How To Build A Squarespace Website That Gets Found In Search Engines!

 Squarespace SEO

Squarespace Website SEO Starts With The Site Architecture

When remodeling a home, you don't just start cutting wood and hammering nails. You draw up and edit plans, gather all your materials and create a clear picture of what the end product will look like before you begin. Building a Squarespace website requires planning, too. Not only does a company need to decide the text and images to use to best represent its product, but also think about the "inside the walls" aspects of the site - the important information that often remains in the background but that search engines need to rank websites and deliver results.

In this blog post, I will review a number of ways you can improve your company website's Search Engine Optimization - or SEO - and make it easier for search engines to find and deliver the site to potential customers. 

Creating Better URLs and Titles

Webpage URL Structure

When creating a Squarespace website, you have the option of naming each page whatever you like but it’s essential to include a keyword. Take for example a home design and remodeling company with the website, www.homedesign.com. The page about kitchen remodeling might be called, www.homedesign.com/kitchen-design, and the portfolio page showing kitchen remodeling projects might be www.homedesign.com/kitchen-remodeling-projects. These are called the "URL slug" and are used to direct a web browser to various sites. If you are creating a website on Squarespace from scratch, use URLs that are somewhat short, intuitive and include top keywords for your site. You also want to carefully plan the hierarchy of the site to keep navigation simple and user friendly.

Ever Wonder If Your Website Is Set Up Correctly? Click Here for a Free Review Video!

Navigation Titles and Page Titles

Three things to consider when creating your webpage are that the Navigation Title, Page Title and URL do not have to be the same. Navigation titles are the text that is seen in your page navigation. These can be brief for better user experience. A sixty character navigation title is unwieldily so eliminate unnecessary words. Page titles are an important factor in your sites SEO. Try to keep the length to 60+/- words and place your keyword in the first half of the text. URL’s do not have to match either of the above. First, allow your Page Title to auto-populate your URL field but if your URL is over 100 characters, you may want to eliminate any stop words that are not required for comprehension. The rule is to use readable, clear language that explains the content on the webpage.

Changing Your URL’s Without Breaking Links

If you already have a website online, there are some things you can do to improve upon what's there. First, look for old and outdated pages where the URL has changed. This could have happened if you deleted a page no longer relevant, or consolidated the content from two pages into one. Whatever the reason, the URL for the now defunct page is still out there and could return a "404 Not Found" error message. These messages can hurt your SEO and also look bad to potential customers viewing your site. To fix this you will need to set up a permanent redirect, also called a 301 redirect, in Squarespace settings. go to Advanced, then URL Mappings and direct the site to move the old URL to the new one by typing in:

/old-url -> /new url 301
Example: /kitchen-renovation -> /kitchen-remodeling 301

Remember that:

  • /old-url is the URL slug of the page you are moving Example: /kitchen-renovation

  • -> is made by typing a hyphen and then the "greater than" sign

  • /new url is the URL you've created and where the old content will now reside Example: /kitchen-remodeling

  • 301 tells the computer the kind of redirect - as in a permanent redirect

  • If the new URL slug does not yet exists, you will need to update it in the page settings once created

  • If the new URL does exist, such as you are merging two pages into one, you will need to delete and disable the old URL

  • This what our example would look like: /kitchen-renovation -> /kitchen-remodeling 301

Once you've deleted the outdated URLs, take a look at the website's title tags and meta tags. A title tag is the headline that's displayed for a webpage in search results and is the most important factor in SEO because it tells search engines what the page is about. Meta tags are the descriptions that follow the title, and while they are not part of the search result algorithm, they factor heavily in whether or not a user decides to click on the site.

Changing these tags is straightforward on the Squarespace website builder.

  • To change the homepage tags: go to Settings → SEO. The Search Engine Description field is your meta description and the Homepage Title Format is your title tag.

  • To change the tags on your pages: go to Pages → Gear icon (next to a page you want to edit). The Page Title field is your title tag and the Description field is your meta description.

  • To change the tags on your blog posts: go to Pages → Blog → Edit (on a blog post you want to edit). The Enter a post title… field is your title tag and the Excerpt field (under the Options tab) is your meta description.

