Squarespace SEO Review | Will It Help You Rank? (2022)

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How Good Is Squarespace SEO, and Will It Help Your Site Get Found In Search Engines?

Squarespace SEO
Tempted to use Squarespace, but put off by talk of its shockingly bad SEO? Thinking you might play it safe with WordPress instead, even though Squarespace is ideal in every other way?

Don’t jump the gun! The rumor that website builders are useless for SEO (search engine optimization) has been just that – a rumor – for a while now.

The truth is, the quality of a website builder’s SEO will simply depend on which website builder you’re using. We’ve researched all of the top website builders extensively, focusing on the most relevant features, and have concluded that Squarespace’s SEO capabilities may in fact be underrated. 

Squarespace is recognized by most users – including us – as an excellent website builder for templates and design. However, it’s less well known for its solid range of SEO tools, which can help boost your site so that it appears higher in search engine rankings. Squarespace sites often even hit that coveted first spot on Google’s results page!

Squarespace SEO is an excellent option if you’re already familiar with SEO best practice. We tested its SEO features ourselves, and you can check out the star ratings we calculated below. In this article you’ll find a checklist of Squarespace’s SEO features, advice on how to make the most of them, and extra tips on improving your Squarespace site’s SEO yourself.

Design-Oriented Website Builder

4.7

out of 5
Ease Of Use

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4.7 out of 5 stars

Features

4.4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4 out of 5 stars

Further Information:

Squarespace Review – our comprehensive view of Squarespace

Squarespace Pricing Review – find details on Squarespace’s plans and prices

Squarespace eCommerce Review – we check out Squarespace’s ecommerce tools

Exclusive Squarespace Offer Code – when you’re ready to sign up, save 10% with our special discount code!

At a Glance: Pros and Cons of Squarespace SEO

Squarespace doesn’t have a reputation for SEO, not for lack of tools, but because it requires a time investment to really get comfortable with the interface. But if you’re happy with that, then Squarespace is well equipped to boost your site’s search engine rankings.

Pros

  • Clean, structured interface. Pages and posts each have their own “configuration boxes,” where you can enter meta titles and descriptions. It’s a simple feature, but simplicity is what makes Squarespace’s basic SEO functions doable. None of the core features require coding knowledge.
  • Social media integration. Social media integration on Squarespace is seamless and stylish. It helps search engines take note of shares and engagement, which boosts your legitimacy in their eyes. Plus, it’s a great way of unifying your brand.
  • User control. Squarespace lets you add code yourself, which is sometimes the only way to apply advanced techniques. This isn’t a pro for everyone, but in the hyper-competitive world of SEO it can be the difference between the top spot and page two on Google.
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Do You Like the Sound of Squarespace?

If Squarespace’s pros are ticking all your boxes, why not take a quick tour of its site to take in its tools, designs, prices, and more?

Cons

  • Template behavior. Some Squarespace templates have an odd habit of displaying SEO information on the site. There are workarounds for this, but it’s a bizarre quirk to manage and distracts from the substance of what you’re doing.
  • Not for SEO beginners. If you’re comfortable with code and advanced SEO, Squarespace can do just about anything you want. If you’re not, providers like Wix or even WordPress are a better fit.
  • Inability to add SEO plugins. You can’t install apps like Yoast for extra help managing your SEO tools. WordPress is well-known for its plugins, but Squarespace has everything built-in, meaning you can’t add third-party apps.

Further Information:

Website Builder SEO vs. WordPress SEO – we discuss which is better

Squarespace SEO Features Checklist

Even just the three letters “S-E-O” are enough to make most of us recoil in premature frustration. So instead of tossing around terms like “SSL” or “alt text,” let’s kick things off with a breakdown of each feature: what it is, how it works with Squarespace (or doesn’t), and when you should add it to your site.
Squarespace SEO Features: The Definitive List

1. Site Title

A site title is simply the title text that appears across the top of every page on a website. Even if you have a great logo, it’s best to use one of these as well – for one thing, the title tells search engines what your site is all about. For maximum impact, keep your site title short and focus on keywords.

