Today, Squarespace is one of the most popular hosted website builders in the world. However, website builders have a very bad reputation when it comes to SEO.
Compared to regular content management systems, they're seen as clunky, and almost impossible to optimize. But that's the past. These days, more and more platforms come with plenty of SEO-specific features you can use to boost your rankings.
But how about Squarespace? Is Squarespace good for SEO, or is it doomed for the bottom pages of the search engines?
Let's have a look at what can you do - and get some SEO tips along the way.
Squarespace’s SEO Features
While SEO is not its biggest selling point, Squarespace does come with everything you need to perform well in search engine results.
While some coding knowledge could come in handy, here are some of the key functionalities you can use as a beginner:
Meta Descriptions and Meta Titles
A ranking factor that is very important in the eye of all search engines is page titles. These titles should include the main keyword. They should also be engaging so that users click on them.
Luckily, Squarespace allows you to add individual titles to every single one of your pages and blog posts. Furthermore, the platform allows you to add a meta description to each section of your site.
While these descriptions aren’t essential, they’re a great way to increase your keyword density. Additionally, a strong meta description is proven to increase click-through rates.
Your meta description and title will appear as a snippet in the search engine results pages (SERPs). With this in mind, it’s important that yours fits within the character limit of search engines.
Using different types of headings throughout your pages and blog posts are important for two reasons. The first one is that it makes it easier for your reader to jump to the sections of your content that interest them the most. The second is that headings tell search engines how you’ve structured your posts.
While Squarespace does allow you to use headings, this feature is limited to H1, H2, and H3. The majority of website builders offer more heading variations. That said, these three ways of formatting headings are the most commonly used, meaning search engines will still understand your structures.
Search engine algorithms like Google’s aren’t advanced enough to read images. With this in mind, there are various image attributes you should add in order for search engines to recognize them.
A good way to make sure your images are SEO-friendly is to give them the right file name before uploading them to your website.
This file name should include your main keyword and a short description of the image. The next important element is to give your image a name in your website builder.
This can be the same as your file name. Lastly, make sure to add alternative text that includes your primary keyword.
With Squarespace, you can give all your images an alt text. Better yet, you can add these to individual images, galleries, image blocks, and product images, among others. The only difficulty is that adding these alt texts can be challenging for novices. Luckily, Squarespace has a guide just for adding alt text to images.
Every new page or blog post that you create will receive a randomly generated URL with a sequence of letters and numbers. However, Squarespace allows you to assign your pages a new URL of your choosing.
I suggest you change each URL to something similar to your SEO title. This should also include your primary keyword. You can make changes to your URLs in the page configuration section.
Whether or not your website is mobile friendly will affect your search engine ranking. This is because the number of people worldwide using the Internet on their smartphones is increasing at an incredible rate. That said, mobile optimization is about more than just making your site available on mobile. It’s also about ensuring that users have the best experience possible.
With the above in mind, you should check everything from page speeds to the ways in which visitors interact with your site. Remember, mobile users have smaller screens. It’s therefore important that you keep this in mind when optimizing titles and meta descriptions.
Luckily for you (and them!), all Squarespace templates are optimized for mobile devices. Moreover, you can preview how your site will look on different devices with the Device View feature on your dashboard. By clicking on this feature, you’ll be able to see how responsive your site is depending on the device it’s being viewed on.
Integration of Google Tools
Today, there are different Google tools you can integrate into your site. While these will not directly affect how your website ranks on search engines, they will help you track your progress and make improvements.
Two of the most popular tools available today are Google Analytics and Google Search Console, both of which are free to use.
Google Analytics gives you a mound of data about your site. This includes everything from the number of visitors you acquire, their demographic, and the pages they visit, among other statistics.
With Squarespace, you can add Google Analytics to your website by adding your account number in the ‘External Services’ of your Advanced Settings.
Google Search Console works slightly differently. With this tool, you’ll get a clear view of how your website is performing in search results. You’ll also be able to identify areas for improvement. Squarespace allows you to add Google Search Console to your website by connecting it to your Google Analytics.
Other SEO Features Squarespace Has to Offer
While Squarespace doesn't have its own SEO wizard like other website building platforms, it does come with some extra features. One of these is a free SSL certificate. Aside from being good practice, an SSL certificate encrypts the data between the server and your browser, thus making it more secure.
This is extremely important as search engines are starting to penalize websites without them.
Furthermore, you can now connect up to 30 social media networks to your Squarespace website. These icons allow visitors to share your content on their preferred social media channels.
Google released a video back in 2014 explaining that you just can’t rely on these signals.
But today these social media networks are making an appearance in search engines on a much larger scale and it's as important as ever.
Is Squarespace Good for SEO?
Despite the fact that many steer away from hosted website builders like Squarespace because they believe they’re not good for SEO, there is no proof that this is the case.
Yes, Squarespace SEO is best for users who have basic coding knowledge. That said, all the must-have features are available for you to use in order to get your website ranking on search engines and it's not that difficult to get started.
However, while Squarespace SEO is good, it’s not as extensive as WordPress or can compare with the features and ease of Wix SEO. The website builder is also a better option for creative companies, portfolio websites, and small businesses.
With this in mind, if you’re looking to build an online store, you may want to look elsewhere.
Do you use Squarespace for your website? If so, tell me how you get on with the platform’s SEO features in the comments below.