This is a quick-and-dirty checklist I put together for my clients and friends who wanted to improve their squarespace SEO.
I want you to take the best of what I have learned using the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin and apply that knowledge to your Squarespace site to improve your website traffic.
I wrote this post for a few friends. It took off and it is now my most popular post. I based it on my experience using the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin for this site’s posts and pages.
Squarespace sites can have good SEO, but company support for it is outside the bounds of their offerings. In other words, the Squarespace website and e-commerce platform do not use plugins.
Therefore, there is no such thing as a “Yoast plugin for Squarespace”.
You can, however, take the same principles I use with Yoast on my WordPress install and apply it to Squarespace. This post shows you how to implement basic SEO on a Squarespace page.
Some Housekeeping, Then Squarespace SEO à la Yoast
Here are a few things to review and know.
- If you’ve heard the word SEO—Search Engine Optimization—and you aren’t sure what it means, I’ve written a short post that explains SEO in plain English.
- How long will this take you? I installed the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin on this website on Tuesday, 20 October 2015. I updated 11 posts and 7 pages. It took me 12 hours to do that — phew!
- What about Squarespace SEO? Rand Fishkin from Moz advised Squarespace on their SEO design. You can find the same WordPress SEO fields in Squarespace and update those using the examples below as a visual guide.
- I last updated this page on 11 May 2017. I originally wrote the post in October 2015.
- Look at this comprehensive SEO Checklist if you want one that is detailed and cross-platform.
- Finally, I am familiar with the Squarespace backend because I implement SEO for clients on their Squarespace sites. I do not use Squarespace as a website platform for any of my sites. I am platform agnostic, but I do have my opinions.
Now, on to the Squarespace and Yoast part.
What to Expect in this Squarespace SEO Post
First, I am going to provide the quick-and-dirty SEO checklist.
Next, I am going to add screenshots from my old Digital Stewardship Consulting page — that I used to call “Services” — so you can see it and adopt the WordPress fields to the same fields in Squarespace.
Finally, I will take the SEO details from my Digital Stewardship Consulting page and show where to enter that same information on Squarespace.
Checklist Based on Yoast’s Recommendations for Great SEO
The following is the checklist I created from the requirements from the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin and SEO industry guidelines, that you can adapt to your Squarespace website.
These are best practices, not commands. My advice is to apply as many of them as you can, as often as you can, to improve your SEO.
- Pick a unique focus keyword phrase of 2-4 words for the page or post.
☐ Use the keyword in the page title.
☐ Add the keyword to the first paragraph of the copy after the title.
☐ Place the keyword in a heading tag (h2, h3, etc.) at some point in the page or post copy.
☐ Use the keyword in the meta description.
☐ Use the keyword in the slug.
☐ Enter the keyword in the alt tag for the image(s) used on the page or post.
☐ Use the keyword first in the page or post title when at all possible.
- Yoast recommends a 300 word minimum and a 1000 word maximum for blog post and page content. However, 2000 word blog posts seem to have the most traction and compounded visits over time.
- Have at least one outbound link. That means, link to a high quality website or blog post or article, etc., that is not on your own website.
- Have at least one image. (Again: be sure to give the image a title and fill in the “alt” tag section with a description that has the keyword.)
While this may seem difficult at first, once you get used to it, SEO will come much faster as you write pages and blog.
A Quick Squarespace SEO FAQ
I realize this may seem overwhelming at first, so I have included an FAQ for this section, below.
- What is the slug?
For example, in the URL http://www.impactzone.co/improve-squarespace-seo-checklist/, “improve-squarespace-seo-checklist” is the slug.
- How long should the slug be?
The slug length (i.e., the unique section of a URL for a blog post) should use around 45 characters of the title, including the keyword and dashes (i.e., “-“). It should not be more than 50 characters in length.
- How long should the page title be?
The page title should be around 70 characters, but no less than 40. The best length is no more than 55 characters.
- What do you do to avoid getting your page titles cut off in search engine results pages?
The best length to avoid truncation in a mobile phone search results listing is no more than 115 characters, split into two equal length sentences, if possible.
- How long should the meta description be?
The meta description should have no more than 156 characters for results on a desktop or laptop browser.
So, I bet you are thinking, “how in the world am I going to remember all of this?”
Would you like a printable copy of the checklist to hang at your desk, store on your laptop, or carry with you for reference?
If so, click the link below. No email sign up is required. It is 100% free. I updated the checklist on 12 May 2017.
Now, let’s continue forward with free character counting tools you can use to simplify your work. And, finally, an actual Squarespace SEO example using the Yoast plugin example data from earlier in this post.
