7 Simple Squarespace SEO Tips for Beginners
Squarespace is pretty awesome.
It’s a simple, drag-and-drop website builder that helps small businesses create GREAT-looking websites quickly and without coding knowledge.
But the word around the SEO campfires is that Squarespace is bad for SEO.
I’m going to break down why this ISN’T true and offer up 7 simple Squarespace SEO tips that you can use to immediately boost the visibility of your Squarespace site on Google.
But before we get into that let’s break down what we’re actually talking about when we say SEO, shall we?
What is SEO?
What if I told you that your IDEAL customers are actively looking for you like…all the time?
Day and night.
Every day they’re going to Google and searching for solutions to their problems, just waiting to find you so you can help them.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s the difference between those ideal customers finding you or not.
Search Engine: Google, Yahoo!, Bing
Optimization: maximum efficiency.
Think of SEO this way, Google has a big ass filing cabinet with literally every website in the world (that’s crawlable) in it.
They need some system to organize that filing cabinet and understand who goes where. For example, you won’t find gardening and make-up websites in the same “filing cabinet” folder.
So when people come asking Google for answers to a query, Google can go to the filing cabinet and pull out all the most relevant websites for the searcher.
We can give Google big clues about where to place our website in the filing cabinet to improve our chances of being found.
In a nutshell, SEO is all about making sure your website’s intentions and purpose are properly understood by Google so it can start showing your website to relevant people.
Side note: we usually only mention Google when we talk about SEO but there are other search engines out there like Yahoo! and Bing. But when you’re optimizing your site for Google, you’re also optimizing for the others too.
Related post: SEO Explained Simply
So now that we have more of an idea of what SEO actually means, let’s tackle the big debate over whether or not Squarespace is good for SEO.
Is Squarespace SEO friendly?
But before telling you why Squarespace is SEO friendly, I wanna first talk about who Squarespace is actually for.
Squarespace is a great solution for small business owners who don’t have the budget to get a developer to custom code their website.
You can walk away with a very professional looking website for a TINY fraction of the cost of hiring a developer and a web designer.
Squarespace isn’t for big companies or massive websites that need a lot of customized coding. That’s because Squarespace is a privately owned company, not an open source content management system like WordPress which allows you to do much more customization.
Side note: open source content management systems are used to build websites but they are maintained by their community of developers rather than a single company like Squarespace.
For the average solopreneur and small business owner (like you!), Squarespace gives you more than enough SEO power to rank well in search engines.
Here’s why Squarespace IS SEO Friendly;
- HTTPS Certificates: Squarespace sites all come with a free HTTPS certificate which means your site gets that little lock icon on the address bar. But it’s way more important than that because it means your site is secure and Google gives a slight SEO edge to secure sites.
- Sitemap Generation: A sitemap is like a roadmap of your website. It helps search engines understand your site’s structure and it helps Google better crawl your site. Usually you’d have to get a plugin to generate this for you, or build your own, but Squarespace sites automatically generate one for. Yours will be at yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
- Mobile Friendly: Google is big on mobile friendly sites, especially since they’ve introduced “mobile first” indexing, meaning they will mostly use the mobile version of your content for indexing and ranking. Squarespace templates are all mobile friendly which means your content and images are automatically resized for mobile devices.
- No coding required: this isn’t a direct SEO benefit, but if someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing tries to inject bits of code to their site, they can end up breaking it. Squarespace means you don’t have to worry about accidentally blowing anything up on your site.
- AMP: AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, meaning it’s designed to load very fast on mobile which will give you an extra SEO boost. Squarespace allows you to select this option for your blog posts.
Will you lose some control over your website if you go with Squarespace?
Yes, but for most small business owners you might be happy to let Squarespace do most of the heavy lifting for you.
So, what about these SEO Squarespace tips I’ve been promising you!?
7 Simple Squarespace SEO Tips for Beginners
Squarespace SEO Tip #1: Switch on AMP
Remember waaaay back when I mentioned AMP to make your pages load super fast on mobile? Well Squarespace doesn’t automatically have that option selected; you need to do it yourself.
IMPORTANT: Right now Squarespace only allows blog posts to have AMP, the rest of your pages will be loaded in the standard mobile version.
How to turn on AMP in Squarespace:
- In the Home Menu, click Settings, and then click Blogging.
- Scroll down to Accelerated Mobile Pages.
- Check Use AMP
And you’re done! Your blogs will now load faster in mobile.
How long did that take? 2 minutes?! Let’s move on.
Squarespace SEO Tip #2: Do keyword research
Keywords, or keyphrases, are what people type into Google to find answers to their queries.
Keyword research and optimization is scoping out the best, most relevant keywords for your business and including them in your pages & blog posts.
Let’s say you’re a web designer in Chicago who’s looking for more local clients.
You’d like your website to show up on Google when someone types in “web designer Chicago”, right?
So, you’d make sure that your homepage is using that keyword in things like your title tag and H1.
Brain dump a bunch of potential keywords that you’d love to be found for – think of the most RELEVANT things about your business. Next, use a keyword research tool like Keywords Everywhere to see how difficult those keywords would be to rank for.
The lower the keyword difficulty, the easier it is to rank for and it’d be smart to try and target those keywords instead of super competitive ones.
