Does Squarespace power your website? Since its release in 2004, Squarespace has become more and more common. Squarespace, in fact, powers more websites than Wix, Drupal, Weebly, and Magento. This Squarespace SEO checklist will help you set up your Squarespace website to optimize for search engine rankings.
Set Up a Custom Domain
You should set up a custom domain for your website for better SEO rather than using the built-in domain.
Built-in domains consist of two random words — you can change these words by editing your site ID — followed by squarespace.com.
Custom domains, on the other hand, are standard domains created through a domain registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap. Here’s an article comparing GoDaddy and Namecheap that you can view before choosing a place to register your domain.
The problem with built-in domains is that they technically aren’t separate domains. Instead, they are subdomains.
With a built-in domain, your website will be placed on a subdomain of Squarespace’s domain. Setting up a custom domain will allow you to put your website on a unique domain.
Search engines won’t identify your website as part of Squarespace’s domain with a custom domain; they’ll recognize your website as a separate entity.
Therefore, having your own domain, rather than a built-in domain, is essential for Squarespace SEO.
Create a Short and Branded Site Title
A short and branded site title can strengthen your website’s SEO.
The site title will be displayed as linked text. When visitors click it, they’ll be taken to your website’s homepage.
The site title, however, may be included in your website’s page titles as well. Page titles are SEO meta elements that define the title of a given page. By default,
Squarespace will include your website’s site title in all of its page titles. Creating a short and branded site title will promote cleaner page titles, which search engines may use when ranking your website.
Optimize Page Titles
Speaking of page titles, you should optimize them as well. Page titles are one of the most critical SEO meta elements.
To create an organic listing for a page, search engines will typically refer to its title. They’ll use the title to create the headline for the page’s organic listing.
In Squarespace, page titles are known as SEO titles. You can optimize your website’s page titles by changing their SEO titles.
From the home menu of your account, click the “Pages” button to find the page for which you want to change the SEO title.
After locating the page, click the settings icon. The “SEO Title” field is located under the “SEO” tab of this section.
Next, create page titles that reflect the main topic or purpose of the pages.
Don’t forget to verify your website’s Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
HTTPS does more than protect your website and its visitors from cyber threats; it encourages higher rankings.
Google has been using HTTPS for ranking purposes for over a decade. As a result, websites that offer an HTTPS connection may rank higher than those that provide a basic Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) connection.
Your website should feature HTTPS if Squarespace powers it.
This cryptographic file will make your website accessible over an HTTPS connection. Technical errors can occur with SSL certificates, though.
For more robust SEO and protection from cyber threats, you should verify your website’s HTTPS by attempting to visit your site over this alternative connection type.
Customize the 404 Error Page
Customizing your website’s 404 error page will make it more search engine friendly. The 404 error page, of course, is a web page that’s served to visitors when the requested page can’t be found.
When visitors click a link to a page, they’ll request that page. If your website’s server can’t find the requested page, they’ll return the 404 error page.
404 error pages are usually generic, with most of them featuring nothing more than a “Page Not Found” message.
Fortunately, you can customize your website’s 404 error page to make it more engaging. Just create a new page in your account and add it to the “Not Linked” section.
This new page can add branded visuals, links to popular content, and other engagement-boosting elements.
Next, access the default 404 error page in your account. Under the drop-down menu for the default 404 error page, you should see an option to select a different page to use as your website’s 404 error page.
Submit the Sitemap
Squarespace will automatically generate a sitemap for your website. It will even update this sitemap when you add new pages or delete existing pages.
The purpose of this sitemap is to help search engines find all of your website’s pages.
The sitemap is only helpful if search engines know about it. Unfortunately, search engines may not find your website’s sitemap, in which case they may not crawl all pages on your site.
To ensure they know about it, you can submit the sitemap. You can submit the sitemap to Google by using Google Search Console, and you can submit it to Bing using Bing Webmaster Tools.
Optimize URL Slugs
URL slug optimization is another step to strengthening your website’s SEO. URL slugs are the part of your website’s page addresses that proceed the domain.
When viewing a page, visitors will see the page’s URL slug in their address bar.
Squarespace will automatically generate URL slugs based on page titles.
When you create a page title, Squarespace will generate a URL slug for that page.
For pages with long or awkward titles, however, you may want to create custom URL slugs.
You can create a custom URL page in Squarespace by locating the page in your account and clicking the settings icon. In the “URL Slug” field, enter your preferred URL slug.
With its drag-and-drop builder, Squarespace simplifies the process of building a website. You can create blocks of content, and you can drag them to different parts of the page. But for SEO, you’ll have to perform a little more work.
While Squarespace is easy to use, it requires optimization to earn high organic search rankings. Performing just a few basic search engine optimization (SEO) processes will maximize your website’s rankings.
Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.