Search Engine Optimization: Build A Squarespace Website For SEO

 Squarespace SEO - Optimizing your website for search engines

Learn On-Page Search Engine Optimization For A Squarespace Website

Building a Squarespace website with search engine optimization as a priority is critical marketing tactic that helps attract new clients. This article will guide you through the most important on-page SEO techniques and show you how to apply them to a Squarespace website. In it, you will learn why some templates are better than others, why long-tail keywords are important, how to research keywords, and how to format content on your web page for the best SEO results. 

Choosing a Squarespace Template For Search Engine Optimization

The Squarespace website builder is popular with architects, interior designers, design-build construction, and landscape firms because it is designed out of the box to feature portfolios filled with large, beautiful images. After all, the primary top-of-funnel marketing goal for most built environment websites is to get prospective clients viewing your work and enticing them to contact you. In most cases, Squarespace templates are selected for the way they feature portfolios of images and the look of the blog page, but its ability to optimize for search engines should also be a priority in your template choice. After all, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your portfolio looks online if no one ever sees it.

At Means-of-Production, our top-choice Squarespace templates are Brine, Five, and Bedford because they are flexible and potentially fast-loading, with plenty of customization to create a beautiful, well-optimized site. That said, you need to balance your aesthetic choices against your need for optimization.

Meta Descriptions and Squarespace SEO

Much has been written about how Squarespace is bad for SEO because some templates display a pages meta description on the banner images and if you don't want text on your banner you have to go without a meta description. Other "SEO experts" have stated that unlike the Wordpress content management system, Squarespace does not allow you to add meta keywords to your page. It is true that some templates display meta descriptions on banners and their is no place for meta keywords but it does not matter and here's why.

Way back on September 21, 2009 Google announced that meta descriptions and meta keywords do not factor in their ranking algorithms for web search. Based on this, researching and embedding meta keywords is a waste of time but meta descriptions are still important. They show up below your page title in search engine results. They should be used as 160 to 320 characters of compelling advertising copy written to drive traffic to your site. People who see your page in the search results read the meta description and decide whether your page is worthy of a click-through. An attention grabbing meta description has the ability to increase the click-through rate of your organic search results. So, my argument is that if a meta description is important in search engine results pages, why wouldn't you want to reinforce to your visitor why they clicked through in the first place? The page banner is an ideal location for this. After all, you have about 1.5 seconds to hook them with your content. 

There are two additional reasons to see meta descriptions as advertising copy rather than a SEO tactic that directly impacts your online visibility.

  1. In some instances search engines ignore your pages meta description and create their own. Google will override a pages meta description if it does not answer a search engine query adequately and use a snippet from your page.

  2. According to MOZ, If a page is targeting a longtail keyword–three or more search terms– it might be better to let search engines populate the meta description themselves. "When search engines pull together a meta description, they always display the keywords and surrounding phrases that the user has searched for."

If you still don't want your page title and the page description text over your images then you should stick with Brine or choose one from this list Squarespace templates. Many Squarespace templates allow you to write a meta description and then choose to not show it on the banner. Problem solved!

What is a Long-tail Keyword?

A long-tail keyword words or phrases used by customers who are closing in on a point-of-purchase. The customer searching for “farmhouse kitchen renovation company durham nc” knows exactly what they are looking for and is likely more prepared to pay for it than the customer who is searching for “kitchen renovation.” Those qualified searchers are exactly the audience you want to attract to your business.

Long-tail keywords also provide other benefits for search engine optimization. The broadest, most popular keywords in an industry yield results for a huge amount of individual searchers and competition for them is fierce. Because of the high costs to compete, and the scattershot nature of the searchers, the ROI on these search terms isn’t that high. By finding reliable long-tail keywords that are right for you and your niche, you will spend less money to attract a more reliable audience and get more sales.

Keyword Research Tools

There are many tools that can help you find effective keywords. Regardless of which tool you use, these steps can yield better results from your search engine optimization research:

1. Start with a single word -- then, find your niche.

Generating a seed keyword is as simple as describing the product or business you are promoting, for example, “interior design” or “home remodel.” Take that phrase and dig down more specifically into your niche. Do you focus on a particular area or design style? What geographic region do you serve? Think of your audience -- are they more affluent, or do they look for cost-effectiveness? “luxury bathroom design portland oregon” is a much more effective search phrase than “interior design.”

