How Does Parallax Design Affect a Website’s SEO?

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Parallax website design represents the latest frontier of customer experience and user engagement. Originating from the gaming industry, “parallax” came from the visual effect of 2D side scrolling video games that gave the illusion of depth.

With parallax site design, the background of the website moves at a different speed than the rest of the page, providing endless applications for online storytelling through stunning visual effects.

But, there is a trade off because search engines need to make semantic sense of the page. With very little text on what is essentially a single web document, your SEO performance is going to take a hit.


  • One-page websites allow only one set of meta information, one effective H1 tag and one URL
  • A lot of images can slow load times, affecting search rankings
  • Inbound links can only link to your site’s single page and not to specific page content
  • Workarounds to direct users to a different web page is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines

If you’re convinced that parallax design will serve your visitors and brand well, you can take the combo approach. Create a parallax home page and accompanying sub-pages. Here’s what you can do:

  • Map out the parallax page and how the story will be segmented
  • Perform on-page optimization of the parallax page, e.g. unique page title, meta description, H1 tag and 200 words of on-page text
  • Plan out your site map to allow for keyword-focused supporting HTML pages
  • Create an .xml site map and submit to Google

Parallax design offers a real wow factor. In this age of integrated marketing, design aesthetics and captivating layouts may give you an edge, with high social engagement and links earned through tweets and other shares.


Honda CRV parallax design website


Wildlife parallax design website

What’s your opinion about parallax design? Do the user benefits outweigh the potential SEO downside?

Photo credit: Themify

  • Martin Oxby

    I think the issue at stake here is what the website is designed to achieve. If it’s a one-off project or campaign, then a one-pager with or without Parallax can be completely appropriate. Larger companies with greater reputation don’t necessarily need to rely on organic traffic because they are already known for what they do.

    If you *really* want to include Parallax, or any other ‘web 2.0’ effect – including AJAX loaded content there are ways to communicate ‘fragments’ to Google to help with rankings, but the issue of links and on-page optimisation still applies.

    It’s about considering the projects long-term goals and finding the right tools for the job. Which might be a boring, fixed-width, standard website. Or a responsive, AJAX dynamic one-pager. Just don’t do something because it’s cutting edge, unless that’s what your target market is demanding.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Nicolette Beard


      I’d say that was a least a nickel’s worth! Great insight which applies to all online marketing…what is your intended goal and who is your audience? Same old saw isn’t too exciting but if marketers would just keep these two things in mind, they’d realize a steady increase in ROI.

      Thanks for stopping by!