Infinite Scrolling Needn’t Crush Your Site's Performance or SEO

We share an approach to parallax design that will ensure better search results.

If you follow website design (really, even if you’re just online regularly), you know that infinite scrolling—based on parallax design—is the avocado toast of the development world today. But what is the implication for search engine optimization?

Typically, sites that support parallax scrolling use a single-page design. At first glance, that might sound innovative. While flashy, in reality, a single homepage can end up bloated with tons of text, images and video, resulting in a superheavy homepage. Google and other search engines do not favor huge pages because of their often slow load times.

Does that mean you have to forgo parallax design? Not really, but it does mean you have to follow some practices that will improve both load time and SEO.

The Conundrum of Parallax Design and SEO

Here are the five factors that can wreak havoc with your site’s SEO given a one-page design:

  • Heavy homepage: As mentioned, search engine algorithms tend to downgrade slow-loading pages.
  • Organic visibility limitations: Reduced keyword opportunities can lead to comparatively poor keyword rankings.
  • URL structure: The one-page structure also limits the ability to introduce keywords in URLs because there are few secondary URLs that tier off the domain.
  • Meta issues: The single-page approach additionally limits metadata to a single set.
  • Header hierarchy: With just a single page, there’s only one H1 opportunity for engines to crawl.

These issues are definitely problematic. But here’s the thing: Parallax scrolling is not causing these issues per se. The culprit, frankly, is the one-page design of many sites with parallax scrolling.

Making Parallax Design SEO-Friendly

The answer to solving the SEO hurdles common on many sites with parallax scrolling is to rethink that single page and separate the elements.

Here are three ways that can play out:

  • Divide up your homepage: Since all of the issues are caused by the one-page design, you can divide your homepage into multiple pages. (See the simple wireframe structure below.) Doing so allows the use of the parallax effect while also creating multiple pages that will load more quickly.
Parallax Example
  • Expand the number of searchable URLs: By creating those multiple pages, you can craft a more strategic approach to expanding pages and targeting your audience more specifically—without interfering with the design.
  • Introduce metadata throughout the site: With multiple URLs and the introduction of more headers, you have the potential to seed exponentially more keywords and more specific keywords throughout the site.

There you have it: You can have your parallax cake and eat it too, without the risk of a bloated and slow experience.

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