingers.
Target a specific audience
Single-page websites are great for targeting a specific audience and giving them a certain type of user experience.
It’s easy to control their behavior on your site and steer them in a particular direction so you don’t have to worry about them clicking on different pages, possibly in the wrong order.
With a single-page site, all the information you want users to access can be presented to them on a single page, in any order you choose to meet your business needs.
In SEO terms, this can be important if there is only one keyword or set of keywords that you are concerned about targeting.
Links are one of the most important factors that determine a website’s ranking and the advantage of a single page website is that every link acquired will point to the main URL, so there will be always a 1:1 ratio of links to pages.
Since all of your information is on one page, there are bound to be downsides.
Here are a few ways having a one-page website can be bad for SEO.
Limited keyword targeting
Unfortunately, single-page sites have some SEO drawbacks, keyword ranking being one of them.
Single-page sites are usually meant to be designed around one main concept, which limits your ability to rank for a wide variety of keywords.
If you rely heavily on Google to find new customers, you might be better off creating a multi-page site that incorporates different keywords into each page to attract a larger audience.
But, if Google search isn’t your business’ top priority, the lack of keyword rankings shouldn’t be a problem.
Content lacks detail
Another disadvantage of single-page sites is that their content is usually not as specific as what is posted on multi-page sites.
You don’t have the luxury of devoting a separate page to each topic you want to cover; instead, all of your information should be on one page.
It is impossible to cover the same amount of information on one page as on multiple pages.
Visitors looking for detailed and relevant content on specific topics might be disappointed by the lack of relevant content.
Minimal Advanced SEO Strategies
Advanced SEO strategies and best practices are not available when working with a single page site.
Take, for example, partitioning.
Content partitioning is the process of structuring your website into main areas of interest to demonstrate its authority in those areas.
Simply put, siloing is a way to organize your website into categories and subcategories to best display your content.
Trying to cram a ton of specific topics onto one page will result in a disorganized mess.
The traditional design of multi-page sites is well suited to compartmentalising content.
Single Page Website Key Points
So, are single page websites good or bad for SEO?
In my opinion, single page websites are not as good for SEO as traditional multi-page websites. But that doesn’t mean there’s no time and place to use a one-page design.
When determining whether your site should be one-page or multi-page, you need to consider your business goals and what you are trying to accomplish with your website.
Things to consider:
- Do I have one target audience or several?
- Should I rank organically for multiple keyword topics or should I target one primary search intent?
- What site design will give my users the best possible web experience?
Featured Image: KatePilko/Shutterstock