Optimize Your Website With Squarespace's Newest SEO Features
SEO Is one of those subjects most people avoid (I used to be one of them), but it’s important to set yourself up for success with your website so it can continue to work behind the scenes for you instead of continuously turning your wheels to get views. SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and essentially sets your website up to be read by Google and other search engines.
Up until the end of last year, SEO features were available on Squarespace, but you needed to know exactly what to do in order to correctly optimize using search engine descriptions, image file names, custom URLs, and adding tags and categories to pages and posts. Now that this has been updated on the platform, Squarespace introduced an entire section dedicated to SEO to help you in every step of the way:
SEO Title: The titles that appear in search results and browser tabs
SEO Description: Short and readable text (50-300 characters) that describes the page content
Search Engine Preview: How that page will show up on a search engine
Ability To Hide Pages From Search Engines: This hides the page from search engines but still leaves it available to access if you have the URL
If you’re new to SEO optimization, this may look a little daunting but I promise that it will get easier with practice. Once you start to see the results roll in (about 4-6 months), you’ll really love it! Basically, the new update allows you to better utilize keywords and have a stronger understanding of something you may be missing that could benefit your online discovery. Additionally, Squarespace actually put together this awesome checklist for you that’s a comprehensive look into all of the ways you can optimize your SEO on their platform. I’ll highlight a few of the best practices below:
Make sure the content on your site (this includes the page titles and descriptions found in the settings of each page) match the words that people would be using in a search engine to find your site. If you’re feeling stuck, you can find more help here on what figuring out what keywords you should be using.
Add Alt Text and Proper File Names to Images
When a search engine scans your site, it can’t see pictures—it can only read words. So, make sure that you’re giving your images proper alt text and file names to help the search engine understand what is on the page. This is also a main reason I try to deter my clients from using text within images—keeping words as actual text on your website is always your best option.
Link to Other Pages + Content on Your Site
Linking content from within your site (this is called “internal linking”) helps search engines figure out the structure of your site, establishing a hierarchy and essentially telling the search engine which content is related to each other.
Add Tags + Categories When Possible
On Squarespace, you can add tags and categories to blog posts, products, events and gallery images, helping organize and pair relevant content with one another. Adding tags + categories not only helps you organize items but also gives you the capability to infuse more of those relevant keywords into your site. Here are some important tips I like to tell my clients when it comes to adding in tags and categories:
Keep tags under 80 characters
Keep categories under 25 characters
Both tags and categories are case-sensitive
Although there is no limit to how many tags and categories you can add, try to stick to one category and multiple tags. Categories should be viewed as the main “content buckets” (For example, on a blog you would categorize posts under “Design, Business Tips, Client Work, etc). Tags should be viewed almost as hashtags for the content, so add as many as you’d like that are applicable to the content they’re attached to. For example, on this blog post, I’ll add tags such as “Squarespace SEO, Best SEO Practices and New Squarespace Features.”
Add SEO Descriptions to Pages
On each page, make sure you add a keyword-rich description to it (without “keyword stuffing,” or overloading it with them). Keep the descriptions between 50-300 characters, focusing on just a few keywords and written in a way that is clear. When trying to figure out what to say, think about what visitors would be searching for and how you can help solve whatever problems they may be facing.
Update your Website Content Regularly
Search engines favor relevant content, and when your site is regularly updated, it’s viewed as more relevant than a site that hasn’t added in new content in months. The easiest way to do this is with a blog, adding in new products, and keeping your portfolio fresh.
The reason you want to optimize your website as much as possible is to increase your discovery rates online. If you’re putting in work, creating content and offering services, you want people to see it! By using keywords and the other tips I mentioned above, you’ll be able to rank higher in search engines when people are looking for exactly what you can offer them. Once you feel great about your site’s optimization, here are a few other ways you can control discovery online that will aid in your SEO on a long-term level:
Utilize Social Media
The larger number of quality followers you have, the better chance you have that they will share your content, increasing the potential number of people that will see your content. Because of this, make sure you create high-quality content that includes a link back to your website.
Post on Question-and-Answer Sites
If you know what you’re talking about when it comes to the industry your business is in, share the knowledge! The more you establish yourself as valuable resource, the more people will trust in you and look to you for guidance. If someone has a question (related to your business’ industry), write out a quality and non-spammy answer that organically links to your site whenever possible. This can also be done in relevant Facebook groups!
Utilize Review Sites and Testimonials
Business reviews and testimonials do more than just offer potential customers insight into your business. Review sites like Yelp and Facebook can help drive traffic to your site while simultaneously increasing visitor’s views of you.
SEO can be intimidating, I know. But my biggest piece of advice would be to trust the process—don’t try to do it all at once! SEO is not a one-and-done strategy, and the more you focus on it, the more it will benefit your business down the road. Try taking it one page at a time, then one blog post at a time and you’ll eventually be right where you want to be!