What does Google think of single-page websites?
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What does Google think of single-page websites?


We got a question from Frederik
in Munich, Germany. Frederik wants to know, what
does Google think of single-page websites? They are becoming
more complex. And there are some great
websites using only a single page, plus lots of CSS and
JavaScript, bringing the same user experience as a regular
website with many subpages. That’s a really good question
because there is a trend. You’ll see the conference page,
or the hot start-up, where you just keep on
scrolling forever. And they have a whole lot of
content, and sometimes they do cool, dynamic stuff. So Google has gotten better
at JavaScript. And a lot of times, if you’re
doing some strange or unusual JavaScript interaction or
pinning some part of the page or something like that or having
things fold in or fold out, we’re pretty good at being
able to process that. In general, I would
run a test first. I wouldn’t bet your SEO legacy
on this one single page working well if the JavaScript
or the CSS is really obscure, or maybe you’ve forgotten
and blocked that out in robots.txt. But if you run the test and
you’re pretty happy with it, I don’t necessarily see
a problem with that. It’s a different convention. Sometimes it works. Maybe you get better
conversions. Maybe you don’t. It’s going to depend on what
your particular area is, what the topic is, and what kind of
layout you come out with. But if it works for you and for
users to have that all on one page, for the most
part, it should work for Google as well.

79 Comments

  • Shay Garini

    i saw many site like this but never on the top ranking of Google… as a cool thing its cool but for ranking high…this is another issue…

  • Scott True

    That's an interesting one. My first thought when I heard the question was: landing pages. But I don't think we're talking about that here. I don't like typical landing pages because it can be difficult for the user to put things into context. But as far as a whole user experience being on one page, it seems like the only issue I would be concerned with is the inability to be indexed on different URLs representing different sub-topics. Can users still search for specifics and land on that part?

  • Brandon Hann

    I can't imagine one long page loaded with content is much of a user experience! I always hate having to scroll down through some blogger's 3 years of archives that seem to be loaded up on one single page…I usually end up having to use CTRL+F just to get to where I want to be.

  • Thomas Rosenstand

    If you ever leave Google: Become a politician! You have the right qualifications in terms of answering questions 😉

  • Tin Le

    Maybe, Google is trying to find a best way to read single-page websites. But now, you should add more text and apply all SEO techniques like alt tags, head tags…to help Google to read your pages.

  • Daniel Dessinger

    What Matt doesn't address is the issue of search queries. One long page of content may rank well for a couple phrases, but you can't focus on 3, 5, 10, or 50 unique topics and expect to rank well in search for all of them. Google still looks for primary subject matter based on Title Tag and header tags, so you can't really overcome that obstacle if your one page covers a host of unique products or services or geographic areas.

  • Tim Hunter

    So in essence a one page website would be easier for you to find what you're looking for by using the Find function built into your browser. Since most multiple pages sites either neglect to add a site search or the site search they are using is completely useless. Of course that is what we have Google for too 🙂

  • Brandon Hann

    You got me there! But where it becomes a hassle is you start clicking into blog posts for example and then you click the back button, sometimes it starts you all the back at the top of the page. Fortunately I haven't seen too many sites without search options, but like you said, I generally find direct pages within a site through Google anyway, so I guess having a full menu, categories and a search bar isn't really necessary on a site where you came to see/read one thing.

  • MrTVTL905

    I love how everyone hates this answer. It's weak. Matt's a politician. What the hell is he supposed to say besides, "try it and see if it converts and go from there?" He said it shouldn't have any negative Google impact, so test it and see if it works.

    They don't hate the concept, and they don't like it. It depends on how it's implemented. I fail to see how that's a bad answer other than it falls under the "don't tell me what I don't want to hear" category.

