Tested: Is Squarespace Good For SEO In 2022?

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Squarespace On-page SEO Check

Final up to date on February 1, 2022

That is the second publish in our sequence the place we take a look at the on-page search engine optimisation of the world’s hottest CMS programs.

Partly 1 we lifted the hood on Wix (conclusion: it’s getting higher for search engine optimisation). This day out we’re specializing in Wix’s primary competitor within the “click on and go” small enterprise web site world; Squarespace, a CMS that currently powers 1.8% of internet sites globally (as of February 2022).

Learn on to find:

  • how effectively arrange for on-page search engine optimisation Squarespace is out the field,
  • how one can configure your Squarespace website to rank larger in Google,
  • the technical search engine optimisation points we discovered on the platform

Let’s get began with a abstract.

In Abstract: Is Squarespace good for search engine optimisation?

Like Wix, Squarespace’s primary attraction for small enterprise house owners is its fast and straightforward, “level and click on” means of establishing a web site. No technical information required, simply click on by way of the setup wizard and you may be on-line in a matter of hours.

squarespace home page

It’s probably not a CMS designed to be tinkered with. It’s designed to get what you are promoting up and operating on the internet. Quick. And it does that very effectively.

However for these of us who prefer to tinker — searching for the flexibility to optimize each component of a web site — that’s an enormous disadvantage.

So let’s get this out the best way:

For those who’re severe about search engine optimisation, Squarespace might be not a sensible choice.

You may management some search engine optimisation fundamentals. However there are both large gaping holes or (we really feel pointless) hurdles to leap if you wish to get extra superior.

And all the pieces that you simply can’t do to optimize your Squarespace website is one thing {that a} competitor on a unique CMS would possibly have the ability to do to realize a bonus.

search engine optimisation is conflict. And also you don’t need to go using into battle on a horse when your opponent is advancing in direction of you in a tank.

We’re going to cowl intimately how Squarespace handles management of the search engine optimisation fundamentals.

However first, right here’s a abstract of our findings.

Squarespace SEO Scoring

How we examined the search engine optimisation capabilities of Squarespace

We arrange a small website on a Squarespace marketing strategy.

squarespace plans

We selected a preferred theme and loaded the location with demo content material.

And we additionally examined two of the preferred themes listed here.

The checks included handbook evaluate, operating the Squarespace websites by way of our personal search engine optimisation audit software, and testing utilizing third celebration instruments comparable to Google’s PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix.

Squarespace search engine optimisation: The nice, the unhealthy, and the ugly

Earlier than reviewing Squarespace’s management of on-page search engine optimisation elements, let’s run by way of a number of the search engine optimisation highlights (and lowlights) of the platform.

We’ll kick issues off with a constructive.

Good: Squarespace’s HTML code is (comparatively) clear

It’s actually not an search engine optimisation deal breaker. However we imagine there’s a bonus to having clear, bloat-free code on the entrance finish of your web site.

Visible web page builders can generate some severely ugly code. Wix is especially unhealthy for this.

Nevertheless, we had been happy to see that the HTML code Squarespace generates is comparatively clear.

There’s nonetheless a little bit of “DIVception” (DIVs inside DIVs for no specific motive) in relation to format. However for content material, a paragraph is a paragraph, and a heading is a heading.

squarespace HTML code

We may do with out the duplicated inline model for every tag. However at the least there’s no bizarre wrapping every paragraph in a div, and the textual content inside it in a span like this scorching mess from Wix….

wix code bloat

Squarespace’s HTML code isn’t good. But it surely’s undoubtedly not the worst we’ve seen.

Good: Easy integration with Google Search Console

Google Search Console may give you priceless perception into:

  • the key phrases driving visitors to your website
  • any points Google discovered whereas crawling it

However for non-technical customers, establishing and verifying Google Search Console generally is a little difficult. Squarespace makes it simple.

Simply head over to Analytics > Search Key phrases, click on the button to attach with Google, permit entry, and also you’re performed.

google search console integration

Here’s the full (incredibly simple) process.

