Simple SEO tips for Squarespace
What is search engine optimisation (SEO)?
SEO includes any ways in which you can make your website rank higher in search engine results. There are things that you or your web designer can do behind the scenes, like adding alt text to images, using keywords in strategic places, adding descriptions to pages etc. I’ll write more about these another time.
There is also what Squarespace itself does for SEO.
Then, most importantly, there is what you can do. Which is creating great content and connecting that content to the rest of the online world.
Creating quality content
People sometimes think of SEO as a way of tricking Google into thinking that their site has something valuable to offer. Maybe in the past, it was a bit like that. You could, for example, buy links into your site from other sites, even though they were completely random and irrelevant.
Over the years Google’s methods have become more and more sophisticated. Today, the best way to ‘trick’ Google into thinking your site is relevant, is to make it relevant. How do you do that? By creating quality content that adds something to people’s lives, content they’ll want to share with others.
In everything that Google has ever written about SEO, they make this point: Content is Key.
Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Content Creation.
When you are creating that content be aware of the words you use. You don’t want to spam your content with keywords for the sake of it, but you want your content to be relevant to what people are searching for.
I wanted this blog post to have the keywords ‘SEO’ and ‘Tips’ in the title. I could have called it, ‘How to be Awesome’, but this content is more relevant to those searching for SEO Tips than those wanting to be any other kind of awesome.
‘SEO’ and ‘Tips’ are both keywords, but they are very common keywords. I’m not likely to rank high in a search for either of them or even the two words together.
This is where we can use ‘longtail keywords’. Here I’ve used ‘Simple SEO Tips for Squarespace’, that’s what’s called a longtail keyword (or phrase) and probably narrows the field a bit.
Consciously using these keywords and phrases means giving some thought to what your potential customers might be typing into Google. You can check out which keywords are leading to your site in Google Search Console, you’ll find instructions in my blog post on Google Analytics.
Blogs / Journals / Articles
If the content is key, how do you regularly add new and relevant content? The ideal way is to have some kind of blog, journal or articles page. If you want that top spot in the search engine results you need to commit to this.
Think about it, which are the sites that you visit regularly? Which are the sites that you share on social media? They are rarely going to be the static information sites. They are sites with new and interesting content. By creating new content you have something to share, hopefully, others will share it too.
For some of you, your website is just a place on the internet where people who already know you can find out helpful information, your opening times, your prices etc. But if you want people to find you through your website then creating content has to be an ongoing part of your work.
The power of blogging consistently - Read how it drove a crazy amount of traffic to Paige Brunton’s site.
The internet is a network of connections. Another way that Google knows you are relevant is through the links on your site. There are three kinds -
Internal links: This is where you link to other parts of your own site. Your site map includes these URLs so it’s good for SEO. It also keeps people on your site for longer as they follow the links to other parts of the site.
External links: Links to other people’s sites. Though these take people off your site, they do show that you are relevant and connected.
Inbound links: These are links from other sites to your own, these are gold, you want these. However, they do take a bit of work. Here’s an article on ways to get inbound links.
Obviously one of the easiest ways of getting inbound links is when you post on social media, you are creating links on Facebook, Twitter etc that lead back to your own site.
‘Social Media is the Internet’
I got this quote from a podcast by Andy J Pizza (not his real name!). Social media is the internet. More and more social media is the way in which people find out about things. If you have a website but you are not using social media then, in a sense, you are using less than half of the internet (I made that statistic up!).
If there’s a new performance coming up by my favourite dance company, I don’t find out by googling their website on the off chance. I find out by seeing a clip of their rehearsals on Instagram. I then go to their site to check out the dates etc.
If there is a new blog post from some web designer that I am interested in I don’t find it by checking on her site each week to see if she’s posted something new, it just appears in my Facebook feed and I follow the link to her site.
Start with whatever seems the most relevant social media for your industry, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook. Make sure you can find the time to post regularly and reply to any comments or messages before getting into other social media platforms. It’s better to do one platform well than a lot erratically.
Read about Squarespace and social media.
Your search engine description
There’s something small but important that you can do today.
Log into the backend of your website and in the main menu go to Settings >> Marketing >> SEO you will come to the place where your site description is. This is what appears in Google when your site comes up in a search. Depending on what it says people may or may not click, so it is worth refining this.
It allows you 300 characters but some search engines show more or less than others, so make sure your first sentence hooks people in.
That’s it for now, even though it is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m off to rewrite my search engine description now. It’s not bad, but I’m sure it could be better!