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!
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
Search Engine Description
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:
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).
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!
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
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.
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.