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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. Wix: How Do They Measure Up?

Bold & Pop : Squarespace vs. Wix: How Do They Measure Up?

We've already shared our thoughts on why we choose Squarespace over Wordpress all day everyday but we’ve seen a lot of talk lately comparing Squarespace and Wix. I’m sure you can already guess we’d still pick Squarespace because we’re big fan girls.. And we have our reasons why! But since this seems to be a hot topic right now, we’re here to break down the pros and cons of both platforms for you to make the best decision for your brand. Let’s get to it!

Templates

When it comes to comparing Wix and Squarespace, I think this is the area that may be the biggest difference. Since both are template based platforms, choosing a template to customize to fit your brand will be your top priority.

The biggest differences lie in the number of templates each offers and changing templates at a later date. So let’s breakdown each of these two differences and compare the two platforms on each!

Number of templates: Wix has Squarespace beat on this front by the numbers. Squarespace has a little over 40 templates where Wix has something like 500 templates to choose from. Whoa is right! But here’s the thing… are more options always better? I know personally I get overwhelmed with too many options but other people love to have tons of options so this might come down to a personal preference.

Both platforms have professional looking templates but we prefer Squarespace’s templates and features. They simply appear more polished and modern to us. While there’s less templates to choose from on Squarespace, you can tell a lot of time has been put into creating each template making them better quality templates in our opinion.

Switching templates: So what happens when you’re looking to refresh or rebrand your website as you grow? This may require a new template. Squarespace allows you to change your template at any time without losing any of your site’s content. The only things that don't transfer over are the adjustments you made in your Style Editor or any custom coding you added in so make sure you save that before you switch!

To change templates in Wix, you need to build a new site. Your content won’t transfer over unfortunately. Because of this, it might be more difficult to grow with your website on Wix since adjustments are often made to websites as brands evolve.

Responsiveness

Your website's responsiveness is how it adjusts from various screen sizes including desktop sizes, tablets and mobile phones. Since a growing number of people (seriously like 40-50%) browse sites on their phones now, this is an extremely important aspect of your website you need to pay particular attention to.

All of Squarespace’s templates are automatically responsive. Some of the templates allow you to make adjustments to your mobile site in the Style Editor but for the most part this is very hands-off and you really don’t have to think of it too much. You will want to check your mobile site to make sure everything is laid out properly (text is with the correct image for example) but images, text, etc. will all be resized for optimal mobile viewing automatically. 

Wix templates aren’t necessarily responsive but you can create a mobile version of your website through their platform. It’s just not an automatic adjustment like Squarespace. However, because of this, you have a little more control over how your site will look on mobile since there’s a little more flexibility in the mobile design editor on Wix.

Customization

Each platform is template based so to really make your website fit your brand and feel unique you’ll want to have the ability to customize your templates. Wix is a true drag and drop program which allows you to place content anywhere on the site you’d like. Squarespace is similar but you are a little limited in where you can place certain content.

However, there are a few benefits that Squarespace has which mainly lies in their built-in features and integrations. They are rich and robust in this area making it seriously easy to customize and integrate other systems into your website.

One other area of customization is each platform’s coding abilities. This might not apply to everyone if you’re not familiar or comfortable with coding but each platform allows for embedded HTML. However, you have more limited coding abilities in Wix. If for whatever reason you want to add something that can’t be easily dragged and dropped and/or need to hire a designer, you/they may not be able to do what you’d like without that coding ability.

Pricing

I know most people, especially small businesses and startups, make decisions based off their budgets, meaning a lot of people choose the least expensive option. This is totally fine but make sure you’re comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges!

Wix is generally less expensive but you don’t necessarily get the value you get with Squarespace. Squarespace offers unlimited bandwidth with all their plans while Wix only has a few plans offering unlimited bandwidth. This might not be a big deal to you now but it is something to consider for long-term growth. You also receive more features with Squarespace plans as well as 24/7 support (more on that next).

So this strictly might come down to your budget but keep your long-term growth in mind when comparing the plans on each platform.

Support

If you’re building or managing your website yourself, the support you receive from each platform will be important since, hey, if something doesn’t work and you can’t figure out the solution, you’re going to need support from someone that knows their stuff!

For the most part, Wix and Squarespace both have really great support. The main difference is Wix doesn’t have the live chat option that Squarespace does and Squarespace also has a 24/7 email response team. This means you’ll likely receive a quicker response from Squarespace, especially if it’s after hours.

And there you have it… The biggest selling points from each platform compared for you. While each has their benefits and downfalls, it really comes down to what fits best for you. We’ll always choose Squarespace but if you feel Wix is a better option for you then go for it! And if you’re undecided… Try them both! Wix is free to signup and Squarespace has a 14-day free trial. This way you can get a feel for both and make a decision from there! Whoop whoop! 

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

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4 Ways to Use Squarespace Cover Pages

Bold & Pop : 4 Ways to Use Squarespace Cover Pages

We have another Squarespace feature for you! Today we're talking all about Cover Pages, which are a versatile and totally awesome feature offered on the platform. Cover pages are simple one-page websites that are used to direct the focus on your audience on one thing. You can use them when you're working on website updates, as opt-ins, or as a landing page. The really awesome part about cover pages on Squarespace too is that they have a number of templates available just for this reason! So you can easily pick out a template, add in your text and features and you'll be ready to roll. So how do we take advantage of this feature? Here are 4 different ways you can use them for your website.

Under Construction Pages

One of the most common reasons we use cover pages for our clients is when we’re working on website updates. If we’re doing a full makeover we’ll usually design a landing page for our clients so that they can let their audience know that they’re in the midst of website updates and offer call-to-actions for where they can keep up with them in the meantime. By making your cover page the homepage, this will allow you to keep your website up while you work on edits behind the scenes.

Here's an example of a cover page that we recently created for a project we're working on with the Harlem EatUp! Foundation. They have a few key events happening during the time we're building the website so we were able to utilize the cover page feature to highlight each.

Bold & Pop : 4 Ways to Use Squarespace Cover Pages

Simple Landing Pages

Another option is utilizing the feature for a temporary website. Maybe you’re working on a project behind the scenes and won’t be launching a full website for awhile but you want a place to direct your audience. Ding, ding, ding, use a cover page! This allows you to hype your project prior to launch and include call-to-actions like adding your newsletter sign-up, having a form, or contact option.

Here’s an example of a “coming soon” cover page we worked on with an exciting international lifestyle brand to give you an idea of what you could do.

Bold & Pop : 4 Ways to Use Squarespace Cover Pages

Opt-in Pages

Another really great use for cover pages is to use them as opt-in pages. Whether you’re promoting a new program, service or freebie, a cover page might be a great option. We really love that it's right built in and we don't have to use another service too! Here's a look at one that we have set-up that we can direct people for signing up for our newsletter.

Bold & Pop : 4 Ways to Use Squarespace Cover Pages

Direct your Audience

Want to direct your audience to different parts of your website depending on their needs? If you offer consulting and e-courses and want to streamline your user experience this could be a great option for you. You can also use the feature to create a simply homepage that showcases buttons that will lead your audience to the pages that are most applicable for them.

Just another reason why we love Squarespace so much! Are you using the feature creatively? We'd love to hear what you're doing. Share with us in the comments.

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

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