Squarespace SEO for Dummies | Improving your Google Rankings
Ok, so I know you’re not a dummy, but I’d like to break this topic down to the basics. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most asked about topics when talking with new clients, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be! If you’re starting a new business or blog, you obviously want people to be able to find you on the internet.
For all the beginners out there, SEO is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website in a search engine’s results. The higher a website is ranked in search results and the more frequently a website appears in search results, the better optimized it is.
Search Engine Optimization is about helping search engines understand and present content.
Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide explains how to do this, but Squarespace already does some of these technical items automatically. I’ve created the table below to give you a better understanding of what Squarespace does for you and what you should do to improve your rankings.
|SEO Strategy||Covered by SS||Up to you|
|Help Google find your content||X|
|Tell Google which pages shouldn't be crawled||X|
|Help Google (and users) understand your content||X||X|
|Organize your site hierarchy||X||X|
|Optimize your content||X|
|Optimize your images||X|
|Make your site mobile friendly||X|
I’ll go into greater detail below about each of the strategies that are up to you.
Help Google (and users) understand your content
While Squarespace does part of this for you, there are still things you could be doing to help:
Create unique, accurate page titles that read naturally and describe the content on each page. This one may seem obvious, but don’t label your website pages as Page 1, Page 2, etc.
Utilize the page description to summarize what the page is about. You can add a description for every page in the page settings.
Use heading tags, where appropriate, to emphasize important content to Google and users. But be careful not to overuse heading tags. For text that you want emphasized where a heading tag is not appropriate, use bold text instead.
Organize your site hierarchy
Again, Squarespace covers all of the technical aspects of this strategy, but there are some other things you can do to help:
Plan your navigation around your homepage. If you are using a Squarespace template as-is, this should be set up for you. If you created your own template make sure your navigation is a natural flowing hierarchy. (i.e. Home page -> Blog page -> Blog post).
Differentiate page titles and navigation titles. Page titles are indexed by search engines and appear in search results. The Navigation title displays in your navigation menu. Use the page title to promote keywords for search engines, but shorten the navigation title for your navigation menu. You can edit the page and navigation titles in the page settings.
Use words in URLs. URLs with words that are relevant to your site's content and structure are friendlier for visitors navigating your site. Squarespace automatically creates a URL based on the site’s page, but you can customize this in the page settings. Make sure the URL is short, descriptive, and relevant to the content (i.e. I know that squarespace.com/templates is a URL that links to Squarespace’s available templates).
Optimize your content (Blog, blog, and blog frequently)
Create fresh, unique content consistently. The more frequently a site is updated, the higher ranked a site is in the search results. The perfect way to do this is to blog! When blogging, utilize Squarespace’s options to tag the posts with categories and topics. Also, make sure to structure posts with appropriate header tags.
Make your site interesting and useful. The more interesting and useful a site is, the more readers will come back to your site, share your posts, or link to your site (backlinks). Backlinks play a large part in SEO.
Optimize your images
Provide a descriptive file name. Instead of image-1.png, use puppy-playing-fetch.png.
Use the alt text for images. There are many reasons to use alt text for images: (1) Search engines use alt text to identify the content of a page since they can only read text. (2) If for some reason, the image couldn’t load, the alt text would display instead. (3) Your website must use alt text to be ADA (American's with Disabilities Act) compliant. Learn more about how to add alt text to images in Squarespace.
I hope this post can help you start optimizing your Squarespace site for better search engine rankings. It takes time to build up a site that ranks well in Google searches, so just be consistent and patient. There’s so much information about SEO out there; this post only scratches the surface. If you liked this post and want to see more posts about SEO let me know. There are many topics I can dive deeper into.