SEO for Parallax Design

Is an alluring website design enough to source you high conversions, even if it hurts your SEO?
Those who disagree are correct. A website's design may help you increase your site's conversion potential. However, it would only help if you have SEO to earn good rankings and significant traffic to your site.
Yes, I hint at parallax design.
The parallax design trend came as a frontier for modern web design. It enabled designers to explore their creativity and produce interactive experiences. Moreover, brands could increase the conversion potential with unique parallax designs. It helped them bring their whole storytelling approach to engaging single-page sites.
Today, millions of sites use parallax design. However, there are some limitations to using it. One of the most critical limitations of parallax design is that it hinders your site SEO.
However, there are ways to circumnavigate the limitations of parallax design.
So, here we will understand the pros & cons of parallax design. And we will take a look at how we can optimize a parallax website for SEO.
So, let's go step-by-step:

  • What is Parallax Web Design?
  • List of Disadvantages of Doing SEO for Parallax Design Websites
  • How to Do SEO for Parallax Design Websites?
  • Parallax Web Design & SEO FAQs

What is Parallax Web Design?

Parallax web design is an interactive design technique that creates a faux 3D effect. It employs visual effects and 2D scrolling to construct an engaging illusion of distance and depth.
In parallax scrolling, the designers build separate background and foreground layers. And as a user scrolls, both foreground and background layers respond to scrolling at different speeds. This effect exudes a seamless visual experience for the users.
Businesses have been including several types of animations and effects for parallax scrolling. However, a common approach is to make the foreground layer respond to the actual scrolling speed while the background layer displays slower movement.
Many websites use parallax web design to redefine their brand's storytelling approach.
Here are some brand websites that are utilizing parallax design. Get a better understanding of parallax design by scrolling through these sites:

The reasons why the parallax web design trend gained popularity include:

  • It delivers a truly immersive user experience. Scrolling through a parallax site creates an interesting animation effect. And it is often appreciated by users.
  • The active scroll response of parallax websites boosts user engagement. They generally love to scroll down through the whole page attentively. You can use interactive CTAs to convert this user engagement into conversions.
  • Parallax scrolling helps brands escape from the traditional content representation approach. Instead, it allows users to unfold the content impressively with an active scroll and 3D effect.

List of Disadvantages of Doing SEO for Parallax Design Websites

1. Sites Can Take Forever to Load

Parallax websites have a heavier design, and they take a significantly longer time to load. Typically, an impressive parallax design experience can take up to 15-30 sec to load.
Search engines will consider such a long loading time as a poor user experience. And it will negatively affect your SEO as loading speed is a crucial ranking factor. It means you will have to settle for low rankings in the SERPs.
Moreover, a significant percentage of users are not willing to wait so long for a site to load. Therefore, you are likely to experience a high bounce rate. It will again hurt your site SEO.

2. Content-heavy Single Page Websites

Google usually prefers multi-page websites that have a proper internal linking structure. But, Parallax websites are generally limited to one or two pages, which can make them content-heavy.
Moreover, multiple pages would jam up on the same page. It would eliminate the use of different H1 tags for different pages. Instead, one page will include multiple H1 tags, which would deteriorate the site structure.
You cannot create individual meta titles and meta descriptions for the different web pages. And it will make it harder for your site to rank in the SERPs.
You would find it harder to define the focus keyword and long-tail keywords for your page. Moreover, you cannot manage the keyword density of your parallax webpage. And it means you are not able to follow some major on-page optimization practices.
Thus, a parallax site is not likely to rank higher in SERPs unless you make additional efforts.
*Note: We will discuss some tips to do SEO for parallax websites in the next section.

3. Parallax Websites Usually Lack Multiple Browser Compatibility

Depending upon the elements you use in your parallax site, it may lack multiple browser compatibility. As you integrate many interactive elements in one page, it might not render the same across all browsers. The issues are more evident with older browsers.
Your site may render properly in Google Chrome, but it might show delayed response in Safari. Or, the scroll may work properly in Firefox but might fade in Internet Explorer. Moreover, the website alignment might differ in different browsers.
It will not only degrade your site's user experience but its SEO as well. And to fix these issues, you would require an extensive amount of effort. It may include multiple testing phases and custom adjustments for different browsers.

