A carousel, also called a slider or a rotating banner, has become very popular in website design and one can see why – at first glance, a carousel showing a range of the company’s products with one following another can provoke an “Ooohh!” response and make people looking at it think, “We want one of those on OUR site”. We understand that, and if a customer wants a slider we’ll make one. They are not without their drawbacks, however, and we’ll want to discuss the snags before going ahead.
The single most important aspect of any website is SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – the elements that contribute to how search engines rank this site in comparison with others. Good SEO can put the site on the first page when a potential customer searches for someone who does what the site’s owner does or sells what the site’s owner sells. Bad SEO can leave the site so far down the list that, in practice, it will never be seen.
The drawback to carousels – and all images, for that matter, and graphics too – is that search engines can’t see them. What they can’t see, they can’t store and they can’t rate. So, we can go to immense trouble to create the most beautiful carousel showing a customer’s products with love and care and it’s true that a visitor may be blown over by the heavenly vision when she or he arrives at the site – but they do absolutely nothing to get the visitor there.
We’re not saying, “Don’t have a slider” but we are warning that the slider is not enough. We have to go to work on captions, text descriptions, meta tags and all the other paraphernalia of SEO to make it likely that the beautiful carousel will see the light of day.