  • Claudio Heilborn

    Do you guys seriously pretend someone like Cutts answering this question in any other way than this?
    "I wouldn´t bet your seo legacy on this" That’s a huge answer!
    Now, if your design works and converts better and its super creative + innovative maybe it’s better than a good “seo technique oriented” site: Cutts 100% & I do agree!! Both…seo + (creative+innovative and so on) would work much better and that´s what he doesn´t say. By the way, I don´t expect to see here nothing else than this.

  • Zack Williamson

    True answer that Matt didn't want to admit… yes it will hurt your rankings because even if you have nice interactive Java so it has the touch, feel and content of a multi-page site, Google is not up to par on reading and indexing Java accordingly. If I built two sites with equal content & attributes but one was on just 1 URL (with or without the Java) and the other was spread out on different URLs the later would rank higher for sure!

  • Elatum Media

    If your web application is designed in Java, that has some SEO implications for sure. Javascript, however, is a widely used convention and Google parses that content relatively well. Question isn't really about the method that puts the content on the page, but rather the amount of content on one page and how it does or does not get parsed (and in what order, etc). The same page assessment process would be utilized for any solely HTML-coded page.

  • Derek Ries

    JavaScript !== Java.

    And Google is perfectly capable of indexing a SPA (Single Page Application) if you do a little bit of configuration on your server, which basically amounts to serving the html from the server if the request has a certain parameter from the Googlebot. As opposed to just routing all of your traffic to the index file and letting the client handle routing for everyone of your endpoints.

  • Juanne Coetzee

    Agreed. How many keywords can you fit in a single page vs multiple pages is but one area Matt could've gone into at least.

  • Shteca

    Is it better to have text on a lead generation web page or use the same text as a blog posting and link back to the lead generation page. For the sake of user experience I would like to have as little text as possible on the lead generation page.

  • laikmiandu

    what about having different topics/keywords -> how does the one page rank compared to multiple pages each targeting only one topic/keyword?

  • m0r1arty

    I love watching Matt's videos and then reading all the snide SEO 'gurus' have a go at him for providing free information which they will try to peddle as 'secret' knowledge.

    Keep it up everyone, for fun than you might know!

  • Matt Glaman

    So, people get mad at Google because they do not publicly state how their proprietary algorithms rank websites in search.

  • TheCareerPlanner

    He basically said single page web sites will work with Google Bot, provided they are done correctly and are tested. But going that route seems risky to me. I have always found multiple pages of well focused content to work well. Also, perhaps other search engines won't be able to handle all that script. This response did not seem all that vague to me.

  • Rodrigo Silveira

    The answer is clear, you whiny babies: "If it works for you and your users, for the most part, it should work for Google as well."

    How hard is that to understand?! Basically he's saying that there's not a single yes or no for all such sites. Test it out and see how you convert based on what you come up with. All in all, single page sites are just fine.

  • Ved Tiwari

    Well Matt Cutts answer is quite clear that if you are providing the better user experience for users on a single page than Google is quite enough smart to understand your website structure using your java script codes as well… So it does not matter for Google to rank high quality content website, either its one page website or many sup pages website.

  • Вася

    I doubt google search engine will parse JavaScript and simulate human clicks just to get couple paragraphs of the text or no text at all. Bottom line, nothing beats old good HTML page with a text embedded into it. Google "w3 ht.tp 1.0"(without dot), first result is a w3[dot]org standard page, HTM L file what is ~140KB in size!

  • newygreek

    HAHAHA – Words were spokeb but didn't answer the question. If I just did what Matt did in my class, I would of walked out with an F!

  • JP van der Meer

    "If it works for you and the user, a single page, than for the most part for Google as well". Seems a very clear answer to me.

  • Andris Zarins

    It is always entertaining to see what dichotomous not answer you will get today. I do realize that to keep all the G's inner "magic" works "shush shush" you would have to be obscure and avoid direct yes or no but still.
    °
    This video boils down to – try out and see for yourself, maybe it will maybe it wont work. One sentence instead of minute and 32 seconds.

