Popular Design On Way Out
Using a home page slider was all the design rage. Theoretically sliders allowed a website to showcase multiple products, offers or services. Yet it turned out to be bad for usability and SEO. In this post we’ll explain why this web design trend is definitely on the way out.
A home page slider (also called a carousel) is typically used to “set the stage” of a website. Many sliders automatically rotate; you can adjust the speed of the rotation. However, rotating images (even with content) has an unintended side-effect. It distracts your audience.
Home page sliders triggers the amygdala — a very old part of our brain — that controls our fight or flight response. Movement catches our eye. Even if we dismiss the moving element and resume reading elsewhere on the page, the rotation continues to distract us; it can take longer to assimilate other messages. At a subliminal level, it can cause irritation. Certainly not an emotion you want to evoke when trying to convince a visitor to become a prospect!
Search Engine Land reported on home page sliders in June 2013. They did a study of 30 different B2B websites. The research result: no one clicked on the carousels.
We did our own usability study on several client websites. Using software called ClickTale, we monitored how these websites were performing and reviewed actual visitor sessions. Don’t worry, the software doesn’t record personalized data (like name or email info). By looking at the heatmaps (areas of the website where there’s the most interest/interaction), we also determined that home page sliders were a bust. We looked at Analytics information to confirm the impact to overall performance. In all cases, carousels weren’t helping engagement and conversions.
According to the same Search Engine Land article, home page sliders tended to have SEO problems. Specifically it caused issues with:
- multiple H1 headings (causing keyword relevance implications)
- use of Flash (where content is invisible to search engine crawlers)
- sluggish page load speed (annoying to visitors & an easily fixable SEO signal)
- thin content (don’t answer questions to human searchers and is a red flag to search engines)
Reasons 1 and 2 are technical SEO considerations while 3 and 4 are important to humans. Users expect fast loading websites with quality content. Google indexes (and shows) sites their bots can process. Enough said. We don’t need to belabor why home page sliders don’t put your best SEO foot forward.
Moving Past Home Page Sliders
As mentioned in a recent post about web design trends, we recommend solid and simple navigation. Make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for. Use compelling images to draw your audience in. Then reward them with stories and relevant content that answers their questions.
What do you think of home page sliders? A sad goodbye or good riddance?
How can we help?
Eliminating your home page slider? Want to integrate White Hat SEO with a stellar content marketing strategy?
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