Unhealthy: Lack of management over superior search engine optimisation options

Need to edit your sitemap?

Can’t do it on Squarespace.

How about your robots.txt file?

Nope.

For many small enterprise websites this may not be a difficulty. However we’d actually like the choice.

And usually, we discovered the platform to be missing in relation to management of any (even semi) superior on-page search engine optimisation elements.

Ugly: Squarespace websites are more likely to fail Core Net Vitals

Google’s “Web page Expertise” replace rolled out on cell in summer season 2021 and will come to desktop as well starting in February 2022.

To recap, Web page Expertise assesses a number of UX and security measures (HTTPS, mobile-friendly, no intrusive interstitials) and measures velocity and format stability by way of three “Core Net Vitals” metrics.

google page experience

You may learn our full rundown on Core Net Vitals right here.

And the unhealthy information is that — whereas ticking the UX and safety containers — our take a look at website (and the favored themes we examined) all failed Core Net Vitals large model.

squarespace core web vitals

Whereas Cumulative Format Shift could also be fixable, the velocity points are more likely to be tougher to beat as they’re primarily brought on by blanket loading of core scripts and types, even when not utilized.

Certainly unused JavaScripts accounted for over 3 seconds of whole load time.

unused scripts

Backside line:

Out the field, Squarespace websites are gradual and more likely to fail Core Net Vitals. We imagine that may have an more and more unfavourable impression on rankings over the approaching months and years.

On-Web page search engine optimisation Fundamentals: How does Squarespace measure up?

Now let’s flip our consideration to manage of a number of the basic on-page search engine optimisation elements.

Does Squarespace cowl all of them?

No. There are large gaps. And on prime of that, sure on-page search engine optimisation duties are tougher to do than they need to be.

Right here’s our abstract once more.

Squarespace SEO Scoring

Observe: having management of an search engine optimisation rating issue isn’t equal to its optimization. search engine optimisation audit instruments like Seobility supply recommendation on learn how to correctly optimize every component and discover errors in optimization which can be holding again your website. See our search engine optimisation audit information for extra data on learn how to totally optimize your web site.

search engine optimisation Titles and Meta Descriptions

Management in Squarespace: sure

A web page’s title continues to be one of the vital essential on-page rating elements. And a well-written meta description might help you get extra click-throughs (though Google gained’t at all times use it).

Squarespace helps you to add and amend the search engine optimisation titles and meta descriptions for every web page in your website.

Simply click on the gear icon subsequent to the web page you need to edit, then choose search engine optimisation.

squarespace titles and descriptions

You may edit your web page’s title and outline, and preview the way it will look in search.

Tip: for extra superior previewing (together with cell preview), take a look at our free SERP Snippet Generator software.

All good thus far. However we do have a minor(ish) grumble.

Squarespace helps you to arrange templated title codecs in your pages. Beneath you’ll be able to see we now have this set to “web page title (%p) — website title (%s)” which is the default.

Advertising > search engine optimisation > Search Look > Pages

squarespace default title formats

That is helpful. And usually together with your model in your titles is a good suggestion.

So what’s the issue?

Properly, you’ll be able to’t overwrite this title format on particular person pages. And if there’s a web page the place you need to go for an extended, keyword-rich title and take away your model title to keep away from truncation…

…effectively, you gained’t have the ability to do it.

Which is slightly annoying.

Study extra about search engine optimisation Titles and Meta Descriptions

Web page slug / URL

Management in Squarespace: sure

We advocate creating quick, descriptive, 2-3 phrase slugs, together with the first key phrase (or phrase) for every web page. Use hyphens to separate phrases.

You may set the web page slug for every web page in your Squarespace website within the “Common” tab beneath settings.

URL slug

Necessary: in the event you change the slug for a web page, you’ll must arrange a 301 redirect to level the outdated URL to the brand new one. This guide from Squarespace covers learn how to do it.

