Squarespace SEO Help for Beginners
What is SEO? Why is it important?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. Top level search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo provide search results based on keywords that are used when searching for a specific thing. The results shown are ranked based on what the search engine deems as relevant for that specific user. Websites that rank higher are seen as more ‘authoritative’ for those keywords, and thus end up with more organic traffic. More traffic means more eyes on your brand, product, services - you name it. And this means more sales, work, and opportunities. It’s easy to see why SEO is such an important thing. But how does it work?
Crawling and Indexing
Google has what they call ‘web crawlers’ that visit publicly available web pages to gather data. These crawlers analyze things such as page structure, keywords, and links, to determine what your website is all about. From here, Google then organizes all that data into their ‘index’. The Google index is hundreds of billions of pages in size and doesn’t differ much from an index you would find in a book. Google determines the words on your web pages and then assigns them to the proper terms in the index. Once your Squarespace website has been indexed the real SEO work can begin.
Understand that SEO is a long game
This may be one of the most crucial things to keep in mind when you start your SEO journey. Playing the SEO game and starting to win the SEO game takes time. Results are not going to come overnight. To increase the likelihood of your website ranking higher, and thus generating more traffic, you need to be constantly improving and iterating your approach. Researching keywords (more below), optimizing your content, and understanding how to properly assess the success of your Squarespace website SEO are all important, ongoing steps you’ll need to take.
How does Squarespace help with SEO?
One of the great things about Squarespace is how easy they make it to stay on top of your SEO game.
No plugins required
Squarespace doesn’t require you to install and monitor SEO plugins for your website. All of the tools you need for proper SEO set-up and monitoring are built in to each template. This means you can focus more on crafting quality content for your website, and not learning how to use a confusing SEO plugin.
Mobile friendly templates
Having a mobile friendly websites is critically important when it comes to your search engine success. After all, according to Statista, nearly half (48.91%) of all web traffic comes from mobile. If your website is not mobile friendly, Google will penalize you in mobile search results. The good news? Every Squarespace template is responsive out of the box. This means that your website will adapt to various screen sizes and mobile devices and work well with the Google search engine.
Easy content management system (CMS)
Your best friend when it comes to climbing the search rankings is quality content. Squarespace has an award winning content management system that makes adding and editing new content a breeze. You can easily duplicate pages, add blog posts, and refine existing content to fit your SEO strategy.
Built in SSL Encryption
It’s important that your website maintains a high level of security for your users. Ever see that '“HTTPS” in the top left of a URL? It stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. If your website has HTTPS, then it has SSL security. Squarespace websites come with built in SSL security allowing your website to be secured at the highest level. Websites with SSL activated tend to load faster and do better in the search results. For example, if you visit a website in Google Chrome that does not have SSL, Chrome will give the user a ‘warning message’ that the website is insecure. This will cause huge bounce rates (users leaving your website) and will negatively impact your ranking.
Improve your Squarespace SEO today
Like I mentioned earlier, SEO is a long game. It takes careful attention, dedication, and a little bit of patience. But if you stick to it, you’ll begin to reap the benefits of your work. That said, there are some things you can do to improve your Squarespace SEO today.
Do some Keyword Research and validation
Keywords are the words and phrases you type into Google when searching for a specific thing. For example, if you are looking for Squarespace help, you may type 'Squarespace design help’ into Google. ‘Squarespace Design Help’ would be the keyword. But before you can start trying to rank for a specific keyword or phrase you need to know how competitive that keyword or phrase is.
Luckily, there are some great tools available to help determine how competitive a keyword may be, otherwise known as ‘validating’ keywords. One such tool is Ahrefs. Certain keywords are more competitive than others, making them harder to rank for. Typically, the more ‘general’ or ‘broad’ your keyword is, the harder it will be to rank for it. If you try to use keywords that are more specific, you will likely see more success. Why? Because they are less competitive. For example, it would be very hard for us to rank for the keyword “Squarespace”. But if we focus on ranking for “Squarespace experts in Ohio”, the likelihood of us seeing success is much higher. Tools such as Ahrefs allow for you to type in hundreds of potential keywords and assess their competitiveness. From there you can craft a content strategy (copy, images etc.) focused on using those specific validated keywords. Speaking of a content strategy…
Craft a targeted content strategy
Google loves quality content. It’s your best friend if you’re looking to climb the search rankings. Content in this particular instance refers to any of the written and visual content on your website. When Google’s web crawlers visit your page they are able to read the content on your website much like a normal user. And this is where that keyword research and validation we discussed earlier comes into play.
When crafting your website content you want to be strategic about using those validated keywords. Use them in your website copy, blog posts, and general page updates. But be careful to not overuse them as if you are trying to “game” the system. Google is smart after all. They can tell if what you are writing is unnatural. Write your content as if you are having a conversation with a real person.
Structure your pages properly
First and foremost, you want to make sure your website has an SEO description. Your overall website SEO description is typically the first thing users will read when they find your website in the search results. Information on how to add your website SEO description can be found here. All individual pages also have a page title and page description. It’s smart to use clear page titles and descriptions which helps Google to better understand the content on your page. Squarespace makes it easy to make sure your pages all have the proper descriptions and titles, which you can read more about here.
Another thing that can be helpful is to use clear and concise URL slugs. A URL slug is the word or collection of words that come after the backslash in a URL. Google likes a nice clean URL, so do your best to avoid using overly confusing or wordy URLs.
Start a high quality Squarespace Blog
One of the best ways to publish consistent high quality content is to start a blog. Each time you write and publish a new blog post it gives you the opportunity to convey valuable, keyword specific content for your users. After all, your blog will likely consist of content relevant to your industry (think a Wealth Management Firm writing about their favorite budgeting app). This means you can use keywords in your blog that people may be searching for. On top of this, each new blog post you publish is seen as a new page for Google. Over time Google will index these new pages increasing the chances of your content ranking for certain keywords.
If your blog content is extra good you may even find that other websites start linking to your content. Google loves this. These links are what SEO experts call ‘backlinks’. If your website content is linked to other highly authoritative websites, Google will take note of that and you will likely see your rankings increase for specific pages. There is much more that can be discussed with regards to backlinks, but we will save that for a more advanced Squarespace SEO post in the future.
Connect your website to Google Search console and Google analytics
Squarespace makes it very easy to connect your website to Google Analytics but there is another less discussed Google tool specifically for tracking SEO: Search Console. Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, Search Console provides you with tools to track your ongoing SEO performance. Once your website is connected to Search Console you can track items such as search impressions, average keyword ranking, and general page structure. As you learn more about how your Squarespace website is performing in search, you can make the necessary tweaks and iterations to your Squarespace website to increase your search engine performance. If you want to learn more about connecting your website to Search Console, click here.
We can help with your Squarespace SEO
SEO is a complicated subject. After all, there are entire books written about it. But hopefully you’re now a bit more familiar with how it works, specifically when it comes to your Squarespace website. If you are looking for a Squarespace SEO audit, or need some general Squarespace SEO help, send us a message. We’d be happy to set up a call with your team to see how we can help improve your website rankings.