Squarespace SEO — The Definitive Guide

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Squarespace can be traced back in 2003, when it all started inside a dorm room. To date, it has grown into one of the most favored website creators for sharing just about anything in this world.

The platform itself powers millions of websites, and it is an excellent space for visually-minded individuals. It has well-designed templates and modern features, some of the many elements that make it so appealing. It creates an intuitive, easy-to-use platform that is already optimized for search engine indexing, and it also comes well-equipped with content management systems and e-commerce.

Today, Squarespace has grown into a large, first-rate team (nearly a hundred) of passionate individuals who contribute to the fabric of well-designed websites that power on valuable interactions.

The new Squarespace

Recently, Squarespace reintroduced its SEO approach, unveiling some minor changes. It is now easier for users to set up the SEO settings on their website because of new features in the user interface.

These updates are the reasons why creative professionals love the platform so much. It performs as an all-in-one solution for average small business owners that are not backed up by an entire IT department. These individuals usually do not have the staff or the luxury of dedicating long hours to carefully fixing a website, and so this is where Squarespace comes into view.

Once again, it is an all-in-one solution that does not require intensive curation. This means that Squarespace is the one that takes care of everything, from all security updates to changing back-end systems to update to recent functionality.

With this, you are no longer expected to strain a muscle. Once familiar with all the intricacies, such as adding and moving around blocks, the creation of a new page can be done in minutes.

Learning the Basics

For those who are not yet familiar with it, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, embodies two practices: on-page SEO, which helps with the optimization of the website itself, and off-page SEO, which increases external signals to help augment the site’s authority.

Both on-page and off-page SEO can help you gain traffic from search engines. However, in a typical scenario, on-page optimization is far more advantageous, especially if you are the type who heavily relies on the intricate process of driving targeted website traffic to your website from search engines.

In order to achieve great SEO, you need to start small. These pivotal gestures may manifest as incorporating paid media, social posts, or displaying advertisements. Apparently, there are more ways to drive traffic to your website, and if done well, SEO can offer an important—and cost-effective strategy for organic growth.

Setting-up Your Site

Before you launch your site, there are many steps to follow to ensure that you are maximizing its capabilities. Such steps involve managing the site title, site description, search engine description, SSL certificate, among others. To help you course through these, below is a brief guide on how to set-up your fully optimized Squarespace website that will easily top SEO rankings in the future.

Pre-launch Checklist

  1. Aside from the logo, you need to put a site title and a site description. SEO recommended titles should be about 60 characters. These include one keyword that the search engines can index. Furthermore, it is important to add a 50 to 300-word site description below the title page.
  2. Display your business information, contact page, and a site location on Squarespace. If the search engines know where you are, your site is likely to appear in searches related to your specific location.
  3. Connect and add images to Social Media. Set up social media sharing in your website, push published content, and encourage people to link to your published pages. Images that you share socially should also be included to represent your main page and your individual pages.
  4. Use a custom domain instead of the default squarespace.com. This feature will strengthen your website, and it will make it easier for potential clients to search your page. For blogging websites, you should learn how your URL is automatically created. Including your post title is generally a good choice when picking your URL.
  5. Create SEO optimized content before adding your URL. Google likes good content and this shows up in most search rankings. Once you have added your content, check the URL slugs of each page and item on your site. It should show the correct content instead of just a random string of characters.
  6. Enable SSL in your Squarespace site and create a 404 page. Google prioritizes secure websites over non-secured sites in terms of search rankings. Similarly, search engines do not like broken pages. It is important to set up a custom 404 page for broken pages. This will link people to other parts of your website instead of returning back to the search page.

Website Launch Items to Check

Make sure to check that you are verified in the Google Search Console once your website is launched. This is where you can manage your presence in Google’s search pages. The process is pretty simple, as there are a number of ways in which you can do this.

Website verification is done by uploading an HTML file to the root directory of your website, including a simple meta tag to your site’s <head> section, adding a TXT record in your DNS provider, or have the Google Tag Manager contain an active snippet on your site.

You can also verify your site with Bing Webmaster tools to track your presence in Yahoo and Bing. And lastly, enable AMP for mobile users to allow faster browsing on mobile devices.

After-Launch Action Items

Keep in mind that this is not a one-time work. After launching your page, frequently check Google Analytics tools to track site visits and search engine rankings.

One of the many things that you may find difficult when it comes to setting up your Squarespace account are the keywords that need to be optimized. You can deal with this by directly connecting your site to Google Analytics. Doing so will pull in the search terms people frequently use to find your website.

It is essential to always take into consideration this feature, as it is proven to be crucial for an ongoing SEO strategy. Make sure to always check the keywords monthly in your Squarespace Analytics.

Strategically make changes, continuously optimize your pages, and add additional high-quality content to keep traffic going into your website. Changes in the URL or removal of published pages should be redirected to the new URL to prevent broken links.

Optimizing your website

For most websites, ranking higher in the search engine results is a significant matter. Website traffic is higher for sites that show up in the first 10 items of search results. But what if you have launched your website and you notice that it is not showing up in the search engine rankings? Or because of the Google algorithm update, your rankings dropped?

The moments when you begin to wonder why you do not rank in search engines often lead you to calculating the mistakes you might have committed along the way. Take a breather and continue reading our SEO guide if you want to improve your search rankings.

Create an SSL version of your existing website.

SSL (secure socket layer) is a ranking factor with Google. As mentioned earlier, HTTPS websites get higher rankings than HTTP primarily because of their security.