Study extra about URL slugs/permalinks

Canonical URLs

Management in Squarespace: no

On smaller websites, you most likely gained’t want to fret about this.

However in case you have a sequence of comparable pages in your website — i.e. concentrating on the identical key phrases, or with very small variations in content material — there could also be occasions whenever you’ll need to set a canonical (grasp) URL.

This helps to keep away from duplicate content material points.

Sadly, whereas Squarespace will set a canonical URL for every web page in your website mechanically, there’s no strategy to edit it. Which sort of makes it a bit pointless….

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Study extra about canonical URLs

Index management (robots meta tag)

Management in Squarespace: partial

The robots meta tag instructs Google to both index (1), or to not index (2) a web page:

  1. <meta title=”robots” content material=”index, comply with”> – index this web page please Google
  2. <meta title=”robots” content material=”noindex, comply with”> – ignore this web page please Google (however comply with the hyperlinks on it)

You don’t really want the primary one as (assuming your web page meets their high quality requirements) indexing is Google’s default motion. But it surely doesn’t do any hurt to have it in place.

Squarespace helps you to add a noindex robots tag to a daily web page by checking the “Disguise Web page from Search Outcomes” field.

squarespace noindex

However they don’t allow you to noindex particular person weblog pages…

squarespace noindex blog

For some motive, they’ve taken an “all or nothing” strategy within the weblog. Your solely choice is to noindex all the pieces.

squarespace noindex blog

Not precisely ultimate.

Study extra about index management

Heading Tags (h1, h2, h3 and many others)

Management in Squarespace: partial

Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, and many others) assist Google perceive the construction, and matter(s) of your web page.

They need to be correctly nested.

For instance, an h1 tag would typically be the primary matter (degree 1), an h2 may very well be a subtopic (degree 2), and an h3 may very well be a sub-sub matter (degree 3), and many others:

<h1>Pets</h1> (matter of the web page)

<h2>Goldfish</h2> (subtopic)

<h3>Caring in your goldfish</h3> (subtopic of goldfish)

<h4>Clear your fish’s tank often</h4> (subtopic of caring in your goldfish)

<h2>Cats</h2> (subtopic)

<h3>Caring in your cat</h3> (subtopic of cats)

Squarespace lets you set heading tags from h1-h4.

squarespace heading tags

Whereas this could cowl most content material, there are undoubtedly occasions whenever you would possibly need to go all the way down to h5, and probably even h6.

So the platform setting this difficult restrict might stop you from totally optimizing your content material.

Study extra about heading tags

Structured knowledge (aka schema)

Management in Squarespace: sort of

Structured knowledge (often known as schema) might help Google perceive:

  • the kind of content material on a web page (i.e. recipe, evaluate, product, article),
  • the entity behind the web site (i.e. group),
  • and will also be used to point out further search options (wealthy snippets)

For those who’re not conversant in structured knowledge and its impression on search engine optimisation, we advocate studying our wealthy snippets information.

You may add customized schema markup to a daily web page on a Squarespace website. However you’re going to must do it utilizing their “code injection” performance, which you’ll discover beneath “Superior” in web page settings.

schema

Observe: you’ll must generate the schema markup your self. We advocate this free tool.

Just a little unintuitive, however at the least it’s doable.

The unhealthy information nevertheless is there’s no code injection choice for weblog pages. Which implies you gained’t have the ability to add customized schema (for instance FAQ or HowTo schema) to a weblog publish.

Study extra about structured knowledge and wealthy snippets

Picture search engine optimisation

Management in Squarespace: sure

The three most essential parts of picture search engine optimisation are:

  • Alt textual content (description of the picture for display readers and search engines like google)
  • File measurement (smaller = sooner = higher)
  • File title (we advocate utilizing descriptive file names)

Let’s begin with a constructive.

For those who overlook to make use of a descriptive filename, Squarespace will allow you to change it. Which is a pleasant contact.

squarespace image filename

With regards to optimizing your pictures although, you gained’t get a lot assist. Whereas Squarespace will mechanically create varied sizes for you, they won’t compress or optimize your images.

