Blogging is one of the most time- and energy-consuming tasks for a business owner.
Sure, it’s a creative way to attract people and convert them into customers or clients but publishing even one high quality blog post can easily take hours, sometimes days, to complete from start to finish.
For this reason, it’s all the more important to make sure that our blog posts are actually seen by the right people, our target audience, and this is where search engine optimization or SEO comes in handy.
According to Moz.com:
“SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.”
Contrary to what beginner bloggers might think of SEO, it’s actually an incredibly helpful way for your blog to be found, read, and shared by your target audience.
Now, for those who use Squarespace for their blog, a common misconception about this platform is that it’s lacking in SEO features or capabilities when, in fact, Squarespace already has built-in SEO features and it uses SEO best practices.
It has SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates, site map, search engine and page descriptions, headings, categories, tags, clean URLs, automatic redirects, accelerated mobile pages (AMP), and many more. It’s even responsive for those who browse sites using other devices such as their phone or tablet.
When it comes to blogging with Squarespace, however, there are additional things you can do to further optimize your blog to rank higher in search engine results.
Want to follow along with a FREE checklist?
Here are eight SEO tips for blogging with Squarespace.
01. Conduct keyword research
It’s difficult to rank for keywords if you don’t know what those keywords actually are so the first step is to identify what keyword/s you want your blog post to rank for.
Ideally, you would research and use keywords that are relevant to your business and to your target audience, but also have low competing entries. This gives you the best chance to show up on the coveted first page of Google and gather all that traffic to your blog post.
Remember, the number of words you use for your keywords matter. Less words means more people are competing for it (ex. “blogging”) so I suggest using long-tail keywords which are keywords with typically three or more words (ex. “blogging for service-based businesses”). These target a smaller number of searches, yes, but there’d be less competition.
Try using Google Keyword Planner (a Google Ads feature), Google Autocomplete (the predictive results when you start typing in a search bar), Google related searches (the related results at the bottom of the page, right above the page numbers), Pinterest search, Alexa.com, Buzzsumo, etc.
02. Simplify your blog URLs
Search engines favor simplified URLs since they quickly direct visitors to the correct pages and the correct blog posts they are searching for.
Since Squarespace uses a two-part hierarchy for their blogs (main blog page then individual blog posts), you can easily simplify the URLs of both your blog page and your blog posts.
I suggest doing the following before you publish anything:
Use /blog to name your blog page and change the blog post URL format to include only the /title (the default includes the publish date).
To change your blog page URL, go to your blog page settings and change the page URL slug.
To change your blog post URL format, go to Home > Settings > Blogging > Post URL format.
03. Include keywords in multiple areas
Again, search engines favor blog posts that are relevant to what people are actually searching for so since you’ve already identified the keywords that you’re targeting (#1 on this list), make sure to include them in multiple areas of your blog post.
You can include the keyword you’re targeting in the following areas:
Blog post title
Blog post body
Blog post URL
Blog post excerpt or meta description
Headings 1, 2, and 3
Images’ filenames, alt tags, or descriptions
Note: Be careful not to bombard your blog post with so many keywords that it’s unreadable or annoying for your visitor. Search engines are way smarter than that and your site could be penalized for such spammy behavior.
04. Increase your page speed
You might have noticed a theme here that the happier your visitors are while on your blog, the better your SEO. And this, of course, includes the time it takes to load your blog page.
The longer it takes for a page to load, the higher the likelihood that a visitor will lose patience and simply x-out. This will then tell search engines that your blog post is not serving your visitor so there’s no point increasing your blog post ranking in search results.
You can increase your page speed by compressing or reducing the sizes of your images (without sacrificing image quality) and reducing redirects.
05. Publish high quality blog posts
To improve your SEO, the straightforward answer is to improve the quality of your blog posts.
Search engines favor high quality blog posts because, as you’ve probably guessed it, they provide more information and resources for visitors and they encourage visitors to stay on your site longer. Ever noticed how Wikipedia entries often show up on the first page of Google?
You can improve your blog posts by:
providing explanations that are thorough but also engaging
increasing your word count (I recommend at least 1,000 words per blog post)
making your blog posts scannable using headers and bullet points
linking to relevant and authoritative sources
adding other learning formats aside from text (videos, slideshow presentations, photos or infographics, audio samples, etc.)
linking to related posts within your blog
encouraging comments or discussions
providing additional resources like PDF checklists, workbooks, or other lead magnets
+ Related post: 20+ Lead Magnet Ideas and Examples to Grow Your Email List
06. Post consistently
A blog that gets updated frequently (with consistent high quality blog posts) tells search engines that your website is an active website.
Again, one of their primary goals is to make search engine users happy so they would be more inclined to index or rank your blog as a relevant, reliable, and timely source of information.
Ever notice how news articles always get featured by Google whenever you search for current events? It’s because they’re relevant, reliable, and timely for users.
07. Aim to get backlinks to your post
Another helpful way to rank higher in search engine results is to get backlinks to your blog posts.
When authoritative sites link back to your blog post, this essentially tells search engines that they vouch for your blog and that they see it relevant enough to share with their audience.
The more authoritative the site is, the better. For example, if Entrepreneur.com links back to my site, this can improve my SEO far better than if SomeonesBlog.com links back to my site.
This is also why online marketers would recommend you to guest blog on bigger websites—their audience and authority will help bump up your own site’s SEO, provided you link back to your site in your bio.
08. Track your results
It’s important to remember that it takes time before you’ll see results from implementing SEO strategies. But whether it takes weeks or months to reap its rewards, it’s best to track your results over time to see what’s working and what’s not.
I suggest keeping a spreadsheet of your blog posts, keywords, and results, but you could simply set up monthly or quarterly reminders using Asana, Trello, or some other task management tool you use and jot down the results in there directly.
Here are additional articles from Squarespace about SEO tips and practices:
Directly from Google Search Console
Here are Google’s recommendations:
SEO helps direct blogging efforts towards more productive results. If you blog using Squarespace, you’ll be happy to know that the platform already has built-in SEO features and makes use of best practices; however, there are additional ways you can improve your SEO.
You can conduct keyword research, simplify your blog URLs, strategically use keywords within your blog posts, increase your page speed, consistently publish high quality blog posts, get backlinks to your posts, and track your results.
Share in the comments below: Have you thought about improving your Squarespace blog’s SEO? What steps have you taken so far? Which items from this list are you planning to tackle soon?