Single-page website designs are becoming increasingly popular--as responsive website design become easier to implement (it's becoming a standard in Atlanta web-design circles). But, the question I continually hear (and not just about this topic) is: "Will Google penalize you for doing it?"
Yeah, you can watch the video, where Matt Cutts says: "If you run the test, and you're pretty happy with it, I don't necessarily see a problem with that."
How vague (and unhelpful) is that? With words like “necessarily,” we would have been better off if he hadn’t attempted to answer the question at all!
Of course, he elaborates further, by the old qualifier clause “It’s going to depend on…”
Yes, it will “depend on” many different things, and here are a few things that you’ll want to remember:
- If you really are after all the bells-and-whistles of a cool responsive design, make sure that you don’t make it spammish.
- Historically, a one-page design was often used as a gateway page or interstitial–often designed as one of many such pages, each targeting a particular keyword constituency.
- Please remember that just because Matt Cutts says “it should be fine” doesn’t mean that it actually is for your topic or situation.
- Also, remember (never forget), the algorithm will likely change tomorrow, or the next day. It will change, and there’s no guarantee that the one-page design that performed well under the current Google will continue to do so in the future.
So, I do agree with the part where he talks about doing what “works for you and for your users.”
Don’t worry so much about what Google thinks that you shy away from a design that will bring you fabulous results. And, if we read the trends in mobile marketing correctly, users are using mobile devices, which means that they’ll be clamouring toward the clean, fresh look-and-feel of responsive technology. If Google penalizes you for using a single page in your responsive design, take a look at the implications. If the penalty is enough, you might consider expanding the site a bit to see if it makes a difference.
But, you may also find that even if you’re penalized today for your one-page design, the demands of your audience will more than make up for any short-term Google inconvenience. It’s always good to know whether you are on the Google hit-list (for whatever reason), but then all we can do is work with it… to create the best user experience we can!