DIY SEO with Squarespace
Squarespace has been around for over a decade, and now has over 1 million paying users. This means that there are over a million people who are happy about the product Squarespace provides. This CMS is known for rich imagery, designer quality templates, mobile responsive design and a variety of styles to customize your website.
Like WordPress, Squarespace’s popularity continues to grow. In fact, it’s actually one of the fastest growing CMS platforms after WordPress and Shopify. There are more SEO guides for WordPress, and most SEO experts would rather do SEO on WordPress than on Squarespace, but I personally do not think that you can compare it with WordPress since each has its own niche and customizations.
Since my friend needed some help with his Squarespace SEO, this article is dedicated for those who wants to know how it stands on its own, out of the box and what you can do to improve your SEO. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done - there’s just limited information regarding how to do SEO with Squarespace. Fortunately, WooRank is here to help!
Whether you use Squarespace for a website or online store you want to build, there are good things about using Squarespace, especially compared to other DIY website options.
Squarespace vs. WordPress Out of the Box
The load time is fast right out of the box, compared to going through WordPress and finding the right hosting server and plans. Speed matters in SEO and you can mark this off your checklist using WooRank review:
Mobile compatibility, viewport and friendliness are all good to go and the font size for Squarespace is preloaded via pixels rather than size, so it’s legible across the board. Another one to check off your SEO audit list.
Although mobile speed does need some work. You can most likely use CDN like Cloudflare that can help fix some of the mobile speed issues.
You can worry about your speed since it is optimized out of the box compared to WordPress.
Squarespace and SSL Certificates
Squarespace offers SSL certificates for their domains and even third party domains connected to a site. The SSL certificates are absolutely free. With an SSL, you are assured of security, privacy, and the integrity of your user’s personal information.
With out-of-the-box SEO ready and templates to help business owner create a site that’s elegant and stunning, we’ve already checked some off our SEO list to get started with optimizing your site.
DIY SEO for Squarespace
One of the most impressive things about Squarespace is that it has inbuilt SEO targeting features to help you increase your site’s rank in search results and online visibility. We will look at these first before diving into how to do SEO for Squarespace websites.
When I first reviewed my friend’s site with WooRank, it had a score of 49.9 without any SEO optimization.
After implementing few changes, and one week of nonstop SEO optimization to the site, the score for the site became 60.3. I am still trying to improve his site but it just shows you that the implementation does work.
To help you see what I was working with, here is a screenshot and a link to the site:
This site is using Squarespace’s Supply Template. There’s not much room for text, since the site is visually appealing. We had to work with the Site Title, Tagline and Navigation. You can improve lot more if you have more context on your homepage to optimize your site.
But first, you’ll want to select the type of website you’re creating by selecting Business, Commerce, NonProfit or Personal under Settings>Basic Information.
Whether this helps Google identify what type of site it is or not, when inspecting the elements of the site, there was no indication:
For the sake of it being there, might as well select the type of site. Who knows when this could come into play?
We had to play around with words that would fit the template, as it would have made the left sidebar navigation static versus scrolling up and down.
Pretty straightforward in adding your meta description. All you have to do is go to Settings>>SEO and add your description there.
We added our 3 top competitors to our WooRank audit and they’ve beaten us with more keywords consistency that are being shown on their home page URL.
Titles and navigation on Squarespace
You’ll notice that the site title shows up as the
[<h1>](https://lingo.woorank.com/vocabulary/h1-tag/). As for your navigation menu, that text won’t be added as HTML headings. It does however, keep your page consistent with relevant keywords
Product description on Squarespace
The usability in creating a product page is definitely one of Squarespace’s best features, and before we get into this one issue, let’s go over some content generation ideas for your product page to help with your SEO optimization.
Thin content and tagging products on Squarespace
For an eCommerce site there are multiple ways to add keyword relevance to each page such as posts about those products, reviews, video reviews or other related articles. Content for each product page might seem thin as shown in the screenshot below:
Goldx.us product pages have the following:
Brief (one sentence or two) description.