Is it included? Yes, you can add your own site title. 

When should I add it? Before launch.

2. Google Index

Google keeps an index of all of the web pages that it recognizes. To do this, Google’s bots crawl and review your site, then ‘read’ and categorize new content and update your site’s standings in search results.

Is it included? Yes, you can request that Google indexes your site using Google Search Console. Squarespace doesn’t do this for you, but Google will automatically index all web pages without any action on your part. It just takes a little longer if you don’t actively request it.

When should I request it? At launch.

3. Bing Webmaster Tools

This is a free service for managing your site’s presence in Bing’s search results, which have similar criteria to the Google index.

Is it included? Yes. You can verify your Squarespace site with Bing and Yahoo, but again, you have to do it yourself – it won’t happen automatically.

When should I add it? At launch.

4. Readable File Names

Search engines index everything, including image file names. When naming an image that you plan to upload to your site, keep relevant keywords in mind. A targeted file name will help your pictures rank in image searches.

Is it included? Yes. You can give your images file names that double as image alt text (see #9), and can follow Squarespace’s best practice guide to ensure accuracy.

When should I add it? Ongoing best practice.

5. Meta Title

A meta title is an HTML element that tells search engines (and visitors!) exactly what a page on your site is about. The meta title will appear in a lot of key places, most notably as the headline link in search results.

Is it included? Yes – every page and post has a configuration section where you can write the meta title.

When should I write it? Before launch.

6. Meta Description

The meta description is your chance to expand on the content in your title. A good meta description will summarize the content users can expect from your page (in under 155 characters), and persuade them to click on it.

Is it included? Yes – you can write meta descriptions in page configuration.

When should I write it? Before launch.

7. Custom URLs

This feature provides you with URLs that reflect your content, rather than a random jumble of numbers and letters. Custom URLs are great – isn’t example.com/article/squarespace-seo-guide so much more informative than example.com/hds73tgha?

Is it included? Yes. Squarespace generates URLs based on the page title. If you want to change it, you can do so in the page configuration section.

When should I add it? Before launch.

8. Headings

Headings (and smaller subheadings for subsections) help to structure your content. They indicate to search engines and readers which information you’ve included, and where.

Is it included? Kind of… Squarespace is quirky in that it only has H1s, H2s, and H3s (all various heading and subheading sizes). By contrast, most builders have up to H6s. You can still structure your content in a digestible format for search engines, though not nearly as thoroughly as you’d be able to with six headline formats.

When should I add it? Before launch.

9. Image Alt Text

Google is smart, but it’s not (yet) smart enough to know for sure what an image is showing or why it’s relevant. Alt text is what you manually write in to describe each image on your site, and it appears in place of an image if the image fails to load.

Is it included? Yes. Every image can be given alt text.

When should I add it? Before launch and as ongoing best practice.

10. Speed and Uptime

Websites with good site speed and uptime load quickly, and are reliably “live” over 99% of the time.

Is it included? Yes. Squarespace’s infrastructure has an excellent foundation for good site speed and uptime. No platform can guarantee 100% uptime, but Squarespace gets about as close as you can.

When should I add it? Squarespace has this covered.

11. Mobile Friendly

These sites are easy to use on mobile, and still easily crawled (i.e. understood) by search engines.

Is it included? Yes – every Squarespace template comes with a mobile version that fits to the screen and caters to touch navigation.

When should I add it? Squarespace has this covered, too.

12. 301 Redirects

301 redirects mean that if you change a page’s URL from X to Y, users will still be directed to the new page even if they use the old address.

 Is it included? Yes. Just use “URL mappings” in the Advanced section of your site setting.

When should I add it? After launch.

13. SSL Encryption (HTTPS)

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is what establishes a secure, encrypted link between a web server and a browser (like Safari or Google Chrome). Search engines are beginning to punish sites without SSL, so securing an SSL certificate is essential.

Is it included? Yes – free SSL certificates are offered to all Squarespace domains.

