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SEO Setup Guide for Your Squarespace Website

Bold & Pop : SEO Setup Guide for Your Squarespace Website

One common misconception of Squarespace is that it’s not good for SEO (search engine optimization). That’s a big ol’ lie. You just have to know how to optimize your site properly, just like with any platform! We know SEO can be a complicated topic and really confusing so we’re giving you a step-by-step guide to help you optimize your site so you can rank higher and higher on search engines pre- and post-launch!

Backend Setup

There are several things to update in the settings area on the backend of your Squarespace website prior to launching (if you've launched and haven't done this, don't worry! You can still go in and update now). This includes:

  • Your Business Name

  • Site Description

  • Search Engine Description

  • SSL Certificate

  • Page Titles and SEO Descriptions

Business Name: Chances are you have a logo that you’ll be using on your website but you also want to fill out your Business Name under the business information. If you do have a logo, you’ll want to also consider adding some keywords after your business name. Because you have a logo, these won’t show up on the actual website but it still gives search engines some keywords to crawl right in your website name.

You can edit your business name by going to Settings > Business Information > Business Name

Example: Bold & Pop | Social Media, PR, Branding and Website Design

Site Description: Depending on your template, this may or may not show up on the website but this is a great place to give a succinct overview of what your brand offers. Make sure you include the essential keywords in this section.

You can edit this by going to Settings > Basic Information > Site Description

Search Engine Description: This description is what is used in the search results of search engines like Google. In one or two short sentences, describe your business here. (You can also use the same description as the site description to make life a little easier.) Again, make sure to include essential keywords so these are front and center for search engines to crawl. 

You can edit this by going to Settings > SEO > Search Engine Description

SSL Certificate: Google has announced that SSL-secured websites may receive a minor ranking boost so you want to make sure you have this enabled. Luckily, Squarespace makes this insanely easy and offers free SSL certificates for all Squarespace domains and third-party domains connected to a site.

To make sure this is enabled, go to Settings > Security & SSL > Choose Secure option

Page/SEO Titles and SEO Descriptions: Every single page on your site now allows you to update the SEO titles, page titles, navigation titles and page descriptions. Here’s how these break down:

Bold & Pop : SEO Setup Guide for Your Squarespace Website
  • SEO titles: These appear in search results and are indexed by search engines.

  • Page titles: These are only available on some templates but these can be longer than navigation titles. If there's no SEO title, the page title displays in search results instead.

  • Navigation titles: These are the titles that show up in your navigation. It's best to keep these short, like "About" or "Contact."

  • SEO Descriptions: Similar to your overall site description and search engine description but these are specific for each page on your site. These will display under the corresponding page in search results so make sure to keep these short, relevant, and descriptive.

You can find page titles and descriptions under each page’s settings (pictured above).

Headers

If you didn’t know, Squarespace produces pages with clean HTML markup that is indexable by search engines. This means there’s no need to add <h1> and <h2> tags in HTML. All you have to do is select a Heading style, and those tags are created for you.

Most of the time you’re going to use these Heading styles to highlight your key points on your website and these should include keywords. These headers are prioritized as important pieces of information (in order of Header 1, Header 2, Header 3, and then body text) when search engines crawl your website so you can see why having keywords in these is so important.

Pro tip: If you have a blog, your blog titles are categorized as Header 1 so make sure those are descriptive and include keywords!

Bold & Pop : SEO Setup Guide for Your Squarespace Website

Image Filenames

In Squarespace, images contain proper <alt> and <title> tags, improving search engine indexing. All meta tags for pages and <link> tags for RSS feeds are automatically generated in Squarespace and image descriptions are converted to <alt> tags. Because of this, you need to make sure you give every image on your website a filename.

You can find this right under where you upload the image. It says it’s an option which means it’s often overlooked but SO important for SEO. As with everything else, you want to make sure you include keywords but make sure the filename also provides an accurate description of what the image is (this pops up if the images doesn’t load).

We like to structure our filenames as Company Name :: Keywords/Description

Unlike most of these other SEO tips, this is something you may need to continue to do on a regular basis. If you decide to change an image or add a new one, you need to rename or name those images each time. This is especially important if you have a blog or shop that you update regularly.

Pro tip: This is also the text that is pulled if someone pins an image or graphic from your website to Pinterest! 

Connect to Google Analytics

So how in the world do you know which keywords to optimize? Good news is you can connect your site to Google Analytics and it will pull in the search terms people actually use to find your website!

This will be really important for your ongoing SEO strategy so we highly recommend doing this and checking the keywords on a monthly basis in your Squarespace Analytics.

If you need help connecting your Google Analytics, here’s a guide.

Submit Sitemap to Google

The great news on this piece is Squarespace automatically generates and links a proper sitemap.xml, which enumerates every URL and image metadata on your site with proper priority for perfect indexing even if you use a Javascript-heavy template.