  • Remember that title tags should be under 70 characters and include what you do, not just your business name. Meta tags should be under 200 characters and include a description that will draw users to your site.

When editing your site tags, keep in mind that in some Squarespace website templates, the tags will display on the page. Much of the time this should be fine, however, the tags might not fit in with your page design, or the title you display on the page might not be the best title for SEO. 

Blogging Useful Content Will Boost SEO

If your company doesn't have a blog on its website, start one. If you have a blog but it hasn't been updated in months, start thinking about some posts. A blog not only tells customers about your company and what you can offer them, but it is a way to regularly update content and keep your website fresh. Search engines are looking for the most relevant websites and those that are updated regularly. Updating your company blog once or twice a week with useful information shows search engines that it is an active site, boosting its SEO.

Watch Our Video: Blogging Best Practices On Squarespace

Adding relevant keywords to each post also increases the likelihood the right customers will see your site and that your company has the knowledge and expertise they are looking for. Allowing people to comment on blog posts adds even more value to your content, in the eyes of search engines, and also provides you feedback on your customers. Means-of-Production writes blogs for home construction and design clients. Click here to learn more.

Squarespace offers a blogging editor within the site with tons of features, such as the ability to add photos, video and other content your customers might enjoy. Squarespace also has tools for sharing and linking to social media, another way blog content can draw potential customers to your site. For instance, Squarespace offers the option of pushing content from your website to your linked social media accounts each time you publish a new blog post. You can also add a social sharing button on each blog post, making it easier for users to link to your content. If you decide to link or push to your company's social media accounts, remember to regularly check them. More and more people use social media as a means to communicate directly with companies, ask questions or lodge complaints. The last thing you want is to ignore a question and appear unresponsive to a potential customer.

How Fast Is Your Squarespace Website Loading?

How many times have you clicked away from a website because it's loading too slowly? With so much information at our fingertips, internet users have very little patience for a site that fails to load in more than a few seconds. Every person who clicks away from your company site before it fully loads is a lost customer. Even worse for slow sites, page speed is becoming increasingly important to search engine rankings. A Squarespace website uses modern HTML and CSS best practices, which means it loads relatively quickly on both desktop and mobile devices, however there are some aspects of the site that cannot be changed by individual users, making it that much more important to improve those factors which you can control, such as image file size.

If you've ever emailed a large photo to a friend or family member, you have a basic understanding of how the size of a photo can impact loading speed. Images on a Squarespace website should be under 500KB, however Squarespace allows the use of photos up to 20MB, which is very large. (And crazy, frankly) Prior to uploading images to your site, you will want to resize and compress them. If done properly it should not have an impact on how the photo looks on the screen. You can do this in Photoshop Elements or with any of a number of online tools. It doesn't take long to do, but for sites dependent on images to highlight a product or service, this step is invaluable.

Today, more web searches are conducted on mobile devices than desktop computers. Changes to search engine algorithms are lending more importance to mobile versions of site, so it's a good idea to make sure your site is mobile friendly. Thankfully a Squarespace website will be automatically optimized for any device, however, for every customized feature you add, the more likely you are to create issues with your mobile experience. Problems can be avoided by using the Squarespace device view option on the site preview pane, which gives a phone, desktop and tablet view.

Using the above ways to boost the SEO of your company's Squarespace website will give you the advantage when it comes to getting found on the web. For more information on how to build an SEO-optimized site, please download our PDF guide, "Squarespace Website Search Engine Optimization Best Practices," which has additional information on this topic and many other tips that will help your company boost traffic to your site.

Website Advice From a Squarespace Designer


About Means-of-Production

Hi, I’m Michael Conway. My firm builds Squarespace websites and marketing campaigns for construction and design firms. I’ve been building Squarespace websites at least a hundred websites over the last six years and have built websites for a few of the largest contractors in the country as well as sole practitioners. If you have questions about Squarespace or need a new website, we want to build it for you. Reach out to me at (603) 289-6616 or mc@means-of-production.com. I’m here to help.