Not sure where to start when it comes to SEO? You're not alone!
Go grab yourself a cup of coffee and sit down with me for a few minutes as I walk you through specific steps that you can take to up your SEO game on Squarespace.
Let’s start with the basics:
What is SEO? - SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. At a high-level, this means certain strategies and tactics are set up and in place for your website so that people can find your website on Google. These tactics can include having keywords within your content, linking to other websites, registering your major content updates with Google, and having other websites link to your website (also called ‘back-links’)…. To just name a few!
What does registering my site for Google mean? - Google Search Console is the place where you go (for free!) to help manage your website’s presence in Google’s search results. Let me clarify, though, that you can also make changes that impact your SEO in Squarespace. This is simply a place that you can register your site in order to force Google to “crawl” your website when you make those major website updates (new brand, new website host, more blog content, services changes, etc.) for those changes to show up sooner. Keep in mind, though, no changes you make on your website will be instantaneously updated in Google. This just helps to give them a bit of a kick in the butt to crawl your website faster when you have major changes to your website. To access a help article straight from Squarespace to help you with registering your site with Google, check it out here!
What the heck does “index” and “crawling” mean? - Think about how many websites that Google has to sort through each and every day to determine relevant content. When it’s searching those websites, that means it’s “crawling” those websites. Sounds kind of gross, if you ask me. ;) As your website content is being crawled, it’s being organized, or indexed, on Google for search results to be displayed, based on specific keywords that are typed in.
How long will it take for my SEO changes to show up? - Ready for the best answer? Nobody really knows. It depends which changes were made, how big your website is, and everything in-between. You can actually check on Google Search Console to see the last time that Google crawled your website. I know, not terribly helpful. But, that does not mean that you starting today to make some of these changes is not important. The time will pass anyway, right?
Page Titles and Navigation Titles
When you sign in to your Squarespace site, click on “Pages” and you’ll see all the pages that currently exist on your website. Each one of these pages have a “Page Title” and a “Navigation Title.”
On my blog page, you’ll notice the navigation title shows “Blog” (and look in the navigation menu of my site, it reflects the same title.) However, if you look at the browser tab, it says, “Home Sweet Hyatt Studios | Blog” when you’re on my blog page.
Which one does SEO care about? Page title. Keep the page title short, but if you have any specific keywords that make sense to include here, you can add them in. For me, I have my business name then ‘blog’ so people know where they’re at on my site. The page title was a little long to include in my navigation, so it simply shows at the top of the browser window.
Use Your Content Headings
You’ll notice on my website, I have some pink script, pink capitalized text, and black larger text. These are all different headings (h1, h2, h3) across my website that are separate from the normal text that is a bit smaller in black text.
Headings help Google to give higher priorities to certain parts of content. It also helps for Google to understand your content and themes around it. Not only does it help Google, but it also helps your end-user to have a better flow when reading your content. As much as SEO is important, if your customer has no idea how to find what they’re looking for on your site, they’ll go elsewhere to find it, if your content isn’t put together in an easily digestible format.
To use your content headings, go into any of your website content (pages or blogs) and you can highlight over the text that you would like to change to a heading. In the example below, the ‘Squarespace Design Work Details’ is in the ‘Heading Two’ tag.
To change the colors and the look of your headings, go to “Design” -> “Style Editor” and find the classification for your heading types.
Use Keywords to Tag Images
Google knows how to read words, but unfortunately, it doesn’t understand the images in your content. To make it understand what your images are and to show Google that your images are relevant, you can easily tag your images with keywords.
Have you ever searched Google and clicked on ‘Images’? Keywords associated to those image tags allow those to show up with ease!
In Squarespace, you can tag your individual images, both standalone images and those in image galleries. To access the image tagging area, simply edit your content and hover-over the image and select “edit”.
The full image name here is: Website Design - Home Sweet Hyatt Studios | Cleveland Squarespace Web Designer
Here’s how Google is reading this exact same image when I search “Squarespace website design Cleveland”:
Pretty cool, huh? :)
Search Engine Site Description
This part of the SEO process is huge. This shows the people who Google you a short description of what you do!
You can find this by clicking on “Settings” -> “Marketing” -> “SEO”
As you can see, mine is a bit long. I was going to change it after realizing just how long it was, but I wanted to make sure you could see a live preview of what it looks like on Google!
See? Womp, womp. Looks like I better shorten things up myself! #seogameisreal
Link Social Media Accounts
Remember when I mentioned about how “back-links” are considered when strategizing tactics for SEO? Social media can count as these back-links when you have articles shared on social media about your website. Google actually crawls social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to index those for search results!
Not only is social media awesome from an SEO perspective, it also helps you gain traction and traffic from end-users. Your customers can easily continue to follow your work and keep up-to date information about your business very easily, if they find it right on your website. Nothing wrong with a little free marketing!
Here’s how you add social media accounts on Squarespace:
“Settings” -> “Connected Accounts” - > “Connect Account”
Tired of all that technical mumbo-jumbo?
- Think about your audience; specifically your ideal client. What keywords would they search in Google to find you and your business? Use those keywords in your content, but make sure you don’t start to sound like a robot!
- Network with other blogs and similar businesses and allow for guest blogging on your blog with content that is relevant to your audience. Google measures your website based on the number of quality and trustworthy links pointing to your page. Also, it always helps to network with other professionals and help each other out!
- Most businesses that offer guest blogging allow the author to link their website. Take some time out from your business to lend expertise to other businesses! This is not only a great networking opportunity but it can also help your SEO by allowing the link to your website being listed on another quality, trustworthy website.
- Make sure your website loads quickly. Don’t allow your website to take more than 2-3 seconds to load. If your website is image heavy, either dial down the size of those images, or don’t include as many (or if you do, throw them in a gallery with thumbnails.)
- Blog, blog blog. Google LOVES when your website stays updated. Your customers also love to hear from you, when you have content that they care about. Make sure to keep #4 in mind, though, and don’t overwhelm your customers with too many images. This will turn them off and also cause your site to slow down.
Feel a little better about SEO? See, it’s not so scary! This is not the end-all, be-all about SEO, but it should definitely help you get started without the feeling of overwhelm. If you have questions on this guide or need any assistance with your Squarespace site, reach out!
This guide does not guarantee SEO results or Google rankings. This guide is a simple quick start guide with best practices you can put in place that you may not be doing today. Please do not use this PDF content without the consent of Britt Hyatt of Home Sweet Hyatt Studios. Any consultation outside of this guide will be billed at an hourly rate.