SEO with making a complex site simple

So we currently have a large website with a large number of links to various pages on our site. It’s doing really well for our search terms, etc. What we would like to do is create more of a simplified website approach (like: The problem is that we’re worried about it’s ranking if we move to a simplified site.

The questions I have are:

  • How does having a 3 page site or a site using hash tags in the url to skip to various parts of the homepage (if we chose more of a vertical approach having a long list to scroll down) affect SEO?
  • Is it bad to go simplified in terms of SEO?
  • What other approaches can we take to work around this (assuming this is not a good idea)?

When you talk about using hash-tags, I’m not sure whether you mean internal links (ie, skip to a particular point on the page) or Ajax calls to load in additional content.

If you’re looking at Ajax (ie, the content is not all loaded in the HTML to start with) then this could be damaging to your SEO, because if you’re not really careful about how you set it up, Google might not read all of that additional content - see for more. (Of course, if Google can’t get to the content then your site is an accessibility failure too…).

If you have lots of content combined on a single page, this won’t necessarily be a good or bad thing for your rankings (or usability), it depends on the nature of the content. If a single page can cover quite disparate topics then Google might get confused what the page is actually about, and so not rate it as highly for some/all key queries – and it’s going to be less obvious for users landing on the page what it’s about and where to go. On the other hand, if the consolidated page is targeting pretty much the same key terms throughout then this might well work to your advantage, by reducing the spread of googlejuice and concentrating it all in one place.

But remember that more and more people are accessing the web on mobile devices, and small screens require a lot of scrolling, which can be a real pain.

Beyond that, I think Stevie D has covered all the bases. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the responses. So if we had a sitemap.xml file though to ensure all the links were found via Google (or whomever), then we’d be okay as far as ajax goes?

Do you have any examples of sites that rank well but are very simple (3 or less pages)?