Strong SEO with Squarespace

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Squarespace SEO | nickdjeremiah.com
This is the third instalment of a couple of articles on Squarespace and how to utilise it for photographers. Hopefully this article is comprehensive and gives you an insight into thinking outside the box with Squarespace.

I will admit, SEO is something a lot of people don't understand, it is complicated and difficult to get right. Thankfully, because you use Squarespace, SEO is built in, and it is super easy to get a good page ranking on Google.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and is essentially how well your website and its pages are ranked on Google (and bing and Yahoo, but no one uses them). This article will take you through the steps needed to up your SEO game and be subsequently better ranked on Google... Hopefully the home page.

— The Technical Stuff — 

Step One

Design > Logo & Title

In the site title, you want to add the title of your website or business as well as a tagline. Now you want your tag line to be rich with keywords. In my case, I'm a Photographer and a web designer. In my case I would put nick jeremiah | Photographer & Designer into the site title. That shows my business name, as well as a tag line that describes what I do, but they are both keywords. So when someone types Photographer or Designer into Google, my page may show up. You can use capitals or lower case, it doesn't matter. My title is written like that purely because it follows my branding. 

Some templates will show this in the header of the site. If you don't want this, simply upload a logo and it'll override the text. HOWEVER, keep the site title in there, because Squarespace uses that for the title in Browsers and for SEO.

 

Step Two

Settings > Basic Information

This is where you want to put in a description of your business. This description needs to again be rich in keywords, but must flow like a regular sentence. If it is just a bunch of keywords next to each other, Google will see this when crawling your website and will rank it unfavourably (because you're keyword farming and could potentially get an unfavourable ranking). Here is my site description:

"nick jeremiah Photographer & Designer is an artist based in South Gippsland specialising in photography and web design."

I have my business name first. it then describes who I am, where I am based and what I do. All using keywords that identify my business. These are also the keywords that my target market will be searching for in Google. So I want to make sure that my site shows up when these words are searched. It doesn't need to be lengthy, something short and to the point works well, so long as you have strong keywords.

 

Step Three

Settings > SEO

In the search engine description, you want to add in your site description there as well. This information will show up under your site title in search results. The site description on Google currently doesn't display what I have written in the SEO section, because I have recently changed it and Google hasn't yet re-crawled my website for changes. I will explain this later on in this post.

The rest of the items on that page can be left as is, unless you know what they are for, and how they work.

 

— The Not-So-Technical Stuff —

Page Descriptions

Each of your pages needs to have a description. Including keywords on what that page is about and what it contains. But remember, you need to include these keywords in a fluid sentence, otherwise Google won't like you. Some templates use the site description in the header. If you don't want that, you can remove the image or video from the Media tab, and that will remove the description from the public facing website, but still keep the description there for SEO purposes. If you do want the banner there, with the text, then you'll have to forego with the SEO description on that page.

If you have pages within an index, then you will need to make a fluid page description with keywords, explaining what each page is within that index. Google won't include pages within an Index, so make sure the description for that index describes each page.

Image Descriptions

Each image you upload will have a file name. Instead of keeping it the default file name (which is whatever the file was named on your computer) and replace it with a title, followed by your website address. For Example, the header image for this blog post has a file name: Squarespace SEO | nickdjeremiah.com. What this does, is in Google Images, when this image shows up, it'll display that title, along with the webpage it came from.

Images in a gallery block will have a Title and a Description. Do the same thing there. If the title shows up on a hover state, then put the title in the description section if you don't want it visible.

— Submitting the Sitemap —

Google Webmaster Tools

When your site is complete and ready to launch, create a Google account, if you don't have one already and log in to Google Webmaster Tools. Click the red Add Property button and type in your website URL. In my case, it is www.nickdjeremiah.com. You'll then be prompted to verify that you own that domain name. I recommend the option of adding a CNAME record to the DNS for your domain (this keeps having unnecessary code on your website).  Just follow the prompts and instructions on how to do that. Once you have done that, you can add the sitemap. All you have to do is type sitemap.xml in the required field and you're done. Squarespace automatically creates a sitemap and embeds it into your site, so you don't have to mess around with it. It really is that simple. 

If your site is likely to change page structures often, or new content gets added regularly, it is a good idea every three months or so to resubmit the sitemap, this will send a new updated sitemap to Google, Google will be forced to re-crawl your website and all the new changes, descriptions, page layouts will be updated in the search results.

Bing Webmaster

The same thing applies to Bing Webmaster. Sign in with your Microsoft account, create one if you don't already have one. And the process is relatively the same. You'll type in your website first, then the website again, followed by /sitemap.xml, then fill out the rest of the information, verify your domain (by CNAME recommended), and you're done. Bing pushes it's SEO results over to Yahoo search, so you kill two birds with one stone. Now, no one really uses Yahoo or Bing anymore, but it's free, it's pretty easy and once it is done, you don't have to worry about it too much... So why not.

 

I hope this article has been an interesting and informing read. If you have and questions or comments to make, comment below. Also, if you’d like to receive an email every time I publish a new post, you can subscribe to my mailing list below.


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