For a long, long time, SEOs have been recommending webmasters structure their content by theme, by page and to create a logical URL structure. This make sense, and is still good advice today. In an ideal world, all clients would follow precisely our advice and allow their websites to be manipulated in any way it needs to be in, in order to achieve SEO best practice.
But unfortunately, you can’t always shape the site how you need it.
So what can you do if you have been asked to optimise single page, multi-theme content?
Often when working with clients, and especially large ones, your available wiggle room on design is minimal. A lot of companies will have strict brand guidelines, and will have design teams that will want things to look a certain way. This can leave you in a tricky position, with your hands somewhat tied. You don’t really want to go back and tell your client that their content will be very difficult to optimise, but you also want to have made it clear that this isn’t really an ideal scenario.
Some years ago came across something I hadn’t seen before, in a Reddit discussion. A user had asked how to optimise for multi-themed content. Naturally, a lot of advice leaned towards to splitting out content and following the usual rules, but another user pointed out that this doesn’t have to be the case.
We were quite excited to discover what new weapons we might be able to add to our SEO arsenal. This user cited an article that used a particular technique called pushState. The technique is nothing new, and is generally accepted as part of HTML5 standards for quite a few years now. But to use it as a way of keeping content in silos whilst everything appears to be on the same page was new to us, and way, way better than the anchor links hash-hack idea that you so often see.
There are other benefits too, each page will be treated as their own page, and you can even use the back button, AND the content will get indexed – I know because I’ve seen it. That said, some of the content was further divided into accordions, and those particular pieces of content weren’t indexed. Strange because usually ‘hidden’ content is indexed, but I guess that depends on how it is set up.
What’s so good about this technique is that for each theme on the page you can have a different URL, a different header tag, and generally optimise it in a way that allows you to tick those SEO compliance boxes.
Is your content properly optimised?