Parallax design uses multiple backgrounds to create a feeling of depth as users scroll through a website. Instead of having to click on separate pages, you scroll up and down to go from page to page.
The SEO Challenges of Parallax Design
Parallax design is not recommended for websites that rely upon search traffic to garner leads. There are several challenges from a user and search perspective:
- Parallax websites do not display well on mobile devices (almost 25 percent of global website traffic now comes from mobile devices)
- Page load time can increase significantly on parallax-designed websites (since 2010, search engines have considered page load speed as a ranking factor — longer page load times means users may lose interest and bounce)
- Essentially having a single page of content (instead of multiple pages) makes it very difficult to optimize for a variety of search terms to cover the scope of the buying cycle
SEO Compromises Using Parallax Design
While parallax design is not optimal for SEO, there are a few structural options that may make a parallax website more search-engine friendly:
- A “combination approach” includes having a single, scrolling home page, but also includes several subpages on unique URLs which may be optimized for search traffic
- One could use Ajax and clearly-labeled navigation elements to dynamically change the URL. When a user clicks on a navigation element, the user “jumps” down the page to the desired content and a unique URL is displayed (example: http://flowerbeauty.com/ — this tactic runs the risk of creating duplicate content)
Parallax design should only be considered when the users’ experience on the desktop version of the website is far more important to the business than being found by search engines. While there are some structural elements which may be manipulated to be more “friendly” for search engines, the information architecture (IA) for any parallax-designed website must be carefully executed. To support SEO on a parallax site, consider other avenues for driving traffic, offline marketing efforts, as well as the creation of microsites and other non-traditional tactics.