    Besides, Matt completely ignored "simple one page sites" without all the fancy java/css. Job not well done!

  • Ahmad Nassri

    wow, talk about completely dodging the question … granted the term "single page website" can mean a couple of things, but I think we all know what the question was for here … its dynamic javascript based sites …

  • Agenceweb WebStudioCréation Loire

    Yes we can think Google will love the page, but like he said it has to be tested… for example there will be 1 only title tag … in opposition to tens or more pages with a normal website.

  • magnoid

    There are so many variables involved in answering questions that *seem* simple on the surface, many times it's not possible to give direct answers

  • AcenZac

    It's one of the tools as part of Google's Webmaster Tools. Which they link at the end of every single video.
    google.com/webmasters/

  • Clint Dixon

    What Google thinks and what works are two different things. Remember neither Matt Cutts or Google owns the Internet.

  • Roy Ronalds

    I think that this could have been answered in two sentences: "View your site in a text-based browser, like lynx. If your content isn't reachable there, then that will impact user and search engines alike."

  • Roy Ronalds

    What test is this supposed to be? I can't think of a specific test that works for this scenario, and there's no clearly prominent section for any such test that I can find in webmaster tools.

  • Spook SEO

    Matt: "If you run a test and you're pretty happy with it, I don’t necessarily see a problem with that".

    I'd bet A LOT of people aren't happy with this answer. I wish Matt would expound his answers even more.

  • A.K.M.Ziaul Haque

    It is true that some web pages is containing only one page. A website should contain several pages and then it could be used easily.

  • Florisvaldo alves dos santos

    OS VIDEOS ESTA DE PARABENS NÂO SÃO LONGOS  OS VIDEOS LONGOS PODE SÉ TORNAR MUITO CANSATIVOS PARA OS OUVINTES QUE OUVEM 

  • Robert Thompson

    I just converted my website into a single page. I created meta tags for each page and one i had my single page site finished i inserted all the meta tags into the bottom of the page. I used a meta tag generator to create the same tags into code form and inserted it into the head of my website. I hope it works. 

  • Pankaj Kumar

    Hello Sir,
    Thankyou for this video,
    I have a question,

    1.what should i do for content managing and keywords for different services? when I have a single page website.
    2. which are those major points should remember when i m writing content for it, and researching keyword for different services and menus.
    3. How google get crawl a single web page , how google display the content of a single page/
    4. what is the keyword density should i follow for my meta-keyword tags for a single page website?

  • Macgyver

    Google may not have visibility to your site if it is very javascript heavy.

    Try this – Google the following and tell me how many pages are returned in the search results.
    site:www.madewithangular.com

    The answer is 1 page even though, there are upwards of 500+ pages. The reason being is that google does not run the javascript and index the various page states.

    You can use a pr-rendering proxy service to alleviate this issue and allow search engines to index all the "pages" in single page applications.

    Macgyver has such a utility.

    [macgyver | Page Render](https://askmacgyver.com/explore/program/fetch-rendered-page/10X2z6e5E)

    If you have any questions feel free to email me directly.
    [email protected]

    Now if you don't want to fully pre-render the page you could leverage the SEO crawler structured javascript data layer. The idea here is you take the page content and present it neatly as a javascript data layer object.

    This looks like the following –

    <script id="structured_data" type="application/ld+json">
    {
    "Page_Type": "",
    […]
    }
    </script>

    You can then verify your structured data is in place and working correctly. [This is an example](https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool?hl=es-AR#url=https%3A%2F%2Faskmacgyver.com%2Fblog%2Ftutorial%2Fhow-to-setup-a-fully-automated-gulp-build-workflow%3F_escaped_fragment_%3D) of a page we have which utilizes structured data layers.

  • Hassan Malik

    Google needs to be more specific with answers – and even better if they go a bit technical (infographically) to represent what's happening actually. This kind of political statement left the question unanswered altogether

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