If you’re struggling to get more specific, put your seed keywords into a keyword research tool, and then sort the results by word count. Look at search phrases that are at least three words long, and find ones that apply to your business.

2. See where you -- and your competitors -- already rank.

If your website has been around for a while, you should already organically rank for certain keywords. Some keyword research tools, like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, can give you this information as part of their interface. The “Search Analytics” report in Google Search Console also provides information on your own search rankings.

Use these tools to see what keywords your competitors rank for as well. In particular, look at the long-tail keywords they rank for -- phrases of at least three words. These keywords can be targeted to pull traffic to your site instead.

3. Understand keyword metrics.

When evaluating a keyword, there are two key metrics to examine: volume and clicks. Volume shows how many people are searching for a term, and clicks shows how many people are clicking on the results of their queries. Queries with a high search volume but few click-throughs are essentially worthless for generating web traffic, and should be avoided.

Why Written On Page Content Matters

Your site needs more text, period.

Many businesses with visual portfolios of their work underestimate the value of text on their website. Search engines cannot index images, only the text and metadata around them.

It's not about applying whatever text you want to your page. For search engine optimization, the main assets of text are its quality and relevance. However, long-form content creates an impression of in-depth analysis and thus appears more trustworthy, and research shows pages with more text (600+ words) consistently rank higher in searches. This is especially true in long-tail keyword searches, when users are looking for detailed and comprehensive information.

Page Formatting for SEO:

Your URL, Meta Description, Headings, Keyword Insertion Rate, Alt Tags, and Links

When inserting keywords onto your page, it's important not to overuse them. "Keyword stuffing” is penalized by search engines trying to provide relevant, high-quality content to users. The trick is to apply your keywords naturally and strategically. For an optimal placement strategy, include your keyword:

  • Once in the URL of the page. Make the URL short, static, and human-readable. Go for https://yourwesitename.com/blog/landscape-design-trends instead of https://yourwesitename.com/blog/mky90l3b577mg689. In some rare cases, Squarespace will use a number instead of your page title in your pages URL slug. Be certain to check that this does not happen and change your URL to the title of your article if does not match. 

  • Once in the title tag.

  • Once prominently near the top of the page, in a header tag if possible.

  • At least 2-3 times, including variations, in the body copy. If you have a lot of text, you may want to include it more often.

  • At least once in the alt tag of an image. This will help you rank not only in web search, but also in image search, adding valuable traffic.

  • At least once in the meta description. The meta description is not crawled by engines, but it attracts clicks from searchers reading the results page, which ultimately affects your ranking.

This has it all so you'll probably need to be selective and stick to the on-page suggestions.

Using Google Search Console To Check Your Squarespace Website

After you’ve implemented search engine optimization on your Squarespace site, you can use Google’s Search Console tools to get feedback on your site's performance. To use Google Search Console to improve your rankings:

  1. Set your preferred country. If your site only targets one country, use this flag to ensure Google delivers it to those viewers.

  2. Submit your sitemap. To check Google is crawling -- and ranking -- all of your pages and you don’t have any “orphans,” use the sitemaps tool.

  3. Use the Fetch and Render tool. This tool is used to request that Google’s crawler index your website. 

Google Search Console also provides several kinds of feedback on your site ranking, including:

  • Internal and external pages that link to your sites. This lets you track how many people are pointing to you on the internet and who they are. Use this to measure the success of outreach, social media, and link-building campaigns.

  • Google search analytics. This allows you to see what keyword searchers brought users to your site, and to pull information from that data including click-through rate, impressions, and more. You can combine this with your AdWords data for the most comprehensive understanding of how your site is performing.

Mastering search engine optimization, even in a user-friendly website platform like Squarespace, can be challenging for small businesses doing the work in-house. If you'd like more in-depth advice on best practices for SEO, please download our PDF guide, "Squarespace Website Search Engine Optimization Best Practices" which is step-by-step guide full of useful tips you can put to use immediately to boost customer traffic to your company's website.

Tips From A Squarespace Website Designer

About Means-of-Production

I'm Michael Conway and my firm builds Squarespace websites and writes blog articles for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our copywriting services used to get you found online, educate prospects, and to position your firm as the go-to experts. We write articles SEO as a priority. Contact me for a free video review of your online marketing efforts.