But keyword research isn’t just about shoehorning keywords into your content everywhere and anywhere (something known as keyword STUFFING).
Learn how to do keyword research and optimize the RIGHT way with my Keyword Research Guide
Squarespace SEO Tip #3: Submit your Sitemap to Google
I mentioned that Squarespace automatically generates your sitemap for you and while that’s an AWESOME bonus for using Squarespace, you’re still gonna want to submit that sitemap to Google.
Submitting your sitemap to Google is like giving the Google bot a little nudge to tell them to go take a look at your site.
It also means that any potential sitemap errors can be found and you can get in touch with Squarespace (although that’s unlikely to happen, don’t worry).
How to submit a sitemap to Google:
- Go to Google Search console (create an account on Google Search Console and connect your website if you haven’t already).
- Go to Sitemaps > Add new sitemaps (you can find this on the left hand side)
- Paste in your sitemap slug (the part that comes after your domain name)
- Click “submit” and then refresh the page
And that’s it!
(I told you these tips would be simple, didn’t I?;))
Squarespace SEO Tip #4: Force HTTPS
As I said above, you want to make sure that the connection to your website is secure. When a website isn’t secured with HTTPS, browsers will flag it to the user as “not secure” which is NOT a good look…
You can secure your Squarespace website in three simple steps;
- Go to your settings > Advanced > SSL
- Select Secure & HSTS secure
Another SEO win, shall we look at some more?
Squarespace SEO Tip #5: only use ONE H1 tag per page/post
A big mistake I see a lot of beginners make is that they use more than one H1 tag in their pages or blog posts and this can hurt your SEO health.
You should only have ONE H1 tag per page/post.
Why you ask?
Because having multiple H1s makes it harder for Google to work out what your page is actually about. You should have your target keyword in your H1 because that sends a strong signal to Google about what the page is about.
But if you’re using MULTIPLE H1s it makes it harder for Google to know what is THE most important thing about your page.
How can you quickly check if you’ve used too many H1 headings on your pages?
You can use a free SEO Site Health checker, paste your URL into it and see if it flags multiple H1s.
Squarespace SEO Tip #6: Optimize your URLs
Optimize your URLs?
For real? That’s a thing?!
Yes, because Google doesn’t like messy, long and irrelevant urls that look like this;
Okay, I exaggerate, but I’ve seen a LOT of blog URLs that look like this:
What’s the problem here?
It isn’t user-friendly, people aren’t likely to remember some random numbers and it also gives Google ZERO info about what CONTENT that URL contains.
You want your URLs to contain your keywords and to have each word separated by a dash ( – ). Having your keyword in the URL is a strong signal to Google about what that page is actually about and is likely to give you a boost in ranking.
Side note: Don’t worry about optimizing your URLs for keywords for things like contact and about pages though.
How to optimize your URLs in Squarespace
- Optimize your page URLs in Squarespace
- Head to your Pages panel
- Click on the Settings icon (it looks like a little cog)
- Go to URL slug
- Write in a clear and concise URL slug like “contact” or “web-design-services-chicago”
- Optimize your blog post URLs
- Go to Settings > Blogging
- Change your Post URL Title to %t which will automatically use your blog post’s title as the URL slug (so make sure your blog post titles are properly optimized too!)
Now your URLs will be more search engine (and human) friendly.
Doing this on content that’s already created may lead to 404 errors so you need to make sure that you’re setting up 301 redirects to the new URLs.
Here’s a video I made on how to create 301 redirects on Squarespace
Squarespace SEO Tip #7: Optimize your Titles and Meta descriptions
The reason you’ll do your keyword research is so you can actually go in and start optimizing your content.
The quickest keyword wins you can get for your site is by optimizing your page/blog post titles and meta descriptions with your target keyword.
Important! Don’t optimize multiple pages for the SAME keyword. This is known as keyword cannibalization and it will actually HURT your SEO.
What’s written in your page’s title tags sends a strong signal to Google about what your content is about so make sure you’re using that space to target your chosen keyword.
While meta-descriptions aren’t a ranking factor, they work as mini-ads to searchers and should tempt them to click.
By having a relevant keyword in the meta description you can make it clear that within your content you’re going to answer their question and give them the info they really need.
Check out this video I did on How to Update Squarespace SEO Titles & Meta Descriptions
Summary: How to Quickly Improve your Squarespace Site’s SEO
- Switch on AMP for your blog posts
This will help them load faster on mobile devices
- Do keyword research
Use a tool like Keywords Everywhere to help you find the best keywords for your pages and content
- Submit your sitemap to Google
This helps Google find your site and can alert you to any problems with your sitemap
- Force HTTPS
This makes your site secure and search engines give a boost to secure sites
- One use 1 H1 tag per post/page
That way Google understands what your content is really about
- Optimize your URLs
Having your keyword in your URL can boost ranking
- Optimize your SEO titles and meta descriptions
Your title tag is an important factor for ranking so make sure you use your target keyword there
Want a complete SEO Roadmap to get your Squarespace SEO in shape?
I hope by now you’re revving to go and implement these SEO tips on your Squarespace site. But don’t rush off without grabbing your FREE SEO Roadmap.
It’s my 6-step process to improving your SEO, getting your content on Google, and increasing your website traffic to skyrocket your sales.
See you on page #1 😉