Are Carousels Bad for SEO?

  • 1
  • 2
  • Article
  • Updated 2 years ago



Carousels, or image sliders, are a feature of many business websites. Often they appear on the homepage occupying a significant amount of space at the top of the screen. Good carousels have attractive, well thought out images, along with direct marketing messages and links to other pages of content. They also often have cool-looking design features, particularly in regard to how text is displayed, or how the different images transition. This seems positive on the surface. But there is something nasty lurking behind your carousel: it’s bad for SEO.

Having a carousel on your website is like using a Segway instead of walking. Segways are those battery-powered, two-wheeled machines designed for personal transportation - as a substitute to walking (and getting exercise). These machines are pointless because they do not improve the way that people get around. Plus they encourage laziness (and they solve a “problem” that doesn’t even exist).
Segways are similar to image carousels. They are annoying and they damage your website's SEO. Plus, everyone knows that there are healthier, more efficient ways of showing images and marketing messages.

How Carousels Damage SEO

Carousels impact SEO in a number of ways:

  • Speed - carousels slow down websites. Speed is one of the key factors that Google judges a website on. It is not a good user experience either.

  • Mobile problems - sliders don't always work well on mobile devices. Even when they do work they are often slow. Both of these are issues are bad when it comes to SEO, particularly given some of Google’s latest algorithm changes (which place even great emphasis on mobile friendly content).

  • Content visibility - most websites position their sliders on the homepage, directly below the menu. This means they are the main element on the page, while the rest of your content is pushed down. Google's algorithm likes web pages where the content is immediately visible to the user. Carousels force your visitors to scroll, so this is also bad for SEO.

  • H1 tags - some carousels also present H1 tag problems. This typically happens when there is a heading in the slider. These headings are usually tagged as H1 which means you have multiple H1 tags on the page. In addition they change as the carousel rotates, and your main content H1 tag appears further down the page. None of this is good for SEO.


A lot of the points above could also be included in a list of things that demonstrate how carousels damage user experience. But you don't even need to look at a list like that when there are statistics that show the ineffectiveness of carousels. According to this research, only one percent of users click on images or links in a slider.

Alternatives To Carousels

The simple alternative to showing a carousel is to show a static image with a single call to action. Your visitors will find this more relevant, and it will integrate better with the rest of the content on the page.
Sometimes websites use carousels to help visitors navigate to particular sections of your website. If this is the case you will have to create alternatives, such as within the content, or by using feature areas.

When you remove a carousel from your website (or don’t include one in the first place) you’ll have more of an opportunity to express your message. You’ll now have a large and highly visible section of your screen to increase your conversions. Use it wisely.
Photo of Drew N

Drew N, Community Manager

  • 259,114 Points 100k badge 2x thumb

Posted 3 years ago

  • 1
  • 2
Photo of susan2829

susan2829, Champion

  • 42,880 Points 20k badge 2x thumb
Really glad you posted this Drew. I did a site review for one of the members the other day and the image slider at the top was a killer on all the levels you mentioned: size/page weight, SEO, visitor distraction and I know this person also had issues trying to go mobile.

I hope your post falls into all the right hands as webmasters really need to understand, grasp and implement this concept.

Cheers
Photo of themieleman

themieleman, Champion

  • 58,080 Points 50k badge 2x thumb
Does Homestead's Image Scroller qualify as a Carousel?
Photo of susan2829

susan2829, Champion

  • 42,880 Points 20k badge 2x thumb
Yes, for all the reasons above.
Photo of themieleman

themieleman, Champion

  • 58,080 Points 50k badge 2x thumb
Hi Susan: Can you post your essay on "The Basics of Website Design" or repost the title so I can perform a search and recover the work from my files? There was a designer seeking design advise early this week and it would have been perfect. I thought you might chime in on that one - a landscape company with lots of green on the screen?
Photo of susan2829

susan2829, Champion

  • 42,880 Points 20k badge 2x thumb
hmmmmm I think you're referring to Web_Page_Design_Checklist. Let me know if you still can't find it using that to search, give me an email and I'll send you the file.
Yes, I saw the request from the landscaper, but was in the middle of a project and didn't have the time to scour the site and do a critique. Lost the link to his post so if you still have it post it and I'll take a look.
Photo of themieleman

themieleman, Champion

  • 58,080 Points 50k badge 2x thumb
This is a link to the conversation with: The website is www.battistafarms.com
https://community.homestead.com/homestead/topics/website-review-and-feedback-please. I didn't find the check list. It's a good tool for us amateurs to review.
(Edited)
Photo of susan2829

susan2829, Champion

  • 42,880 Points 20k badge 2x thumb
Thanks - I'll take a look. 
Photo of themieleman

themieleman, Champion

  • 58,080 Points 50k badge 2x thumb
I moved my carousel to the bottom of the page. 
Photo of Andrew6573

Andrew6573

  • 390 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
Does this include an image gallery?
Photo of Drew N

Drew N, Community Manager

  • 259,114 Points 100k badge 2x thumb
A very large gallery will slow down page load times, so from perspective, yes it does. But, galleries do not generate the same "banner effect" as do sliders. This is that the user identifies the moving images with a banner ad and completely ignore it. It will help to place either of these items below the text content on your site. Search engines prioritize text over images.
Photo of Les6064

Les6064

  • 7,444 Points 5k badge 2x thumb
It must be understood that there are rules and regulations for a purpose, website building should not be taken lightly. With all the messages on this forum and questions asked time after time about the same subject it seems that a introduction to website design should be a book to read. Would it be possible for Homestead to issue a basics of webdesign article for all to read?   
Photo of themieleman

themieleman, Champion

  • 58,070 Points 50k badge 2x thumb
Photo of susan2829

susan2829, Champion

  • 42,880 Points 20k badge 2x thumb
The Search Engines themselves have guidelines for web design.
https://www.google.com/webmasters/learn/

And here's a good article on why you shouldn't ignore Bing Webmaster Tools.
http://searchengineland.com/why-seos-should-not-ignore-bing-webmaster-tools-247997