Some people give keynote presentations about SEO. But if you’re building your first website for your business or art, you don’t need to think technical. You need simplicity.
Here are the only two things you need to know:
- The Things to Set and Forget — specific settings to change once (and forget about).
- The ongoing activities you will have to engage in regularly.
The good news is that Squarespace is very SEO friendly, right out of the box!
We recommend some basic tweaks to your settings to improve the way your site communicates to Google. This list is not yet comprehensive, but includes the basic things to look out for when creating a new site, or improving SEO on an existing site.
Remember, content is king! The best way to increase your search rankings is to produce regular and useful content on your website. Google knows when people read it and link to you!
Things to set & forget
Squarespace Default Settings to Change
The following submenus are listed within the Squarespace Settings menu. It is important to fill out each of these settings to establish a baseline of information about your website for search engines to display.
Pages > Page Settings > URL Slug
Make sure this is legible and short! You can access this setting by clicking on the Gear Icon next to the page name.
Design > Logo & Title
- Using keywords in your site title can help with location-specific SEO
- ex: Acadiana Garage Doors | Lafayette, Louisiana
Settings > Marketing > SEO
- Fill out Search Engine Description
- Note: this doesn’t increase your search rank, but can help encourage people to click on your site, effectively getting you a higher conversion rate.
Settings > Business Information
- Make sure your (NAPE) Name, Address, Phone, and Email are consistent throughout your website.
- Set your location & business hours so that that Google will crawl this and add it to your search results.
Settings > Domains
- Change Built-in Domain to match business name (i.e. change from “your-name-p7d3.squarespace.com” to “business-name.squarespace.com”
- If you have a Custom Domain, make it the primary domain.
Settings > Connected Accounts
- Create & fill out as many social media accounts as you can. This is great “low-hanging fruit,” i.e. small things you can do to get a quick boost in your rankings. Social media sites typically rank well on search engines because they’re highly trusted and active websites.
- Note: put the URL of your website in your social media accounts’ profile. These are called backlinks and act as “votes of confidence” for your site, which will help rankings.
Settings > Blogging
- Change the default blog permalinks to just contain “TITLE”
- Remove all of the superfluous date info (day/month/year) from this field, Google doesn’t like it.
Ongoing activities to do
This part is much harder and more time consuming. After establishing the baseline information, the two main contributing factors to search rankings are:
- Backlinks to your website
- How much relevant content you produce
Simply put, backlinks are considered “votes of confidence” from one website to another. If the New York Times wrote an article on “The Evolution of Web Design” and mentioned Sixty with a link to our homepage, that would essentially tell Google that they believe we are experts on the subject. Google would then factor that into their algorithm and increase our rankings on keywords related to “web design.”
Sites with higher authority lend more weight with their recommendations.
After picking the low-hanging fruit by filling out profiles on social media site and business listings (if you don’t have these filled out, stop right now and do it!), backlinks become more difficult to acquire.
If your business has a new product or a noteworthy innovation, try and get mentioned in the local news or on a blog—seriously, just find the relevant email address and just “cold email” them.
Press releases are great ways to get some circulation as well. If you engage with other leaders in your field, perhaps you can write a guest post on their blog.
The other effective strategy to improve SEO is content creation. If you’re consistently writing quality, original content that is pertinent to your industry, search engines will see your website as more active.
Active sites are typically more up-to-date and thus more helpful for viewers, thus the SEO bump you’ll receive from producing more regular content.
Remember, Google’s goal is to provide the best results for users’ search terms. So write your content for other humans to read, not robots (i.e. use natural language and don’t overdo it on keyword stuffing).
Bonus: Page Content Best Practices
Image alt tags
Use them! When you embed images into your Squarespace site, click on the image to edit and a dialog box will pop up. Write a short description of your image in the input field next to “filename.” This will help your images appear in Google Image search, increasing the likelihood that searchers find your website.
Make sure you are utilizing the built-in hierarchy tools (h1, h2, h3, body) and have natural language content on each of your pages for search engines to read & index.
We also wrote an article on important principles of Squarespace web design to keep top of mind.
Submit sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools
Google will be able to crawl your site better and display the right information if you submit updated sitemap.
Want a professional to take the reins for you?
You can find a Squarespace SEO expert through Sixty for a full SEO audit or to tackle a small task like adding alt tags to images—or anything in between!