For existing non-secure sites that convert to SSL, Squarespace creates 301 permanent redirects from your non-secure pages to secure URLs. All you need to do is to tick a checkbox in Squarespace and then register the secure versions to Google Search Console.

However, the best practice is to make the changes first and register the new versions after 72 hours. It ensures that everything is still working correctly after the update. Check with Squarespace support and review Google’s guidelines on switching to SSL first before making any changes.

Register and Submit Site Map in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools

Registration is a crucial component to consider when looking at rankings. Your site will not show up in search engine rankings if they do not know that your website exists.

Remember to register both the secure and non-secure version of your domains, as well as the HTTP:// and HTTPS:// versions of your website. Provide an XML site map to both search engines to allow them to index your site quicker and easier.

Website Speed is important

Visitors tend to stay on the website and browse through more pages if the pages load fast. While there are some limitations as to how fast websites load their pages, there are ways to increase site speed.

One of the many ways to do this is by making use of compression tools in the images you plan to upload on Squarespace. Compressed jpg images are better than png. Also, avoid using a lot of web fonts, and instead, opt for secure web fonts, which are easier to load.

Minimize external scripts and custom codes. If you use Youtube or Vimeo, always select the “use custom thumbnail” option. Otherwise, Squarespace needs to search for content from Youtube, even if a visitor does not play a video on your website. This leads to unnecessary downloads that slow down the loading time.

Format page titles correctly

Why? Because this is the first thing that a potential visitor will take notice of when searching. Page titles have the power to form a good impression. Page and post titles should ideally start with an exact keyword.

It is a crucial element for most search engines because the title is the most significant component in the search engine results. Furthermore, crafting perfect page titles plays a significant role in the growth of your organic traffic.

To recap: do not forget about descriptiveness, keep it brief and relevant, and always include your keywords when constructing page titles.

Headings should also not be taken lightly

A common mistake is using a bold font instead of correctly using H2, H3, H4. If not properly categorized, search engines will have a harder time indexing your page.

SEO is used to fast changes, but what stays is the value of headings. These are an organizational tool that helps users navigate their way through your web content. Simply put, the creation of headings makes it easier for web crawlers to recognize the relevance of your website.

In the order of headings, H1 has greater dominance, making it the most necessary to SEO. This is the title of the web page, and it is only natural for keywords to be aligned with this.

Headings are the conversation starters, and these also make your content easier for individuals to comprehend and process. These are not merely ornamentations; headings impact the user experience and ranking.

Include meta descriptions on your page

Meta descriptions provide short summaries of websites and usually appear under blue clickable links on the search results page. A good meta description can encourage clickthroughs and improve your CT or clickthrough rate.

Google recently lengthened the standard stretch for meta descriptions. Previously, meta descriptions were expected to be 160 characters or less. As of 2017, you are now allowed to optimize your meta descriptions up to 275 characters in length.

Do not forget to include Alt Text and Optimized file names in the images

Search engines index and categorize page content. Adding the correct file name in images goes a long way when it comes to improving your search rankings. In short, in order to implement best alt text and optimized file names in the images, these need to be specific, but also representative of what the web page contains.

URLs should not be too long and must include keywords relevant to your page

Use punctuations and breakers such as dash (-) to denote items and hyphen (_) for spaces in the slugs you use per page. An SEO-friendly URL structure avoids superfluous words and characters. It should be easy to read so that both users and search engines will be able to access what is put on each page. It also needs to be consistent and keyword-rich, which means any logic you choose to follow must be apparent across the site.

Rich snippets can be added to your website

This additional site data helps visitors and search engines understand your page. Rich snippets are visual cues that appear below the title, just before the meta description, in the search engine results. These are the lines of black text that go with every search result listing.

Rich snippets describe the page’s relevance to the phrase that web crawlers use in search queries. If snippets are properly constructed, these will inherently permit search engines to have a better grasp on whatever information is written on the web page.

Create great content, build backlinks, and assess the quality of your page

Good content is not just specific to Squarespace but also to all website types. A carefully written, high-quality content that users can get a lot of information from usually appear in the top searches. More so if there are many authority websites that backlink to it.

Keyword researching will come a long way in helping you understand the topics that people are actively looking for. You can build your site from the results of your search. Backlinks help your site to look more professional.

The main thing to note when incorporating backlinks is that these need to be natural and relevant. Google has a way of knowing if you pay for your backlinks. Do not resort to this unethical step that may greatly affect your rankings.

Architecture of the website provides clean structure

This sounds intimidating at first glance, but the site architecture is actually pretty straightforward. This is all about offering your visitors and search engine bots a laid-back and fluid journey through your Squarespace website.

Think of it like drawing a straight line, for example. Do not make things overly complicated for the user by giving them vague representations. Make everything as palpable as possible.

Take out broken links, and replace these with your unique URLs instead. Properly translating simplicity and understandability allow search engines to know what is what and where on your website.

Squarespace has its limitations, but the features are also very powerful for SEO. In fact, Squarespace has many more integrated SEO features than other website builders, including WordPress.

SEO is important

People say the answer lies somewhere in the middle. The most important thing that makes Squarespace so attractive is its all-encompassing features, which allow you to add your own descriptions directly to your site.

Squarespace gives you impressive control over your site. That and an effective content strategy, as well as an SEO Expert that can help navigate thru the technicalities, you have everything you need to make it to the top of the search rankings. Long story short, if understood and utilized correctly, Squarespace can become the hand that will lead you to success.

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