The Truth About Squarespace SEO
"Squarespace sucks for SEO." I've heard this almost enough times to believe it, but the one thing I believe for sure is that the people who say that have never used Squarespace before in their lives and just like to start arguments on forums.
One of the things that the naysayers never do is provide facts or sources to back up their claims that Sqaurespace "sucks for SEO."
Today I'm coming to Squarespace's defence.
You should know that they are doing just fine without my help, but misinformation without solid argument boils my blood just a little.
This is why Squarespace SEO works
Although Google's algorithms for ranking changes all the time, some of the ranking factors I'm going to discuss have nothing to do with whether you're using Squarespace or some other CMS.
These factors are based on some of the most recent studies from people who are familiar with the matter:
1. Content Relevance
It's no surprise that your content has to be relevant and unique. The strategy for ranking your content used to be to stuff your pages with keywords wherever you could, but more and more we're seeing a shift towards specific, long-form content that relates to your site's keywords. What is that?
This blog post would be considered long-form content. A lot of words about a single topic.
If you haven't already noticed, I talk a lot about Squarespace. Although I'm not the first person to do this (in fact, there are folks who have been doing this way longer than I), it is still relatively niche compared against the size of the internet.
Ya' know what!? I'm writing about this very important ranking factor in a Squarespace website, so it would seem that the platform doesn't matter.
2. Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are links from other sites that connect to yours.
Not too long ago, link count was a major quality signal for Google. As time went on, Google has gotten smarter about identifying cheats in the system—created to get higher rankings.
The number of other sites linking yours still has a huge impact on your ranking potential as long as they're real and of high quality. Here is a Google patent that might suggest that a site's overall link score is determined by individual quality scores passed on by incoming links.
Again, in this case it would stand to reason that that the platform on which your website is built has no bearing on this metric. If you have a Squarespace website that is being linked to from the Buzzfeeds and Huffington Posts of the internet world, you're likely on page one—#websitegoals.
3. Mobile Experience
A few months prior to this post, I wrote about the importance of having a mobile-friendly website.
On March 26, 2018, Google announced that it is rolling out its "Mobile-first" indexing of the web after years of experimentation and testing. According to their blog post, Mobile-first indexing means Google will use the mobile version of a web page “for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for,” and by “primarily mobile,” Google is referring to the fact that the majority of people who use Google search, do so from mobile devices.
It is now more important than ever to make sure that your content is responsive on all mobile platforms and identical to the content on your desktop site. This means that if you are creating a mobile version of your website, it must have the same content and functionality as the desktop version of your site.
I think you can see where I'm going with this.
Every website built on Squarespace is completely responsive, which means that content is resized and rearranged to fit on devices of varying browser sizes and all the content stays visible and stays the same.
With that said, there are sometimes some disadvantages to having responsive design rather than custom mobile design, but this is beside the point I'm trying to make here which is:
The ranking signal created by a mobile friendly experience is present with a Squarespace site.
You can check to see what google thinks of your site's mobile experience with their mobile friendly test.
4. Technical Factors
Google confirmed back in 2014 that HTTPS websites will rank higher than their HTTP equivalents and called for "HTTPS everywhere on the web:" Additionally, HTTP websites are now marked as "not secure" by Google Chrome. Every domain connected to Squarespace is granted an SSL certificate, even if the domain is not purchased from them, and the HSTS option within the Squarespace CMS forces browsers to view the secure version of your site, which can help prevent downgrade attacks and security violations.
It is relatively common knowledge that there is a strong correlation between the use of H2 heading tags and a higher rank. Squarespace creates HTML <H1> & <H2> tags automatically when you create those heading styles in a text block in addition to alt text when using image blocks with a caption filled in.
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None of this is meant to argue that Squarespace is the best ever, all the time. There are circumstances when Squarespace is not appropriate. This was a small effort to dispel the rumour that "Squarespace sucks for SEO."
There are lots of other tools at your disposal when using Squarespace to build that I didn't cover in this post, but you can take a look at my Squarespace SEO guide for an more in-depth look at what you can do help rank your site. And of course, I'm always open to questions and discussion about the topic.
Share and leave a comment if you agree (or disagree) with anything in this post and check out my other SEO post: The Easiest Thing You Can Do To Improve Your Website SEO Right Now. 👋🏽