When it comes to improving your websites visibility on the search engines, there is an abundance of useful information available online to show you how it’s done. Unfortunately, buried within all of the useful information are a few ‘myths’ that never seem to die down, regardless of how many times they are debunked.
One of the most consistent myths that we see flying around in the SEO stratosphere is the idea that it’s impossible to perform good SEO on a SquareSpace website. Not only is this misinformation bad for SquareSpaces reputation, it’s also detrimental to the success of the individuals and small business owners who are using this platform.
If I was to search “SEO SquareSpace” or any related keyword variation in Google, and I was bombarded with reasons why SEO on SquareSpace is a waste of time, I’m sure I would be discouraged too. The problem is, most of the negative noise is coming from people who have no experience with SEO, regardless of the platform.
That is the reason we have decided to create this blog post. To first of all, destroy the myths that SEO on SquareSpace is a waste of time, and second of all, to provide you with our best tips on how to maximize your SEO efforts and potentially skyrocket the organic rankings of your SquareSpace website.
Is SquareSpace Good For SEO?
To answer this question in short…
Yes. SquareSpace is a great platform for SEO, and here is why:
By its most simple definition, SEO is the art of optimizing your website for the search engines, in order to improve your rankings for specific keywords. The result of ranking for keywords specific to your business is an increase in targeted traffic. Pretty simple, right?
SEO can be broken down into two sub-sections, both of which are crucial to the success of your website in the search engines. These are on-page SEO and off-page SEO. In order to rank well in Google, Bing and other search engines, you must ensure that both your on-page and off-page SEO efforts are up to scratch.
When people are dismissing the SEO capabilities of SquareSpace, they are primarily referring to on-page SEO, which is essentially the culmination of internal ‘ranking factors’ such as keyword density, optimized title tags and meta-descriptions, website loading speeds and much more.
Off-page SEO, on the other hand, is essentially the culmination of external ‘ranking factors’ such as inbound links, citations and customer reviews. These factors are somewhat “out of your control”, so the platform that you are using to build your website has absolutely no impact on your off-page SEO.
While it’s true that SquareSpace does not give its users the flexibility that self-hosted platforms like WordPress do, the development team who have built the SquareSpace platform have built it with SEO optimization in mind. Essentially, all SquareSpace websites are SEO optimized (to a certain extent) straight out of the box, in terms of the more advanced and ‘technical’ aspects of SEO.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most important ‘ranking factors’ that you can start implementing today, to start cashing in on the SEO goldmine.
How To Perform SEO On SquareSpace
When we are optimizing a new website for the search engines, we like to employ the “80/20 Principle”, which basically means that we are focusing on the 20 percent of actions that are producing 80 percent of the positive results.
It is suggested that the Google algorithm will use over 200 ranking signals to determine which website should rank for a specific keyword. It would be impossible to optimize your website for all 200 of these ranking factors, so what we like to do as SEO’s, is to focus our time and effort on the few factors that give you the most bang for your buck, and what have the biggest impact on your rankings.
If you focus on just the following ranking factors, you will be optimizing your website better than 90% of your competition. Combined with good off-page SEO, these few tips will help to “supercharge” your SquareSpace website, and will skyrocket your online visibility and traffic numbers.
You may have already heard the term “Content is King”. It’s been circulating around the internet since the early 2000’s when digital marketing was still in it’s infancy, and it still holds true to this day. The content that you post on your website is one of the biggest influencing factors in the eyes of the search engines, so it’s crucial that you spend the majority of your efforts here.
Your content, whether it be a static web page or a blog post, allows the search engines to ‘understand’ what that specific page is about, which in turn will allow them to decide which keyword phrases it should be ranking for.
For example, if you are an online e-commerce store selling rubber ducks, but your content does not reflect that, there is no way for Google or any other search engine to know that you want to rank for terms relating to rubber ducks. However, if you consistently add the keywords that you want to target to your content, for example ‘rubber ducks for sale’, ‘buy rubber ducks’ or simply just ‘rubber ducks’, the search engines will know that the content on that specific page is related to rubber ducks, and they will rank you accordingly.
The platform that you use to build your website will have no impact on how the search engines crawl and scan your online content, regardless of whether you use SquareSpace, Weebly or WordPress.
