Squarespace SEO Series: How to Optimize your Squarespace Settings for SEO
SEO is an ongoing process and every little bit counts, no matter how inconsequential it might seem at the time. Think of SEO like the building blocks that create a stronger foundation for your website over time. Worth it, am I right?
There are many SEO strategies and approaches (like blogging and connecting your website to Google Search Console) that will have a positive effect on your website's ranking in search results. In this article, we are going to outline the hands-on ways you can set up your Squarespace website for SEO. These are actionable steps you can take (today!) that will improve your website's performance in search results and how it is displayed to visitors on the internet.
SEO is an art, not a science, and it’s one of the most popular topics on my blog. There’s so much to learn about Squarespace SEO which is why I have written about it a lot. Check out my Squarespace SEO Series for more blog posts & video tutorials and get your copy of my Squarespace SEO Checklist for free!
Ready to optimize your Squarespace settings for SEO? Let's get right to it!
Squarespace SEO Series
This article is part of my series on Squarespace SEO. I have so many tips to share on the subject that it would have been crazy to put it all in one article! There are many misconceptions about Squarespace SEO which is why I've dedicate so many posts to this topic. Enjoy!
Click to view all posts in the Squarespace SEO Series
Download my FREE Squarespace SEO Checklist
Site Title and Site Description
The number one requirement to set up your Squarespace website for SEO is to update your Site Title and Site Description, if you haven't already.
As a Squarespace web designer/developer, I (wrongly) assumed that everyone knew about this so please don't make the mistake I see so often where people forget this crucial step! Whether you plan to use your website as a personal blog or as a business site, your Site Title and Site Description should be filled out regardless.
Luckily, this is one of the quickest and most effective SEO settings on the Squarespace backend.
To update your Site Title, make sure that you are logged into your Squarespace site. From the left menu, click Design >> Logo & Title
To update your Site Description, click Settings >> Marketing >> SEO
Within the Squarespace backend, there are a few fields where you can update your location.
This step is particularly important for small businesses that focus on attracting a local audience. For example, if you are a Vancouver-based accountant and you want to work with individuals within your area, you'll want to be sure that the location field indicates the city you live in so that people can find you online.
The first way you can update your Location Settings within Squarespace is by going to Settings >> Business Information >> update physical location information.
The map will always display New York City as the default and that's because Squarespace has it's headquarters there. Lucky champs!
Another place where you can update your location settings is within the settings of each blog post. This might seem like a weird added step but again, if you are trying to attract a local audience, you'll want to be sure to add this to your checklist.
To update the location within a blog post, first you have to open the blog post >> select Location from the options at the top >> fill out the field before you click Save/Update.
For every single page that you create on your Squarespace website, best practice for SEO is to update the Page Description. Search engines (like Google) crawl and index the content of your website (more about that here) and they want to be able to easily know what your website is about and what your content covers.
By adding keywords or keyphrases to the page descriptions within your Squarespace settings, you can help search engines out and they will reward you for it.
To update the page description field, go to Pages > Page Title > click the settings icon next to the title to open the page settings.
Be sure to REPEAT this process on every page of your website for best results. Yes, it will take a bit of effort but it's a one time thing.
Note: Some Squarespace templates will show your page descriptions so be sure to test this out to see if/how it renders on the live site. This Squarespace article tells you how templates use page descriptions so be sure to check it out if you have any further questions.
Don't forget to grab my free Squarespace SEO Settings worksheet by clicking the button at the top or bottom of this article! It'll guide you through the whole process.
Image Name Field
Squarespace makes naming an image so simple that it's a no-brainer for everyone to do if they want to improve their website's SEO. Naming your images within the Squarespace backend is an extra step that you should be doing every single time you upload an image but rest assured, it won't slow you down.
The reason you should be updating the image name field is that many people choose to search Images and filter over to those results specifically. If someone is searching for a topic related to your content & images, there's a higher chance your website will be returned in the search results.
Squarespace lets you upload an image block to your website in several ways:
- on a page
- within a blog post
Before you upload the actual image to your website, use some of the keywords in the image file title. Search engines use that information along with the content of your website to determine search engine results. This means you don't want your file name to be "pic0003.png". Instead, you want to name your image file something along the lines of "John Smith Headshot.png".
