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Is a Long-Scrolling Home Page a Good Idea?

mouse with scroll wheel

We've talked with many clients over the years (hundreds) as we've been doing website design since 2001. Over the years, we've seen a lot of them wanting a simple home page where you don't even have to scroll (no scroll). To them, that kind of home page seems clean and simple - we get that. It's kind of like a table of contents to a book.

Today, is that kind of design still a good idea?

A Case for Long-Scrolling Pages

Not every website should have long-scrolling pages, so this argument I'm about to embark on isn't true for every type of website, so let's keep that in mind.

A lot has changed since 2001 when Webstix first started. Screen sizes we smaller. The standard resolution then was 800 x 600. Today, it's 1024 x 768 or higher. We also now have smart phones, which sparked a revolution in the website design industry (responsive design, etc.).

The User Experience

With smart phones, it's a lot easier to swipe a finger up and down and scroll through a page - versus click, wait, click, wait, etc. This is one case for long-scroll... a better/easier user experience.

Since most traffic on most websites is mobile traffic, thinking about the mobile website visitor is key.

Google Likes Content (SEO)

Google "G" logoThe more good content a page has, the more authority it has. This is because Google and other search engines can reference a single page that contains a lot of content because they want to give the best result possible. It is better to have one page with lots of great content about one, general topic rather than split it into several pages - so this applies to the home page as well.

Your home page needs 1200 words on text on it if you want it to rank. Without that, it's going to be much harder to rank. Inside pages need at least 800 words. Of course, it has to be great content - not fluff. It needs to be original (not posted anywhere else online) and be bookmark/share worthy - so good that people will want to bookmark or share it.

Why write that much content? Well, write it once and it keeps working for you into the future. What else does that? The sooner you understand how important content is, the sooner you can start beating your competition.

We can set up your page in such a way where not all that content is showing right away but people can click to read more, so don't worry about your home page looking too wordy.

In general, with more content, Google knows how to rank it (how to categorize/index it) and will gladly use it as a result. To do that, you'll need to increase scrolling.

If your home page has a lot of good content about what you do, then it'll rank higher. This works in favor of having a home page with more scrolling.

Dwell Time (SEO)

Google measures how long people stay on a page. If people go there and leave right away, that increases your bounce stats. If they linger, that's good. That means they found something they like. You can increase the dwell time with more content - like text or even videos people watch.

A no-scroll page brings your dwell time down too low. This is not good for SEO. A home page that people spend more time on helps your website rank higher and is another point in favor of having a home page with more scrolling/swiping.

What About Those One-Page Websites?

thumbs downUh, Parallax... don't get me started!

Parallax is a trend. It can be used well but most websites aren't using it right. It's also going to look old very soon and you'll want to do a redesign sooner than you thought. If you do use it, don't overuse it. It's basically just for the "cool factor" and that doesn't help you rank better. Instead, plan out a really good website that'll actually get you results and skip trying to be one of the "cool kids."

With one-page websites, they're really not a good idea. Sure, there's a lot of scroll but if you're Google, how do you categorize that one page? It's full of sections about different things.

If people are looking for a service that you talk about way down at the bottom of the page and you have a lot of good content there, Google can't link directly to it. They have to link to just that one page. People get there and maybe they don't scroll far enough to see that great content and they leave. If that content was on its own page, it would be much easier to link to.

See? That's why one-page websites really aren't that good. They won't rank. That one page might have lots of text but it covers too many topics - versus the same amount of text about a single topic... which works WAY better.

Conclusion

If you want your website to rank higher on Google, give Google what Google wants - more, great content. That's always good for SEO.

Most of our clients want their home page to rank high (although, in most cases, you can take a half a dozen inside pages and they'll combined get lots more traffic than the home page) so the home page then needs more content. That'll require more scroll - to keep more people dwelling on the home page. It all works together.

If your home page isn't constructed right, don't expect it to rank. We're talking about on-site SEO here and that is something you have complete control over. In other words, you have a lot of control over how your website ranks - why not talk to Webstix today? We can work together to get you a home page and website that ranks well - bringing in more traffic, leads and revenue.

-Tony

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