Refund and Terms and Condition
There are other ways to increase content. As mentioned previously, you’ll also want to write quality descriptive content by creating a persona for that specific product.
Avoid using the product descriptions from the manufacturers. Most specifications are not written in a way that sells and they are used across the web by other sites selling the same product. Use this opportunity to add some unique content here as well to pitch your persona.
Here are some tips to help you better optimize your product pages
Us model numbers and brand names in titles and headers
Use optimized alt text for your images
Don’t stuff keywords!
If you provide video, add text descriptions or transcripts
Here’s a sample of Goldx.us product description. It’s simple and needs more content for value and SEO optimization.
Here’s what you need to understand about Squarespace description section of your product page. If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll see the Title, the H2 description (just below the price) and a brief description and the specifications. There is no way to add to the description unless you use "Additional Info".
However, these descriptions on the product page are hidden behind the "Additional Info +" link:
Unfortunately, Squarespace does not have a feature where they have a dedicated meta description input for you to fill out, so you could end up having your whole product description shown in the Google SERP.
This doesn’t look nice and doesn’t have room for call to action. However, if you have video content and quality content, you can be able to add the specification and refunds and terms condition in the additional info field.
Image alt text on Squarespace
Squarespace makes it easy to add image meta data (what they call it) tags for each images.
You can access the Image Meta Data input field by going to your product page and edit the product page. The gear should appear on the picture and you’ll be able to enter your alt text there (screenshot below):
You can also add the tagging feature to make it easier for search engine bots to crawl and index your site. This helps to improve ranking in search results.
Here are other instructions regarding adding alt text images directly into any of these areas (provided by Squarespace):
Automatic redirects on Squarespace
Squarespace protects its users from penalties that may arise from duplicate content. The CMS platform does this by automatically redirecting traffic to a primary URL if you have multiple. Usually, to fix this problem on other CMS platforms, you need to use "rel=canonical" tags. You don’t have to worry about those for now, as Squarespace has already done the hard job for you.
Permalinks on Squarespace is too easy
A permalink is the part of the URL that you assign a blog post or a product page. It usually comes after the domain in the URL. See the image below. For instance, if you add a product about "Barber Pendant", the part of the blog post URL that reads “/barber-pendant-gold-diamond” is the permalink.
It is better to change your permalink structure as soon as you are done building your site on Squarespace. If you started posting on your site before changing the permalink structure, changing them now may make Google’s bots to see the old content as new, causing Google to recrawl and reindex the page. It may be best to only change the new posts so as not to have to build your content’s traffic from scratch.
Better still, this will avoid duplicate content issues caused by the new permalink structures. This issue has seen websites get heavily penalized by Google.
With Squarespace, permalinks are automated based on the title, along with weird cryptic numbers and letters. If the url of your product shows up as:
you’ll want to change it to:
to add relevant keywords to your product URLs.
If you want to add additional keywords to each product page, such as the main products, you can use Item Title Format to include the main product to go along with your title.
Add | to separate the main product title with the product’s name:
Here is the before and after of how it will look like via Google Serp or other search engines:
Social media account for your Squarespace site
With Squarespace, it’s easy to add your social media account, but Google might not detect them based on their out of the box approach. You’ll need to add schema.org metadata to your site, so I used WooRank Metadata Tool and added social media links so that it’s easier for bots to detect if the site is associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Yelp and Foursquare.
You can go to your homepage and click on Settings located here:
Then click on Advanced and paste in the code generated by the Metadata Tool and your social media accounts are now associated with your site!
Squarespace SEO - DIYed!
Off-page SEO, link building citations and backlinks, isn’t depending on your website CMS or publishing platform. Don’t believe in any SEO Expert telling you otherwise. You can read more on how long it will take for your backlink to be indexed.
Using the above guide, you can now tweak the SEO that’s covered by the Squarespace CMS platform, ignore what’s already been taken care of out of the box and focus on what remains undone.
When building your new ecommerce site or improving the optimization for your existing site, sign up with WooRank to audit your SEO today.