When should I add it? Before launch.

14. Sitemap

This is a complete list of the pages on your site, which search engines can use to determine how your site is structured. You can do this too – try adding ‘/sitemap.xml’ to the end of any URL to see for yourself!

Is it included? Yes, all Squarespace sites come with a sitemap. It updates automatically as you add and remove pages.

When should I add it? No need – Squarespace will take care of this automatically!

15. Google Analytics

A freemium Google tool that allows you to view data about your site, from page-specific traffic to user demographics.

Is it included? Yes. Head to “External Services” in Advanced settings, enter your Google Analytics account number, and you’re good to go. 

When should I add it? After launch.

16. Google Search Console

A free Google tool that lets you see how your site is performing in search results.

Is it included? Yes. Just set up a Search Console account, and follow the steps provided to connect with Google Analytics.

When should I add it? After launch.

17. Social Media Integration

This refers to built-in functionalities that allow users to share your content on various social media sites. Social media integration also lets you cross-post the same content to your website and your social profiles.

Is it included? Yes, over 30 social media networks can be connected to your Squarespace site. They will appear as linked icons.

When should I add it? Before launch.

18. Search Engine Instructions

Sometimes a site needs to “speak” to search engines, asking them not to index certain pages. This would be necessary if your site had two very similar pages, and you only wanted one to show up in search results. In other words, search engine instructions are a way of ensuring that any similar pages are not competing with each other.

Is it included? Kind of… It’s possible to create custom instructions for search engines, but it requires a “code injection,” which basically means “do it yourself.”

When should I add it? At launch.

19. Canonical Tags

If you have multiple versions of the same page (or if the same page can be accessed with multiple URLs), canonical tags allow you to choose which one search engines should focus on. This stops them from competing with each other.

Is it included? Kind of… Squarespace does put canonical tags on pages automatically. But if you ever want to edit them, you’re out of luck.

When should I add it? At launch.

20. Structured Data

Gives search engines more specific information about your pages. For instance, the star ratings you see on search results are structured data – and that’s just one example. Search engines love structured data, because it helps match users with super relevant information.

Is it included? Kind of… Squarespace implements some types of structured data automatically. Further structured data is possible, but you’ll need to do it yourself via another code injection. If you’re not comfortable with code, there are better services than Squarespace for this.

When should I add it? Before launch.

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Squarespace's SEO Features Ticking Your Boxes?

Squarespace has an impressive list of SEO tools to boost your website up the search engine results page. Get a closer look!

How to Get Started With Squarespace SEO

There are some internal resources on Squarespace to help you get started with SEO. They’ve created a top-level checklist, and even posted their own guide to increasing your site’s search engine visibility. The guide is pretty detailed, with a video and lengthy written sections that address everything from choosing keywords to structuring content. 

The guide is also full of relevant links to more focused SEO questions that Squarespace has already answered at greater length. It’s a great resource, because you’ll get answers that are already tailored to Squarespace’s tools. 

However, Squarespace admits at the start of the guide that “SEO strategy falls outside the scope of Squarespace support,” since search engines constantly change their algorithms and every site’s marketing needs are unique. That’s why it’s wise to take Squarespace’s SEO resources as a starting point. Most of the in-depth SEO help you’ll want will be external.

Because search engine algorithms are always changing, the best SEO advice also needs constant updating – there’s no special rulebook that’s stood the test of time, or anything like that. Instead, we trust sources like the Ahrefs SEO Blog and Neil Patel’s SEO articles, both of which keep their robust collection of tips and tricks up-to-date. See if these sites speak your language, and if you don’t like them, definitely spend a few minutes on Google to find a detailed blog or two that fits your

About Maura Monaghan

Maura Monaghan

I grew up scribbling in notebooks, and until recently the thought of relocating my writing to the digital world seemed like an impossible goal. But when I finally took the plunge and created an online portfolio, I immediately saw the benefits of having my work out on the web. Since then I’ve learned everything I can about creating different websites, so that I can help those in a similar situation get online without a similar headache.