The word “Parallax” might sound like next year’s summer sci-fi blockbuster (move over, Interstellar), but really it’s a website design feature that’s been getting very popular over the last year or so. It’s also pretty controversial in the world of search engine optimization, because although websites with parallax scrolling often look cool, they aren’t the best for SEO.
Starting out with the basics, parallax scrolling was originally developed by Walt Disney to give the cartoon drawings a feeling of depth. One of the best examples of this was during the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie where the evil queen drinks a potion, and the world appears to spin around her. While the process was officially created for use with a “multi-plane camera”, in which three different drawings moved and three different speeds, this was the grandfather for Parallax Design.
It was later used in the video game industry to give 2D games an illusion of depth. Anyone who’s played Super Mario Brothers and noticed that mountains in the background move by more slowly than the ground Mario runs on has experienced parallax scrolling. But how does this relate to web design, and why is parallax bad for SEO? Don’t worry, our local web designers at Big Red SEO are here to explain!
What Parallax Scrolling Does for Web Design
There are many things that make parallax scrolling tempting to incorporate into your web design. First, it looks great when done correctly. Second, it’s a trending web design feature in 2014, which means that more and more people are using it and figuring out new ways to make parallax work for their businesses. Lastly, its 3D effect can provide users a new and novel way of interacting with your brand online, which makes it more likely that they’ll remember you over your competition.
So why aren’t our local web designers jumping on the parallax bandwagon? As new and exciting and full of promise as this web design feature is, it exhibits real problems that make it hard for your parallax website to show up in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The SEO Perils of Parallax Scrolling
The entire idea behind using parallax scrolling is that the web page it’s implemented on has to scroll. This may seem like a “no duh” statement, but it raises an important point. In order for a parallax scrolling website design to be most effective, it has to scroll, and scroll a lot, for a proper 3D effect to be achieved.
Because of this, many of the websites you see that make use of parallax scrolling have all their content on 1 page. This is a big no-no for SEO. In fact, search engine optimization works best when your website has the greatest number of pages that it needs to be a useful resource for your potential customers. Our local web designers break it down for clients this way: if you have a traditional website that has 100 pages, you have 100 different chances for your content to show up in search results for Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. That means 100 chances to optimize your pages for SEO with unique titles, meta descriptions, and content. If you have a 1-page parallax scrolling website, you have 1 title, 1 meta description, and 1 chance. Which odds do you like better?
Do Parallax Websites Have to Have Only 1 Page?
While most parallax websites are designed to have only 1 page, that doesn’t mean that they have to be. There are a number of ways that you can incorporate parallax scrolling in your website while still maintaining a traditional multi-page web design that’s SEO friendly.
For instance, our local web designers recommend using parallax scrolling only on your home page, leaving the rest of your website’s search engine-optimized structure in place. This solution gives your website the best of both worlds–increased engagement and interactivity that parallax scrolling provides, all the while keeping the biggest number of indexable pages intact.
If you really want the 3D storytelling effect that a 1-page website provides, another option our local web designers advise is to cut up an infinitely scrolling page into separate URLs using JQuery. This way each individual section of your 1-page website can be given its own unique title and meta description, which means that each section can be indexed by search engines separately.
Contact Big Red SEO Today at (402) 522-6468!
Parallax website design opens up new realms of creativity in telling your company’s story and does wonders for making your website more interactive and engaging for potential customers, but as with any relatively new web design trend, you need to use it carefully. Our local web designers at Big Red SEO have years of experience making trendy web design features SEO-friendly, so give us a call today at (402) 522-6468 or fill out our online contact form to get started incorporating parallax design into your business website!