How to Optimize Your Website for SEO

The decision to create your own website is a big one. There’s a lot to consider, and there’s a lot of preparation involved. Once you’ve taken the steps necessary and created your blog or website, there are still a few more things to learn. Thankfully, Squarespace is here to help. With their easy-to-use platform, your website will be running smoothly in no time.

One of the most important facets of your new website is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Why is SEO so important? It’s the best way to attract new viewers (which then become new customers). When your site is easily viewable and accessible, you’ll get new unique visitors all the time.

According to Squarespace, SEO is the process of improving your site’s ranking in search results. What factors search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use to rank sites are unfortunately (and frustratingly!) kept secret and change frequently, but (thankfully) Squarespace builds all known SEO best practices into every single one of their sites.

Still not sure what all of this means? Fear not! We’re here to teach you exactly how Squarespace can help you how to optimize your site for SEO.

TIP: Use the coupon code “EVERYGIRL” for 10% off your first Squarespace purchase!

 

Terminology to Know

 

  • AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages create lightweight versions of web pages to help them load faster on a mobile device. AMP works with Google to prioritize results in mobile searches. A faster loading site means people are more likely to stay on your page — how fast have you clicked away when a site doesn’t load within two minutes? Exactly.

 

  • SEO ranking: a website’s placement on a search engine results page (How far down is your site on the results page? The closer it is to the top, the more clicks. The more clicks, the more views. Hooray!)

 

  • Sitemap.xml: a list of URLs on a site that tells search engines about the structure of its content. (Your Squarespace site comes with a site map using the .xml format, so you don’t need to create one manually. It includes the URLs for all pages on your site and image metadata for SEO-friendly indexing. They automatically update it with any pages you add or remove — score! Now you never have to worry about the headache creating a site map would surely cause). 

 

  • Robots.txt: an uneditable text that indicates which URLs search engines can’t crawl

 

  • Canonical tagging: When a webpage has more than one version, the canonical version of a webpage is the preferred version.

 

What are you hoping to achieve?

Based on your current traffic numbers, choose tangible numeric goals for the following:

  • Increased organic traffic
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Increased SEO ranking
  • Increased social media following

 

How can Squarespace improve your SEO?

 

No Plugins Necessary

Squarespace has been publishing sites on the web for over ten years, so it includes all known best practices for SEO without the need for additional plugins (Translation: You won’t have to buy additional software to make the most of your SEO — hooray for savings!)

 

Indexed and Searchable

 

Squarespace produces pages with clean HTML markup that is easily indexable by search engines. They take the guesswork out, so it’s one less stress for you.

 

Page Titles

You have full control over the ordering of your page titles, including the ability to create different title schemes for your homepage, item pages, and collection pages. This way, your creativity isn’t restricted to using only SEO-friendly titles. For example, if you were going to write a blog post about the best drugstore moisturizers, you might use “The Best Drugstore Moisturizers” as your SEO title (so your post will appear when people type what are the best drugstore moisturizers? into, say, Google). But on your site, you can title the post something more creative and fun like “Hands Down, These Are the Best Moisturizers Your Drugstore Has to Offer.”

 

Automatic Google Sitemaps 

 

Squarespace automatically generates and links a proper sitemap.xml, which enumerates every single URL on your site with proper priority for perfect indexing (even if you use a Javascript-heavy template). This is ideal for SEO, and it removes one extra step for you! 

 

Robots.txt

 

Squarespace automatically generates a correct robots.txt, links your sitemap, and excludes all Squarespace service/search endpoints.

 

Automatic Tagging

 

Images contain proper <ALT> and <TITLE>tags, improving search engine indexing. All meta tags for pages and <LINK> tags for RSS feeds are automatically generated. Image descriptions are properly converted to <ALT> tags. Basically, all this HTML mumbo-jumbo means that your posts will come up more frequently in search engine results… and you don’t have to think about the mumbo-jumbo. WIN, WIN.

 

Canonical Tagging

 

Squarespace generates proper rel=”canonical” tags that ensure search engines are picking up the proper versions of your pages when content exists at more than one URL.

 

Automatic Redirects

 

Given multiple domains, Squarespace will redirect users and search engines to the right domain and use rel= “canonical” to fix these references.

 

Facebook Open Graph Support

 

Squarespace allows you to customize how your links appear and are shared on social services.

 

Google AuthorRank Support

 

This integration provides improved search listings for articles on Squarespace.

 

Anti-Spam

 

Squarespace is a paid service that aggressively fights spam. If you are using a free service that is a target for spammers, you potentially run the risk of being falsely grouped with other spam sites.

 

How to Optimize Your Site’s SEO

 

#1.  Use Search Tools to Maintain Updates

Unfortunately, search engines won’t notice changes to your site automatically. Google and Bing offer search tools to help you manage your site’s search presence. Whenever you make major changes to your site, you can request that a search engine (like Google or Bing) re-index your content.

 

#2.  Customize Page and Site Titles

Search engines typically prioritize site titles, page titles, blog post titles, and headings. These titles also appear in browser tabs and search results, so it’s important to write them so they’re friendly to both search bots and human readers. You can set default title formats for the homepage, collections (like Blog, Gallery, Album, Products, and Event Pages), and collection items (like blog posts and events). You can manually enter text or use default variables. Using default title formats, versus customizing them for every post, keeps your formatting consistent for all content.

 

#3.  Differentiate page titles and navigation titles

Every page in your site has a Navigation Title and Page Title. You can edit these titles in Page Settings. Page Titles appear in browser tabs and search results and are indexed by search engines. The Navigation Title is what displays in your navigation menu. You may want to title these separately. For example, you can use the page title to promote keywords for search engines, but keep the navigation title short to help it fit in your navigation menu.

 

#4.  Structure content with headings

When adding content to Text Blocks, select Heading 1 or Heading 2 from the text format drop-down menu to organize content. These styles automatically create <h1> and <h2> tags in the page’s HTML, so there’s no need to add them manually. Like titles, search engines typically give headings a higher priority. Clear headings that describe the content that follows make it easier for search engines to detect the major themes of your site. At the same time, they help visitors scan your page and quickly find the information they’re looking for. It’s helpful for you AND for your site’s visitors.

 

#5.  Add alt text to images

First things first: alt text is any text associated with an image that viewers can see when hovering over said image. Alt text helps search engines understand what the image is, which helps it to appear in search engines. Tip: When writing alt text, stick to short, simple wording that relates to the overall content of your site.

 

#6.  Use tags and categories for pages and blog posts

The more specific you are, the better. Search engines scan your tags and categories, so using them can help your SEO. Tag pages or posts with keywords (for example: Sephora, lipstick, roundup, shopping, etc.) and add an overall category (for example: Beauty) to help your pages appear in user searches for similar topics. 

 

#7.  Start blogging

Every Squarespace site includes blogging capabilities — so if you don’t already, there’s no reason not to start blogging yourself! Since blogging involves frequently updating your site, search engines see your site as being more active. Not only does this practice improve your SEO, but it also helps build your brand as a whole.

 

#8.  Physical location

If you have a physical brick-and-mortar location, it can help your site’s SEO to have your address listed somewhere on your site.

 

 

Don’t forget to use the coupon code “EVERYGIRL” for 10% off your first Squarespace purchase!

This post was in partnership with Squarespace, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

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