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Parallax Design & SEO

Posted by ivy on March 26, 2013

Parallax web site design has become quite the trend lately to the delight of designers and the annoyance of SEOs.  Parallax design describes a technique in user interface design where multiple backgrounds seem to move at different speeds creating an interesting visual effect. Usually, the design feels like it's moving in chunks and the site usually loads on one single page with all the content sections anchoring down the page.

Recently, we've had a number of clients come to us requesting parallax design or asking us to do search engine optimization for an existing parallax design.  If search engine ranking is important to the client and they believe that SEO is a critical lead generation technique for their businesses, we are usually quick to talk them out of a parallax design.  

Here's why:

Site Size  - A parallax site appears to Google's search engine spiders as one page.  Now, that doesn't mean that you can't rank for that one page, but it's going to be difficult to target multiple keywords on just one page.  Plus, Google tends to favor sites with lots of pages and lots of content-- that's what makes you appear like a rich resource.  If you do try to rank for multiple keywords, you are going to suffer from key word dilution and end up ranking for nothing.

Site Performance - More and more, Google favors sites that load quickly.  Many parallax sites are image-heavy and take some time to load.  This can hurt the user experience, but also hurt your search engine rank because Google takes your site's performance into account when it ranks your page.

Site Structure - Google is smart.  Google spiders understand the structure of a page, so they can determine the importance of content by the position of content on the page-- important content at the top, less important content at the bottom.  With parallax sites, you are trying to fit all the content on to one page, so the concept of the "fold" goes away and important content is very likely to be positioned at the bottom of the page.

So, if you are considering a parallax site, you may want to consider other design techniques that will create visual interest but won't sacrifice good old fashioned SEO.

For more information on the Parallax argument, feel free to give us a call and talk to one of our Denver web designers.