And as for including alt textual content…

Properly, you can do it. However they’ve made it a ridiculously convoluted course of.

It’s not fairly so unhealthy for inline pictures. They’ll use the caption (which you’ll be able to disguise) because the alt textual content.

For some other sort of picture, you’ll need to consult this guide.

Wouldn’t an alt textual content subject have made issues a bit simpler @squarespace?

Study extra about picture search engine optimisation

HTTPS

Does Squarespace run over HTTPS? sure

HTTPS has been a confirmed Google rating sign since 2014.

And in 2022 there’s actually no excuse for any website to nonetheless be operating over HTTP. However any search engine optimisation advantages, it’s unsecure.

So we’re happy to say that each Squarespace website (whether or not on a customized area or not) runs on HTTPS.

Study extra about HTTPS

Robots.txt file

Management in Squarespace: no

A robots.txt file lets you cease search engine bots from accessing sure areas of your website.

For instance, you might need a bit with user-generated content material that you simply don’t need crawled or listed by Google.

Sadly whereas Squarespace will create a default robots.txt file in your website, there’s at present no strategy to edit it. We wish to see them add this performance sooner or later.

Study extra about Robots.txt

XML Sitemaps

Generated by Squarespace: sure

An XML sitemap helps Google discover (and index) all of the pages in your website.

Squarespace mechanically units up and maintains an XML sitemap in your website (pages, weblog posts, and many others), nevertheless, there isn’t a strategy to edit it.

Study extra about XML Sitemaps

Is Squarespace mobile-friendly?

One phrase reply: sure

When designing your Squarespace website, there’s an excellent probability you’ll be specializing in the way it seems to be on desktop.

However cell visitors overtook desktop traffic in 2017. And Google now prioritizes the cell model of your website for crawling and indexing.

The excellent news is that Squarespace websites are totally responsive, and (velocity points however) work effectively on cell.

Simply make certain to preview how your website seems to be on each desktop and cell. And bear in mind it’s the cell model of your website that Google will index and rank. So in case you have a characteristic that shows on desktop however not cell, then Google gained’t take it into consideration for rankings.

You may swap to cell view by clicking the telephone icon within the Squarespace editor.

squarespace mobile view

If Google does discover any points with the cell model of your web site, they’ll let you recognize in Search Console.

mobile issues - google search console

So preserve an eye fixed out.

In conclusion: Squarespace isn’t really helpful for web site house owners who want to totally optimize their website

We don’t like to speak negatively a couple of platform.

However on the finish of the day, technical search engine optimisation evaluation (and naturally suggestions for enhancements) is what our software is all about. So it might be remiss of us to advocate a CMS platform the place you’re unable to totally optimize your website.

There are simply too many holes. And sure optimization duties (like including alt textual content to pictures) appear unnecessarily arduous to finish.

However with that being mentioned:

For those who’re on Squarespace already, when you may not have the ability to totally optimize at the moment, there’s nonetheless a lot you are able to do to enhance your rankings.

So our recommendation can be to:

  • run a full search engine optimisation audit (you’ll be able to comply with this information),
  • allocate time to fixing points and optimizing your website (the place doable),
  • concentrate on creating high-quality content material that helps your customers and totally solutions their search queries,
  • construct your website’s authority by incomes top quality backlinks (take a look at our really helpful hyperlink constructing techniques right here)

Within the different elements of this sequence, we reviewed the on-page search engine optimisation of Wix, GoDaddy, WordPress, and Joomla. And we’ve in contrast the search engine optimisation professionals and cons of every CMS in a remaining roundup publish, the place we additionally revealed one of the best CMS for search engine optimisation in 2022.

PS: Get weblog updates straight to your inbox!

David McSweeney

David is our chief editor for knowledgeable search engine optimisation content material at Seobility. Unsurprisingly he loves search engine optimisation and writing. He combines 20+ years of expertise in search engine optimisation with the eagerness for educating you guys learn how to optimize your web sites the proper means.

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