Squarespace Owner? How to Improve SEO

Squarespace SEO is a fiercely debated topic. As a Squarespace owner, you’re no doubt aware of this. Consider these three excerpts:

  1. “You may have heard that Squarespace is “bad for SEO,” but is there any truth to that?” – Long Tail Pro
  2. “Many people badmouth Squarespace SEO before researching it, which is a total recipe for disaster. – Nesha Woolery
  3. Out of all of the comments and emails, I receive about Squarespace, SEO is by far the topic that is most frequently asked about. –Elle and Company

The reality is that the myths such as “Squarespace is bad for your SEO” are exactly that, myths. Elle and Company have achieved huge success with Squarespace. Rand Fishkin, SEO Pro, and CEO of Moz Blog has even endorsed Squarespace.

There’s no reason why you cannot effectively improve your SEO using Squarespace. Before we get into the specifics of Squarespace, you need to remember the two most important aspects of your SEO. The first is content or on-page SEO. The second is inbound links or off-page SEO. This holds true for any website platform.

The Two Single Most Important Factors to Improve Your SEO Ranking

1. Content

Content is the single most important thing when it comes to your SEO. Don’t believe me? Well it’s written in Google mission statement:

“The mission of Google is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

But not just any type of content, high-value content that solves customers problems.  Focusing on specific tweaks to your SEO for organic ranking won’t necessarily deliver the desired results.  Google also goes on to say that you should focus on including words in your pages that users will type to find you in the search engine.

Blogging is a superb way to regularly provide high-value content to your readers. Blogging consistently will allow you to achieve 434% more indexed pages in Google. Leverage blogging to provide quality content, increased search visibility, and traffic.

2. Inbound Links

The quality of your links is the second most important factor to consider. Inbound links are links from another site that point back to yours. Quality links come from websites where its hard for you to feature. You can guest post to try and achieve these links. Alternatively, provide quality content consistently. This increases the chance that quality sites will link back to you.

Now let’s delve into the specifics of Squarespace SEO…

Squarespace optimizes your site by default but here are a few tweaks you can make. Bear In mind that Google ranks specific pages and not entire websites.

1. The Power of Sitemaps

Squarespace provides you with a Sitemap, ready to go. Sitemaps are essential. They help Google crawl and understand your website. According to Moz:

“Think of a sitemap as a list of files that give hints to the search engines on how they can crawl your website. Sitemaps help search engines find and classify content on your site that they may not have found on their own.”

For Sitemaps to effectively optimize your site, you need to submit them to Google Webmaster Tools. Click here to find your Sitemap.

2. Search Engine Description

I took a screen shot directly off Elle and Company’s website. It shows how correctly filling out your search engine description in the back-end of Squarespace, has an impact on how you see this in Google.

Elle and Company's website screenshot

Elle and Company's website search engine description

3. Your Site Title & Description

Go to Squarespace Home Menu, click Design – Logo & Title. Through customizing your site title and description you aid search engines in knowing what your sites about. This is one of the most important SEO elements. It appears in browsers, search engine results pages, and external websites.

4. Customize Page Title and Page Descriptions

Make sure your page titles are about 55 characters in length to prevent cut off by Google. The same applies for your description which should not exceed 160 characters.

5. Focus on Keywords

A keyword is something that you search for in Google. For example, “Top things to do in South Africa” is a keyword.

Include keywords in your page title, page description and in the slug. Consider this post I’m writing on Squarespace SEO. The keyword I want to rank for is Squarespace SEO. This is what it looks like:

  1. Title – Squarespace Owner? How to Improve Your Squarespace SEO
  2. Slug – By default, the slug will show up as the full title after the name of your site e.g. http://blog.bablic.com/sqaurespace-owner-how-to-improve-your-sqaurespace-seo/. You can shorten it to the keyword you want to rank for e.g. Squarespace-seo
  3. Description – Despite the many myths about Squarespace SEO it’s highly effective in improving your SEO. Here are several techniques to do this.

Consider creating a FAQ page where you address problems/questions consumers are having. Write a few hundred words to answer those questions, including relevant keywords. Through this, you provide content that solves their problems. Remember content is the most important aspect of your SEO.

6. Keyword Research

Telling you to focus on using Keywords is one thing, but how do you know you’re using the right keywords? Firstly, be cognizant that popular search terms (e.g. shoes) make up less than 30% of the searches on the web.

The remaining 70% are the long-tail of search, which contains hundreds of millions of unique searches. These are the keywords you really want to target. For example, “brown Aldo shoes size 9.”

This person knows what they want and if you can put your website in front of them, you practically have them. Secondly, armed with this knowledge, conduct some keyword research. Here are 5 resources to get you started:

  1. Moz Keyword Explorer
  2. Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool
  3. Google Trends
  4. Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence
  5. Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand

For Example, Moz Keyword Explorer provides monthly search data, ranking difficulty, estimated click-through-rates and much more.

7. Blog Posts

When creating blog posts, you can:

  1. Set the title, which should include your keyword.
  2. Standard URL that shows is ugly, change this to be cleaner.
  3. Include an excerpt – this substitutes the description visitors will see before visiting the site.
  4. Include a thumbnail image.
  5. Make sure to use tags and categories as search engines scan these to understand your site.

Content will always be the most important aspect of your SEO. Focus on providing high-value content, combined with the necessary keywords. Also, consider inbound links.

In Squarespace pay attention to Sitemaps and the site, page and search engine titles and descriptions. Also, focus on keywords conduct keyword research using the tools provided. Blogging consistently and optimizing your blog posts will also contribute greatly to improved SEO.