Word and Character Count Tip for Search Engine Optimization
Now, if you looked at the character counts above and thought to yourself, “how the heck do I count all of those to get it right?” The answer is, “you don’t”! There are tools for that very purpose.
Save yourself some time by using this Title Tag and Meta Description Tag character counting tool.
This character counting tool is specific to Google SEO. Also, Microsoft Word offers a WordCount (but not an individual character count) feature under “Tools” in the Menu bar.
Example Screenshots of Yoast’s SEO for WordPress
Here is the (new) page URL: https://www.impactzone.co/impact-zone-consultancy-services/ (Note: the slug used to say “services”, now it has more descriptive content.)
You can adapt the SEO title and meta description fields to Squarespace after you choose your focus keyword. This is the Yoast plugin “form” below, with the required SEO fields. I have entered the data on the page already.
This example uses a three-word keyword phrase, “digital stewardship consulting”. You will want to use a two, three, or four words key phrase. Key phrases give you a greater chance of ranking well in search engine results.
Why? Because they have more uniqueness than one-word keywords.
Below is the version of the Yoast checklist that appears on that WordPress page. It appears on the WordPress platform page, right below the image, above. The list displayed does vary from blog post to blog post and page to page.
Notice, however, when I add SEO I do not aim for perfect, merely good enough. (One of the bullets is not green.)
Below is a screenshot of the top of my Services page, showing the longer title. Again, it used to say only “Services”. Now, I use a more unique three-word key phrase.
Another way to add keywords to your pages and posts is to add a “call to action” at the end with your contact information.
When appropriate, you may use a header tags (h1, h2…h6) with the focus keyword located inside it.
Examples of the Same SEO Keywords for Squarespace
I took the details from my Digital Stewardship Consulting page in the Yoast SEO example, above, and transferred it to an example Squarespace page entry.
You can see where the SEO information that Yoast recommends would be placed when you create or change a Squarespace page or blog post.
To find this entry so that you can enter your SEO information, go to your Pages Dashboard. Create a new page and choose a layout. Click your mouse on the spoke to the right of the new page name in the Dashboard.
You will see an empty form page that looks like this.
Now I’m going to enter the SEO information from my Yoast example above, into the Squarespace entry form.
If you compare my Yoast plugin form example above, to this image below, you will see where I entered what field information where. Yes, scroll back and forth between the WordPress Yoast example and this Squarespace image.
Now you can see what you need to put where, by comparing the words and phrases and where I’ve put them in this example.
This provides the same effect on the backend as if you had a plugin for Squarespace. You will still need to add the keywords or key phrases to the paragraph text on your page or post.
If you add an image to the page, then the file name will be added to the image alt tag automatically. Unlike WordPress, you do not have to enter that information manually for pages.
However, for Squarespace Image Blocks, Gallery Page images, Gallery Blocks, and Product images, you may enter the image ALT tag information manually.
I hope this SEO post helps you improve your Squarespace website and it’s rankings.
Are You “Over” Squarespace SEO?
If the thought of doing this yourself makes you want to go to sleep or panic because you are so busy, then contact me. I’m happy to do this work for you. You can also check out this clear, simple, and concise on-page SEO guide by Mihaela at SEOlium.
Please check my SEO Services and Pricing page to understand what I can do for your business online that will help your bottom line.
Rest assured, improved search engine rankings will increase your sales, and the cost of the services will be returned to you.
Learn Simple SEO Tips on Instagram @impactzoneo
Do you want to learn simple tips you may implement to get your business found online by your target demographic? Yes? Of course, you do, or you would not have gotten this far in this post.
Follow me on Instagram @impactzoneco. I post one SEO tip a day.
Do you have any requests for something you want me to cover on Instagram or on this blog related to SEO? If so, please leave your question in the comments section below, contact me privately online, or DM me on Instagram.
Quick Note on My Upcoming “Squarespace SEO Workbook”
Due to the popularity of this post and requests from readers and clients, I am creating a more detailed workbook for Squarespace users. This is my one quick “sales” note.😄
If you want to check it out and/or buy it when I have completed it, or if you are willing to test the draft and give feedback to me for future users, then please email me.
I will put you on my super secret “friends” list. I will contact you when I have finished what I am calling the Squarespace SEO Workbook.
Sign Up and Be Among the First to Be Notified
Thank you, and feel free to ping me with questions in the comments below. I do read them. Or contact me directly. I’ll respond within 24 hours, 48 hours if it is a holiday weekend.
- Google: Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
- Moz: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- Squarespace: Increasing your site’s visibility to search engines
- Yoast: WordPress SEO Tutorial The Definitive Guide