Once you've got that set up, it's time to upload the image onto your Squarespace site. When you're inserting an image block, put in your desired keyword or keyphrase in the filename section. There are several options for how this field is displayed or if it is hidden within the Caption section.
If you'd like to read up on this further, Squarespace has a great article that covers formatting your images for display on the web.
Reduce Image Size
While we're on the topic of images, let's not forget to address image size or image load speed. Image load speed not only affects how users interact with your website (spoiler: if content on a page takes too long to load, they'll leave your site), it also plays a role in how your page ranks in search results.
As such, you want to include images on your website that are two things:
- Small in size
- Display correctly and effectively
By reducing your image size, you'll have a positive effect on image load speed and search engines will take that into account when evaluating your website for rankings.
Backlinks aka Incoming Links
I wrote a whole in-depth blog post about backlinks and their benefit for Squarespace SEO be sure to check that out!
Did you know there are three types of links online? They are:
- Links from your site to other content within your site
- Links from your site to content online that exists on other websites
- Links from other websites that link back to your site and content
While all of these are important, Google will reward you when credible sites link back to your site.
This section on backlinks isn't exactly something you can control with regards to how other websites link to your site BUT it is useful to keep in mind when you decide to link to other websites, since the process is still related. When you decide to link to other websites on your own Squarespace site, focus on quality sources whenever possible.
As mentioned, Google likes to see your website being linked to from credible, high-traffic sites. However, this does not mean that you want to see your website linked from just anywhere online. Quality over quantity is the name of the game here. If a shady site that is filled with spam or manipulated link building references your site, this will HURT your rankings (not help it).
Google cares a LOT about the quality of links online. So much so, in fact, that they wrote an entire Quality Guidelines document about the topic. And they aren't messing around. Google announces right from the start:
Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behaviour that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.
If you are a website owner or are running your business' website, this is a major takeaway point. You will benefit from links to your site that come from other busy, high-traffic quality websites. However, don't go around spamming links to your website all over the internet because Goole will notice and will penalize you on the quality of those backlinks.
Responsive Design and Mobile Styles
Last but not least on the subject of Squarespace SEO settings, let's cover responsive designs and mobile styles.
What is response design and mobile styles? Basically it means that the content of your website will adjust to display according to which device it's being viewed on. Remember the old days when you had one website that would display when viewed on desktop and another that was used when viewed on a mobile phone? Those days are generally gone and now we work off one version of a website that automatically adjusts how the content is displayed.
Search engines (like Google) give mobile-optimized sites a higher priority which is excellent news for you as a Squarespace user. Remember that Google wants to return the best information available and that means it will favour content that comes from a site that displays correctly across all devices. Since all Squarespace templates are optimized for mobile, this automatically means that they are search engine friendly.
It also means that no work is required here if your website is powered by Squarespace. Yippee!
SEO is always changing but there are many steps you can take today to improve your Squarespace website's SEO settings. By working your way through each point in the list above, you'll see results in no time! The great news is that some of these changes will take only a few minutes to implement and once they're done, they won't need to be updated again in the future.
No matter what platform your website runs on, SEO is made up of a lot of moving parts and it really is worth taking the time to address each field as best as you can. Squarespace makes this easy so long as you put in the work. Even if you start with just a few minutes a day, your business will thank you when your online presence improves.
Now it's your turn to tell me, have you optimized your Squarespace settings for SEO? Are you like, SEO wtf? Have you already done a few of these tips? Are you interested in improving SEO and growing your Squarespace website?
Leave me a note down in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them. No matter what type of website you have, it will benefit from SEO so I encourage you to start where you are and work on improving your SEO a little bit every week.
If you want more SEO goodness, be sure to check out the other posts in my Squarespace SEO Series.
You can also sign up for my newsletter below, where I often share Squarespace SEO tips, tricks and high-quality exclusive content. i send out emails to my list every week and while I don’t talk about SEO every time, I can guarantee that you’ll still find the newsletter topics interesting, entertaining and worth your time.
Finally, shameless plug : hit me up with any specific questions you have about Squarespace SEO and your website because I’m your girl. You can reach out to me directly if you’re interested in working together on your website and we can talk about whether or not you would be a good fit for my consulting and ongoing services. I can’t take on every request to do SEO consulting but I do pick a few websites and businesses to work with every month and I’d love for you to be one of them.
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