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Set up Your Website for Success with SEO

You’ve probably heard of the Squarespace website builder platform if you’ve ever built a website. Many small businesses have switched to Squarespace to manage their websites without having to pay for a website maintenance plan or a website retainer package.

I’m so fond of Squarespace that I’ve built my entire company around it! Not only is Squarespace easy to use, but it’s a solid choice for small businesses who want to leverage their site to show up in search results utilizing SEO (Search Engine Optimization). 

SEO is Not Magic

First of all, SEO is not magic. It’s a process for helping your website show up higher in search results on Google or any search engine results pages (SERPs). While it’s true that Squarespace doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a platform like WordPress, it can be the right platform for many small businesses because it’s much simpler to use and maintain. 

Squarespace has some important SEO settings baked right into the platform, so you don’t have to worry about setting them up yourself:

  • SSL certificates. These are automatically generated by Squarespace, so you don’t have to pay your domain registrar or another third party to ensure your website is secure.
  • Mobile responsiveness. Squarespace offers a built-in responsive design that automatically resizes your content and images for different sized displays, providing a consistently good user experience across desktop, tablet and mobile views.
  • Site map. Squarespace provides a site map for you, a file that lists all the pages on your site and details the relationships between them. We’ll cover how to use your sitemap in offsite SEO later in this article.
  • AMP. You can toggle on accelerated mobile pages for your blog with one click, creating fast-loading blog posts for mobile users.
  • Automatic redirects. If you have multiple domain names for one website, Squarespace automatically redirects users to the primary domain and keeps it clean for search engines.

The most important parts of search engine optimization are keyword research and content strategy. If you do those steps well, the specific platform you’re using is much less important. Squarespace sites can rank very high in search results if you follow best practices for onsite and offsite SEO. 

Onsite SEO

Onsite SEO is the process of making your website friendly for search engines. This mainly entails letting search engines know what your website is about, as well as making it easy for visitors to use. 

In Squarespace, here are six specific tweaks that can have big SEO payoffs:

    1. Optimize your images. For every image you add to your website, you want to make sure you’ve optimized it both for file size and file name. Images with smaller file sizes load faster for a better user experience and Google uses page load time as a ranking metric. Providing a relevant file name also helps Google understand what the image is (because it can’t see pictures) and can also provide additional context about your website.
      Pro Tip: Remember to set alt text (alternative text) so search engines and anyone using a screen reader can understand what your images represent.
    2. Set your site titles and page titles wisely and use your keywords. These titles, along with site and page meta descriptions, let Google know exactly what your website is about. 
    3. Use Heading Tags to feature keywords and to help make your page more readable and scannable.
    4. Keep your site tidy. Delete or disable any pages you don’t want search engines to find. 
    5. Regularly update your website with valuable content. A blog is great for this!
    6. Redirect any updated URLs. Squarespace makes it easy to pass on an old page’s search ranking to a new page.

Offsite SEO

Offsite SEO is a series of actions you take outside of your website to boost your ranking on SERPs by showing your authority and popularity. This is independent of the website platform (so you should take these steps whether you are using WordPress, Squarespace or another website builder) and works hand in hand with onsite SEO to make your website easier to find. 

Here are four simple ways to get started with offsite SEO:

  • Verify your website with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools, letting those search engines know your site exists and encouraging them to crawl it.
  • Submit your sitemap to Google and Bing. This helps search engines understand your site structure and makes sure they don’t miss any pages. 
  • Register your website with Google My Business. This helps your visibility in local search results and I’ve found that as I receive and respond to reviews there, it helps my overall SEO as well.
  • Get backlinks and traffic to your website. If other sites link to your site, that’s essentially a vote of confidence for your website. Pages with a higher number of inbound links tend to have higher search rankings. Start by sharing your website pages on social media and getting listed in directories and then consider other ways to get backlinks, like guest blogging opportunities. Use HoneyBook‘s client management software for small businesses to embed your contact forms directly on your website, then share that link with prospective clients for an additional traffic boost.

Squarespace SEO

Squarespace SEO (as any website’s SEO) is only as good as the work you put into it. If you have a basic understanding of SEO or you are willing to learn, Squarespace can perform very well in SERPs and help your website rise to the top of the crowd. This is a great choice if you’re looking for a website platform that you can edit and update yourself.

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