4. Parallax Design Is Not Mobile-friendly

Today, mobile devices account for 54.18% of the global online traffic. So, an unresponsive site is most likely to lose up to 50% of its potential customers.
Meanwhile, you should consider the fact that parallax sites are usually not mobile responsive. And they do not render seamlessly on mobile devices. Therefore, a Parallax design website will offer a bland to poor user experience.
Moreover, Google considers mobile compatibility as an influential ranking factor in its algorithm. Therefore, if your site lacks mobile responsiveness, it is not likely to rank in the top search result pages.
You can make your parallax site mobile-friendly. However, it will require some additional work. It will also increase the development and testing time for different screen sizes.

5. Site May Backfire as a Poor User-experience

Parallax websites are a shift from the traditional website structures and design. It utilized multiple interactive elements, multiple layers, and responsive scrolling. These parameters might put off the users who are not that tech-savvy. Moreover, it will affect users with motion sickness.
Some common user-experience issues with parallax design websites include:

  • The long scroll feature with content-heavy pages may irritate users. And they might choose to exit the page and settle down for a competitor's site. The increased exit rate and bounce rate are negative user metrics for SEO.

Related : Important eCommerce Metrics You Should Track to Ensure Success.

  • The consistent use of images would not give users enough space to breathe through the content. It again counts as a poor user experience. However, you can take care of it in the design..
  • Most users are used to multiple-page websites, where they can find information quickly. Meanwhile, parallax sites would make it hard for them to find the specific data they need. It would violate the ideal goal of helping a user resolve his query with minimum effort. .

These negative user experiences will reflect as negative user metrics in your Analytics. And it will affect your search rankings and visibility.
However, below are some optimization tips that you can follow to resolve these issues.

How to Do SEO for Parallax Design Websites?

1. Define Separate Pages through Internal Linking

A method is to define internal links for each section of the single-page parallax site. These internal links will helps bots navigate through the page. And they will index each of these sections as separate pages.
You can connect these internal links to navigation elements in the header of the page. In this way, the users can also jump to the section they want to visit using the navigation.
Google helps us understand how we can do it here. A helpful diagram from this blog post:
Google also advises using full-length component URLs so to avoid any errors.
However, the above method from Google has a limitation. These sections are crawlable, but the bots do not index them as separate pages. Therefore, you cannot optimize these sections for on-page SEO.
No worries! Here is a post that helps you learn how to index each section as a separate page.
The way to implement this method with ease is by using jQuery's 'pushState's' functionality. It helps you break the single-page parallax website into various sections.
When Google indexes the sections as separate pages, they can have individual header and meta tags. This practice will help you properly implement on-page SEO. It will also allow users to navigate through the parallax site easily. Thus, improving the user experience for your parallax site.
This optimization method works best for already developed single-page parallax sites. However, it may show negative metrics in Google Analytics. As a user scrolls past one section to another, Analytics track it as a high bounce or exit rate from one page to another.

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2. Establish a Blog for Your Parallax Website

On-page optimization may not work impressively for your parallax design website. But there is a way to get the right organic reach for your website. The first step is to make all the possible on-page optimization efforts on your website. And then, you can establish a blog for your Parallax site.
Establishing a blog will help you rank in the SERPs through your blog pages.
A blog enables you to update your content regularly and produce more content pages. Moreover, you can optimize your blog pages for SEO.
This practice will draw traffic to your site through search engines. And you can transfer traffic to your parallax page through internal linking.
Moreover, you can produce cornerstone content to gain quality backlinks. You must grow your other off-page efforts and can pass the link juice to the parallax page. Two-way internal linking works the best in this case. As the domain authority grows, your Parallax site may also start ranking in SERPs.

3. Develop SEO Architecture and Place Multipage Parallax Scrolling

Another technique is to first establishing the SEO web architecture and then the parallax. You can follow the multi-page SEO structure and then add parallax scrolling to each URL.
You can check the tutorial about this technique here.
A benefit of this technique is that you will have better on-page SEO with multiple pages. Moreover, you would have pertinent analytics data, with each page having individual content.
However, as you implement parallax for all individual pages, the website will become design-heavy. And it will take a significantly longer load time than usual. Moreover, the designer will place the parallax for each page, and it will cost you more.
Therefore, a better practice is to place parallax only on essential pages. It will reduce the overall site loading time, which is beneficial for SEO. Moreover, you would have lower website design expenses.
You can also restrict the parallax just to your homepage. It will keep your website light, and it will load faster. Moreover, you can add all the on-page optimization factors to other SEO-friendly URLs. It will have a significant reduction in the design expense. However, it might limit your storytelling and creativity approach.

