Squarespace is one of the top website builders, offering a free trial and hundreds of website templates to choose from. If you’re looking for a drag-and-drop experience as you design your website, Squarespace is just as reputable and dependable as any of the big names in the website building space.
One of the top concerns with building any website is ensuring it is search engine friendly. This means that search engines spiders or bots can properly crawl the website, find its content, and index it within their search engine listings. This isn’t always a straightforward process because for every website builder or platform, the steps you have to take to search engine optimize your pages and blog posts can be different. However, in today’s competitive website environment, you can pretty much guarantee that every website builder can be optimized with the right set of instructions.
This is a guide to SEO for Squarespace websites. This guide shows you how to use Squarespace’s website builder and SEO features, along with other tools to increase your visibility in search engines.
First and foremost, customize your page titles
Page titles are a search engine’s primary means for understanding the content on a given page. For proper Squarespace SEO, you should customize your page titles for all of your sites primary pages, blog posts, etc. Any page of content that you have on your website deserves a custom written page title that’s optimized for that page’s given target keywords. These page titles served as the title of the tab within the browser, they also display as the title for your search engine listing. It is important that they are friendly both to search engine spiders and humans alike. Squarespace allows you to use default variables, but you should always manually enter text.
Recommended reading: Google SEO tagging best practices
Provide customized meta-descriptions
Just as page titles are important, each page also has a meta-description that serves as the descriptor for that page. It’s important to provide manually written text here that has been optimized for your target keywords but is written for humans as well. Once again, this text is displayed in search engines for your listing. However, it is not displayed on the page or within the browser anywhere like the meta-title.
Recommended reading: Google SEO tagging best practices
Structure your content with heading 1, 2 and 3 tags
SEO for any website is similar to SEO for Squarespace, you should always use headings within your content. Unlike some of the other content management systems, Squarespace does not automatically apply an h1 to the title of the page. You will have to manually select “heading 1” from the text drop down menu. This will apply the necessary h1 tag for you. The primary heading is the h1, this is the most important heading of the page and it should include your target keywords. The h2 is the secondary heading, you can have one or many h2 tags. Finally, you should also include several h3 tags to properly optimize the page.
Add image alt text
Image alt text allows search engines to better understand what is contained within an image. Unique to Squarespace SEO, it is also displayed to the user when they hover their mouse over the image. By optimizing your images with all text, you give search engines the ability to better understand and identify what content is on the page. Bots are only capable of reading text, they don’t comprehend images and image alt text gives them an alternative way to index that content.
One of the top Squarespace SEO tips is to have an active blog. All Squarespace websites have blogging capability. If you blog, this keeps your website updated frequently and it gives search engines plenty of content to index. What this does, is it allows search engines to see exactly what your website is about and the many topics it covers. It also shows search engines that you have an active website. Even if you are not an established business or blogger, simply adding a blog page and keeping it updated with relevant content is essential to Squarespace SEO.
Recommended reading: SEO best practices for blogs
Internally link to your websites pages
Internal linking allows search engine spiders to see which pages of your website have relevance to the other pages of your website. By internally linking to another page on your website, you are essentially showing search engines that the page being linked to is relevant and a good resource for your viewers. It shows confidence in those pages and therefore, search engines use internal links to better understand which pages of your site are primary and which are secondary. If you consistently internally link to a page, you can increase the search engine rankings of that given page and it’s a good way to practice strong linking practices. Internal links are one of the most powerful but often forgotten Squarespace SEO tips.
Recommended reading: Internal linking best practices for SEO
Add your address and relevant contact information
If you are a business that has a physical location and survey local audience, be sure to add your address and relevant contact information. Google uses something called NAP consistency, which stands for name, address, phone number. What this does, is it verifies that your name, address, and phone number are consistent throughout your website, your business listings, and anywhere else such as other websites that these details are listed for your business. You can take this a step further by adding a map and other features to your contact page.
Ensure your website has a sitemap
Squarespace will automatically generate a sitemap for you and properly link it on your website. What this does, is it enumerates every URL, image, and other metadata on your website so that search engine spiders and bots can properly index those pages. No Squarespace SEO guide would be complete without a sitemap recommendation. Sitemaps are essential to search engine optimization.
Cleanup your broken links
Broken links indicate to search engines that your website is outdated and it isn’t properly maintained. If you have lots of broken links, this can jeopardize your search engine rankings. One of the first steps on how to do SEO on Squarespace should be to scan your website for broken links and other errors. This should be part of your SEO audit.
Use clean URL structures
A clean URL structure means that the URLs used in your pages are keyword optimized, short, and relevant. If you have pages that have an extremely long URL, this can be bad for Squarespace SEO. As a good rule of thumb, if a URL is easily read, it will be easily indexed.
Recommended reading: How to create SEO and user-friendly Website URLs
Provide thorough product descriptions
Want to know how to increase SEO on Squarespace? Write good product descriptions. One of the most important things you can do as an e-commerce brand is to provide thorough product descriptions for the items you are selling. Content is ultimately the most important factor to search engine optimization. By writing 200 to 500 word descriptions for the items you sell, you give search engines plenty of content to better understand what that item is about. The more content you provide, the more opportunity you have to integrate target keywords and better optimize the page.
Secure an SSL certificate for your website
SSL certificates are a secure socket layer that provides trust and security for your users. Google has been open about SSL being a ranking factor, this is especially true for websites that process payments. SSL shows your users that you care about their security and are willing to pay for encryption technology to ensure that their payment details are safe. If you do not have an SSL certificate or it is broken, it’s possible that their antivirus software could alert them prior to checking out and stop the transaction.
Set up Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
Webmaster Tools and Analytics are provided free of charge, and they are extremely useful systems that can help you optimize your Squarespace website and analyze the traffic you are receiving. Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see search queries that have resulted in traffic and Google Analytics shows you where those visitors are geographically located. Both tools are essential to optimizing your website and better understanding your target demographic.
Optimizing a Squarespace website involves many of the common SEO practices that are useful for all websites. Squarespace does provide some unique search engine optimization features out-of-the-box and it is important to take advantage of these. Features like being able to customize meta-details for each page don’t always come standard with every content management system. Squarespace is leading the way as a website builder. With this Squarespace SEO guide, you should have all the tools and knowledge you need to rank your website in search engines.