So while Squarespace does this automatically for you, you still need to submit your sitemap and verify your website with Google. Luckily, this is also super easy and Squarespace provides a step-by-step guide.

  • How to verify your site with Google Search Console

  • Once you verify your site, you can click the option to submit a sitemap. Basically your sitemap can be found at http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. So just enter the sitemap.xml into the space provided and submit!

And there you have it! A lot of little steps but all very easy and doable to help boost your SEO. If you want to learn more about the other built-in SEO features Squarespace offers, check out their overview.

Pro tip for ongoing SEO:

While taking care of all of these backend SEO pieces prior to launch is always a top priority for us, we also always suggest adding a blog and updating it regularly. This gives search engines fresh content to crawl on a regular basis. Trust us, this is not an opportunity you want to miss out on. Consistently blogging has probably been one of the biggest pieces to boosting our SEO.

If you decide to add a blog or if you already have one, there are plenty of steps to take to make sure your blog post is in tiptop shape before you hit publish. Luckily, we have a whole checklist for you in our content upgrade library! Sign up here or below to get access with our super duper top secret password.

P.S. Exciting news! We launched a free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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Squarespace vs. Wordpress: Why We Choose Squarespace

Bold & Pop : Squarespace vs. Wordpress: Why We Choose Squarespace

By now you probably know we have a major crush on Squarespace. Our site and pretty much all our client websites have been built on Squarespace and we just think they are the bomb digs. We get it though. Squarespace isn’t the only awesome platform out there to build websites. Wordpress is also super popular and we’ve seen some gorgeous site built on Wordpress but here’s a look at why we choose Squarespace over Wordpress all day, every day.

Ease of Use

This is probably the number one reason we choose Squarespace and our clients love Squarespace. Their WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) structure gives you a live preview so you can see exactly what your site will look while you’re editing it. Their backend is also really easy to navigate and learn quickly so you can hop right in!

With Wordpress, there is much more of a learning curve. While uploading a template is pretty straightforward, anything else involves more steps. If you want to make edits, you need to do it in the backend then preview the changes on the site. If you want to make additional changes, you need to go back to the backend, make the edits, then preview again and so on. You don’t have the WYSIWYG option like you do with Squarespace.

While this may not seem like a huge deal, it does make a big difference when you are designing a website. Plus, after we create the design of a client website and train them on how to use the platform, they can easily make updates themselves if they want rather than having to contact us.

No Plugins

To add specific functions in Wordpress, you need to install plugins. Good thing: They have plugins for EVERYTHING. Bad thing: They need to be updated.

You are then posed with the question, Do I update them or not? If I don’t, the site will still function but might be a little slower or pose a security risk. If I do, parts of my site might crash or not work properly. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Squarespace requires ZERO updates or plugins. Templates already have the basic tools you need for your website which have been tested and updated by Squarespace’s development team. So unless you have changes to make to your website, there is little-to-no maintenance! And when you’re busy running your biz, that’s music to your ears!

Design Focused

We’re designers. Not developers. While we certainly add custom coding to our Squarespace websites a lot to get them just the way we want, you don’t need to know code to get a beautiful, modern site with Squarespace. Want to add a photo? You can easily add one in the exact spot you want without having to go into the source code like you would in Wordpress.

This way we can focus on what we are good at -- Creating beautifully designed websites and graphics to highlight your business in the best way possible!

Automatically Mobile and SEO Friendly

All of Squarespace’s templates are responsive so they automatically adjust for optimal viewing on mobile, tablet or desktop. They also have the option built right into the dashboard for you to view your site on mobile or tablet as well as desktop so you can easily see it right in the backend as you work on the website design!

This isn’t always the case with Wordpress. Before you purchase a template, you’ll need to make sure it is mobile-friendly.

For SEO, Squarespace allows you to edit your site title and description, add keywords to your headers (H1, H2, H3) and image alt tags. Squarespace also automatically provides a sitemap that you can submit to Google which also helps with your search ranking by allowing Google to crawl your website for keywords.

With Wordpress, you can do all the same but you need to install a plugin. While this plugin scans each page and will provide advice on how to improve your SEO, you still have a plugin.. Which as we already talked about can pose its own issues.

Bold & Pop : Squarespace vs. Wordpress: Why We Choose Squarespace

24/7 Support

Squarespace offers 24/7 support and while we’ve only used this a handful of times, it is nice to have the option if needed, especially for our clients. You can email 24/7 or do a live chat weekdays between 3am to 8pm EST so you know you’ll receive a timely response and help quickly!

Wordpress doesn’t really have a support team like Squarespace and while you can reach out to the template developers themselves, you may not get a timely response like you would with Squarespace.

Overall we’d say Squarespace just makes our lives as designers easier and the lives of our clients easier too! It’s all a personal preference but the less time you have to spend maintaining your website, the more time you have to do what you’re good at -- Running your biz!

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