4. Create Two Versions of Your Parallax Website

A majority of times, search engines have issues with processing JavaScript used for parallax.
However, you can eliminate this issue by creating two versions of the site. So, you will have a single-page parallax site and an HTML page. This HTML page then adds content to the div containers of the Parallax site.
You would need to combine this method with the first method of creating links for each section.

Related : Legit Ways to Earn Backlinks to Your Site

5. Develop Mobile-first Website

A common piece of advice is to remove the parallax design altogether in the mobile version. The efforts to make the parallax site work in mobile devices add to extra expenses.
In most cases, a parallax site crashes when we design for web-first. However, a way to make the parallax site work on mobile is by creating a mobile-first site. You would need to reduce some interactive animations, but it can work properly on mobile.
Moreover, mobile is a scroll-friendly device, and it handles long-scroll sites with ease. The visitors can enjoy a consistent experience on both web and mobile versions. Thus, improving user experience and eliminating confusion.

Parallax Web Design & SEO FAQs

Q1. Is It Essential to Create a Sitemap for a Single-page Parallax Website?

Ans. We use a sitemap to help bots understand our site structure. So they can crawl and index each of our website pages. However, still crawling may depend upon your site's crawl balance and internal linking.
Now, a single-page parallax website does not require a sitemap. Instead, you can add a navigation panel to the parallax page header. And link all the various sections of the page to this navigation. It will help users navigate through your site easily.
A way to optimize the SEO of your site is to create a multi-page site where only the home page is parallax. And you can link all the other pages to the home page.

Q2. Why Parallax Design Became a Web Design Trend?

Ans. Parallax design sites were able to introduce a shift away from the traditional web design.
Parallax sites utilize 2D scrolling and visual effects to display a 3D faux-type design. It allowed brands to deliver an exceptional experience to their site visitors. And this made the trend popular among many creative brands.
Some perks of parallax design sites that brands appreciate:

  • It helps the brand deliver an alluring user experience with flowing animation effects
  • Users appreciate the active scroll feature and find it engaging in unfolding the content throughout the page.
  • Brands can explore their creativity to present their brand story and offerings.
  • The use of engaging CTAs along the page helped in growing conversions for the brands.

Q3. What are the SEO-specific Limitations of Parallax Design?

Ans. At some point, the cons of parallax web design can overshadow its perks. Some of the main SEO-specific limitations of parallax design websites include:

  • Parallax websites have a significantly high loading time. It can take between 15-30 seconds for a parallax site to load. Search engine algorithms consider high loading time as a negative SEO factor.
  • Parallax design sites are usually single-page sites. Therefore the whole site has a single meta tag and H1 tag for all pages. Many on-page optimization opportunities are lost.
  • Parallax sites may fail to process properly on mobile screens. It would cause a significant loss in potential customers. Moreover, the Google algorithm considers mobile-friendliness crucial for ranking.
  • Parallax sites also do not render seamlessly on several browsers and may require custom adjustments.
  • Slow loading sites can further increase bounce rates and exit rates. These user metrics further affect the ranking potential of the site.

Q4. Can I Make a Parallax Website SEO-friendly?

Ans. Usually, a drawback with parallax design sites is that they do not perform the best in SERPs. However, here are some tips to optimize these websites for search engines:

  • Break single-page parallax websites into multiple sections with individual URLs for each section. And represent each section such that Google indexes every section as a separate page. To do it, you will need to use jQuery. Here is the tutorial. It will help you define meta tags and H1 tags for each section as a separate page.
  • You can create a blog for your parallax design website. Blogs help you regularly create new content for your site. Moreover, you can use your important keywords and rank in SERPs. You can send the traffic on your blog to your site through internal linking. Blogs will also help you do off-page SEO and gain backlinks for your site.
  • Create a multi-page site with a parallax home page. You can add navigation to different non-parallax pages through your home page. It will allow you to do the right SEO for your different pages.
  • You can first develop the right SEO architecture for your site and then add a parallax design. Try adding parallax only to the important pages so to reduce the site's loading time.

Into the Conclusion

Parallax design can give your site a redefined look and help you create a unique brand identity. Moreover, using the right set of interactions for your site will help grow conversions.
However, there are some evident limitations of parallax design in terms of SEO. And if you wish to draw organic traffic from SERPs, you cannot afford to hurt your SEO. So, the methods discussed above can help you with the SEO for your parallax site.
Further, if you wish to consult about a winning SEO strategy or outsource your SEO for evident revenue growth, please feel free to get in touch today.

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