After publicly making the switch to Squarespace, one of the main questions I received was, “I’ve been thinking about switching, but I heard Squarespace’s SEO is not as good as WordPress. Is this true?”. As a preface to this post, I am not an SEO expert, nor am I an expert on Google or Squarespace. I am just a regular blogger, with average SEO knowledge in relation to blogging, but these are my findings, opinions, and tips when it comes to using Squarespace and maximizing SEO, and the information I've found regarding the great Squarespace vs. WordPress SEO debate.
First off, we should chat a little about what SEO is. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and utilizing it correctly will help your website rank preferably on the first page or two on a search engine when someone searches your intended keywords. For example, I used to be a family photographer in Portland, OR, and I wanted people to find me when they searched “Portland OR Family Photographer”, so I would use those keywords in my image file names, my blog post titles, and in many other places (more examples to come). Squarespace has plenty of ways to utilize SEO best practices, it’s just all about knowing where and how to use them.
In my opinion, Squarespace’s mobile responsiveness dominates WordPress’, especially when comparing with the theme I used (ProPhoto). While ProPhoto is currently working on an updated that is said to have better mobile responsiveness, it’s current version is pitiful. Because Google ranks websites with better mobile optimization on a higher priority, my old website was not getting the traffic I wanted from mobile searches. With mobile browsing being at an all-time high, I personally feel that mobile optimization is the most important aspect in terms of SEO. You don’t have to do anything to optimize your website for mobile as Squarespace has already done the hard work for you.
SEARCH ENGINE DESCRIPTION
You can edit the description of your website, which shows up in search engine results under your site title. If you keep this blank, Google with grab the text that is on your home page. You can see that my site description is my menu links, and a paragraph from my homepage.
To change or update your site’s description, go to your main dashboard and choose Settings, scroll down to Website and click Marketing. Once open, choose SEO. You can change your description, and your site titles there as well. I opted to keep my title’s the same.
I decided to override the menu links and homepage text by writing out my own description, and using my keywords. These changes may take a few days to update.
In addition to being able to edit your site’s description, you can also add descriptions to each individual page on your website. In this example, my goal is to show up in search engine results for “free desktop wallpaper quote” searches. You can see I used each keyword, but created a few sentences from them. You can do this on any page you wish, and personalize it to each page. This is especially useful on product or service pages if you offer them.
To edit a page's description, hover over the page and click on the gear icon to open the settings. Scroll down and you will see the area to enter the page's description.
Most of us are familiar with the benefits of blogging in terms of SEO. Here are places that you can optimize your SEO keywords within a blog post on Squarespace. A single blog post has so many areas to add keywords. My favorites are the blog post title, the first paragraph of a post (and even better-the first sentence), and the tags & categories.
You can also add keywords within an image. When on WordPress, you alter the “alt text”, but within Squarespace, it is called the Filename. I typically put my blog post title there for two reasons. First, it’s the text that is auto-populated in the caption within Pinterest when someone pins that image. And second, the blog post is already filled with my intended keywords for that post.
Believe it or not, these are only a few of the ways that Squarespace helps it’s user’s get the maximum benefits from SEO. How do you get the most out of Squarespace in terms of SEO? There are tons of other articles out there about Squarespace and SEO. Here are a few of my favorites on the subject: