This week’s Ask an SEO question comes from Hrvoje in Osijek, Croatia, who asks:
“Hello, we want to add a couple of sliders in our site’s main page for daily news and update the sliders every day.
Is this bad for our website’s SEO?
Is there anything we need to know or do for SEO? Thanks for your help.”
Oh, homepage sliders.
At some point in their career, every SEO expert learns to lament these – usually always for different reasons.
Let’s start out with the literal answer to the question before we dive in deeper about sliders.
There’s nothing inherently harmful to SEO about using a news slider on the homepage.
If done right, they can help your SEO.
If done wrong, however, they can be a huge headache.
Let’s dive in.
News Slider Considerations for SEO
Whether or not a slider will help or hurt your SEO depends on how it’s coded.
Coding Tips For Sliders
If you’re using a dynamic ajax type widget to load the header content on a click or some sort of delay, scroll, or another user action, it might not be visible to a search engine.
Search engines don’t take “actions” like clicking or scrolling, so they won’t see any content dependent upon them.
If your developer has coded all the content of the header into the document object model (DOM), then it won’t be a problem for search engines.
They’ll see all the content of each slide at once and index it however they see fit.
There are many ways to code it like this and many plugins that do it automatically.
There are a few other things to keep in mind when it comes to sliders.
Using Headings In Sliders
One of my pet peeves is the use of headings in them.
Too often, slider plugins or developers will code them so that they break the heading structure of the rest of the page, which sometimes causes issues with your accessibility audits.
As a matter of fact, there are many accessibility issues with the headers that you’ll need to take into account outside the scope of this post.
My biggest issue with sliders is that most people don’t use them.
We’ve done countless heatmap studies and click studies on client websites throughout my career.
One insight always surfaces: People are engaging very highly with whatever the default slide in the slider is, but almost nobody clicks to advance the slides or interacts with the content beyond the first slide.
Sliders are a great political compromise – allowing everybody to get their important information into the same spot – but in reality, most users just don’t engage with them.
Now, I’ve never done this study for a news site, only branded ones. So please do your own study.
I imagine a news site will get different results.
As to whether you should worry about it for SEO, my best advice is just to insert a requirement that all the slider content must be loaded into the DOM with the page, not dynamically loaded based on a user action – and you’ll be good to go!
Featured Image: VectorMine/Shutterstock