Are Single Page Websites Bad for SEO?

Why It Might Be Time To Refresh Your One Page Website

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Somewhere around the mid to late 2010s, single-page websites started trending. The heralded pros for one page websites, as opposed to multi-page websites, are that their minimalistic design is quicker and cheaper to build, and more efficient for users. There is also an argument that single page websites tend to have higher conversion rates since there is less content, making it easier to hold your site visitor’s attention.

However, if your single page website is generating less traffic than you would like, none of these pros really matter. Your beautiful, minimalistic website that cost you less at the time can’t work for you well if you aren’t ranking

Is the single page design to blame? We’ll walk you through 6 major reasons why single page websites tend to be bad for SEO and why a multipage website will probably serve you better.

Looking for more ways to boost your SEO and online visibility? Check out our article Why Your Website Isn’t Ranking on Google: 10 Reasons Along With Easy Tips and Tools

When To Use a One Page Website

First things first, let’s never say never. We aren’t looking to completely demonize single page websites. There is absolutely a time and a place where they could be useful. For example, they can be a great way to showcase an upcoming one-time event, or even a super small local business such as a Mom and Pop cafe. Basically if you don’t care about ranking on Google, having visitors find your site, or have any plans of expanding your site or your business, you can probably get away with it.

A few other scenarios where a one page website could work well include:

  • Showcasing a simple portfolio
  • Promoting a campaign
  • Selling a single product

6 Reasons Why Single Page Websites Are Bad for SEO

For the rest of us, SEO is incredibly important to our long term digital marketing strategy. And while some best practices change, the basic principles of SEO stay the same: show Google that you are an important, informative, and reliable resource for your niche.

Let’s put aside trends and dig into what you wish you knew about sooner: why single-page websites can kill your SEO. From there, you can decide what is best for your own website. 

A computer that says SEO Search Engine Optimization surrounded by post it notes.

1) They can be confusing to navigate

When there is no navigation menu and no real way to get directly to specific categories, it’s easy to get lost. With a well-designed multi page website, users can quickly find pages they would expect to see (About, Services, Shop, Contact, etc) and seamlessly navigate to them. 

However, with a single-page website, users are left to scroll. And scroll. And sometimes scroll some more. It’s really difficult to cram all of the necessary content into one single page and keep it clear, concise, and user-friendly. Poor navigation directly affects the bounce rate which is a major strike against you for SEO ranking.

2) It’s much more difficult to link internally or externally

Backlinks are hyperlinks made from one website to another and they can majorly influence your ranking. This is because backlinks prove to Google that you are relevant and trustworthy. This is especially true if the backlinks are from another reputable source.

Reputable websites will generally only externally link to robust, quality, and very specific content. Oftentimes this means a blog article. Unless you are a leader in your industry or have a very specific niche business, it’s highly unlikely that lots of websites will have a reason to hyperlink to your one page website.  

Internal linking is another piece of SEO linking strategy that helps Google better understand what your website is all about. It also makes it easier for Google to find you. Internally linking within the same page can be done, but it doesn’t provide any SEO value because they aren’t valuable links according to Google. 

3) They tend to be slower

Because a single page website has all content crammed into … well … a single page, they just tend to be slower to load. Google does not like slow loading sites for good reason: people are likely to bounce. According to their own research, you only have a few seconds before 53% have already lost interest and moved on. Yikes. 

FYI, this is a must-have bookmark for anyone concerned about SEO: PageSpeed Insights. It’s a handy tool (created by none other than Google itself) that will give you a page speed score along with tips on how to increase your page speed.

4) They make it difficult to collect and analyze data

Collecting, analyzing, and using data is an amazing way to increase your conversion rate, but it’s also a great way to boost your SEO. Data can help guide your keyword research, site navigation, copywriting choices, and so much more.

But without extra tools such as heatmaps, it is truly difficult to collect any usable data that would be worth analyzing. There isn’t a great way to track user behavior when they are just scrolling down a single page.

5) You can only use one title tag, URL, and meta description

Gulp. Title tags, URLs, and meta descriptions are all excellent ways to boost your keywords. With a multi page website, you have many different opportunities to supply Google with keywords that support each other. 

With a one page website, you only have one chance. Meanwhile, your competitors may have 10 chances or 100 chances. 

6) There just isn’t enough content.

No matter what type of industry you are in, your website needs to provide users with basic content. Even at the bare minimum this can really add up. It’s incredibly difficult to cram a solid headline, “About Us” section, services, contact information, images, and more into a single page without sacrificing some readability and navigation quality.

Very often, in an attempt to minimize and streamline, single page websites will eliminate so much information that there simply isn’t enough content to rank. This leads to one of the biggest issues, even aside from SEO – there is no room to grow

Now what?

If you think it’s time for a website refresh, you’re not alone! Many business owners have found themselves wooed by the (perceived) lower cost and quicker turnaround time of a single page website only to find it didn’t serve their business. While a single page website might be trendy in some circles, it’s worth noting that even major SEO tools like Yoast advise against a one-page website

Try not to panic – Creatography is here to help! We like to think of ourselves as your friendly creative concierge for all things design and digital strategy. It is our goal to help you stimulate your full business potential.