One of the best SquareSpace SEO features is the built-in sitemap that is automatically generated for every user. Sitemaps, if you are unfamiliar with the term are basically a web file that stores all of the information about the pages on your website. Think of it as a filing cabinet for your websites pages.
Instead of search engine crawlers having to scour the internet back and forth searching for each individual page of your website, the sitemap simply hands over the information in one, easy to navigate file. This makes the crawlers job considerably easier, and substantially faster.
Search engine crawlers are the ‘robots’ that assess your web pages and feed the information back to the algorithm which then determines which phrases you should rank for, and in which position. As you can imagine, having a sitemap will make the entire process more efficient, which can only be positive in regards to your SEO.
3. Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Another one of the most influential ranking factors, without a shadow of a doubt, is the title tags and meta descriptions. The title tag is the name of the web page that is shown in the small tab at the top of the web browser. Not only does the title tag help the visitor understand what the page is about, it also tells the search engines the same thing.Using the same example as before, if you were to change your title tag to something along the lines of “Buy Rubber Ducks Online | Cheap Rubber Ducks”, the search engine crawlers will be able to figure out what the rest of the content on the page is about.Title tags hold a lot of weight, so it’s important that you optimize these correctly. SquareSpace settings will allow you to customize the title tag of every page on your website, so make sure it’s one of your main priorities.Meta-descriptions, on the other hand, do not have a direct impact on your SEO. With that being said, a well-written meta-description (the small excerpt that shows in the search engines beneath the name of the page) will allow you to “sell” your services and persuade the searcher to click on your website over any other. The higher your click-through rate, the more ‘relevant’ your website will look in the eyes of the search engines. It is the job of the search engines to provide relevant information to the searchers, so relevancy is always a good thing to pursue.Again, the settings on every page of your SquareSpace website will allow you to add a custom meta-description. We would highly recommend that you use this feature.
4. URL Slugs
Now that you have an optimized title tag, a good meta-description, excellent content and a sitemap submitted to your webmaster tools account, the final piece of the puzzle is to optimize the URL slug of the pages you want to rank for.The ‘slug’ is simply the wording that follows the forward slash at the end of your domain name. Again, using the same example, let’s take a look at an automatically generated URL slug versus a custom, SEO optimized one:http://www.yourdomain.com/blogpost04082017http://www.yourdomain.com/buy-rubber-ducks-onlineIt doesn’t take an SEO expert to notice the difference between the two URL slugs, does it?The SEO optimized slug not only lets the search engines know what the specific page is about, it also looks considerably neater and lets the visitor know that they are on the page that they want to be on. If you saw the two aforementioned URLs in the search engine results, which one would you be more tempted to click?
5. Relevant Tags
One of the most simple ‘quick wins’ that you can take advantage of on the SquareSpace platform is simply adding tags to all of your pages and images.As you have probably noticed from the other four tips that we have shared with you, the most important aspect of SEO is to simply provide the search engine crawlers with as much information about each specific web page as possible. Any way in which we can add a keyword to our page without it looking like obvious spam will inevitably help us improve our rankings.One of the easiest ways to do this is to add relevant tags to each post and image that you upload to your website. Again, in the SquareSpace SEO settings on each page that you upload, you will have the option to add tags to the post itself, and the images that you upload. You should use this space to your advantage by adding a few different variations of your target keyword, without going overboard and “stuffing” your page with tags. Keyword stuffing can have the opposite effect on your rankings, so be cautious of that.
Is SquareSpace The Best Online Platform For SEO? (SquareSpace Vs WordPress)
In terms of the flexibility and the tools available to optimize your website as well as you possibly can, SquareSpace is far from the best online platform for SEO. WordPress, the self-hosted alternative is the most popular platform, and it’s also an open-source platform which means that developers are constantly creating new tools and plugins which allow you to manipulate your website in any way you could ever want to.What SquareSpace does, however, is provides an excellent starting point for anybody who doesn’t have the skills to work with a self-hosted solution like WordPress. The tools and features that are already built into the SquareSpace platform are more than enough to provide your website with the SEO that it needs to rank well in the search engines. Hopefully, our post here can prove it.Don’t let the naysayers dissuade you from progressing with SquareSpace. If you implement the tips that we have shared here in this post, we guarantee that you will be well on your way to dominating the search engines for your target keywords.