Squarespace SEO: Ultimate Blog Post Guide to Rank in Google

Squarespace SEO Blog Post Guide to Rank.png

If you want your Squarespace blog posts to rank on page 1 and drive traffic to your website, you need to be using SEO to optimize them.

If you’re not familiar with SEO, or search engine optimization, it is the process of how search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) rank web pages. Based on the words or questions people search for, search engines provide the pages that it believes to be the most valuable and relevant to users to satisfy that search.

Why you don’t need Wordpress and Yoast to rank in search.

There are dozens of important ranking factors, but when your content and the technical aspects of your blog posts are optimized for the keywords you want to show up for, that is what is going to cause you to rank, not the platform.

People think Wordpress and the Yoast SEO plugin are the holy grail of ranking, but at the end of the day it is merely a checklist. You enter your keyword and it tells you if your post can be more optimized for what you want to rank for. Which is great for sure, but simply having Yoast or using Wordpress does not give you a boost in the rankings.

And if you can still optimize your post manually inside Squarespace, which is what I am going to discuss in this post.

Why blogging is so important

When you are consistently blogging or adding unique and in-depth content to your site around a topic, you are sending signals to Google that the content on your site is fresh, authoritative, and relevant (connected by common themes in your posts).

Here’s an analogy for you. Say you’re on the basketball team. If you are:

  • Not showing up to practice

  • Not performing highly (like missing almost every shot you take)

  • Sloppy and not putting in any real effort

  • Not being a team player

Then why would coach put your lazy ass in the game? Nahhh coach is going to put the dedicated players in the game instead.

So how does this translate to SEO? 

If you are:

  • Not writing content

  • Not providing real value aka educational posts that people are looking for

  • Not taking the time to optimize the technical elements of a post and find the right keywords to use

  • Not linking to your other helpful blog posts or other outside high-quality resources that add value to your post

Then Google is not going to showcase your blog post for the search terms you want to show up for. It’s the business owners that have proved themselves to be an authority on a topic that will show up in Google.

That’s why adding content to your site - whether it’s original blog posts, podcast show notes, or YouTube video transcriptions is so powerful when it comes to ranking in search engines.

Backend settings

Before we jump into optimizing your blog posts, you want to make sure that the backend settings of your site are set up correctly.

Here are things you want to be doing:

  • Add keywords to your site title

  • Add a site meta description

  • Add a meta description to each page

  • Turn on SSL

  • Turn on AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

  • Clean up your page URLs

Are you still with me? I know that was a long intro, but as someone who worked in the SEO industry and saw the ins and outs of huge campaigns, I always want to make sure to take the time to educate my audience. There are so many misconceptions about SEO in the online business space and my goal here is to set the record straight.

Now, let’s dive into how to optimize your Squarespace blog posts to rank in Google search.

Write strong blog post titles

Writing extremely vague blog post titles is one of the top mistakes I see online business owners making. If you don’t have a strong blog post title, that most likely means that you’re not optimizing your blog posts URLs or content correctly either.

Blog post titles that work the best for SEO are ones that are educational and answer questions that people have. Think about a problem your dream client has and what pieces of content you can write to give them the solution.

Examples are…

Business coach for health coaches

  • Weak: My Journey to Getting Booked Out With Clients

  • Strong: 5 Ways to [Find Clients as a Health Coach]

Fitness Coach

  • Weak: Losing Weight Doesn’t Have to be Hard

  • Strong: 8 Steps to [Lose Baby Weight and Keep it Off as a Busy Mom]

Mindset Coach

  • Weak: Why You Need Self Care

  • Strong: 4 Reasons to [Create a Self Care Routine as an Entrepreneur]

Health coach

  • Weak: You Don’t Have to Suffer

  • Strong: How to [Eat Healthy] Without Sacrificing [Your Favorite Foods]

Your blog post titles shouldn’t be longer than 60 characters, or else they will cut off in the Google search results.

Use words that your dream clients would be typing into the Google search bar

You don’t want to wing this one. Really get inside their head, do some market research, and note how dream clients are talking about your industry. What language are they using?

For example, I’ve heard of a former lawyer who was having trouble getting clients. Then she found out that her clients were using the word “legalize,” in reference to protecting your online business. Although her former colleagues would have laughed at that language, that’s where her people were using. So she started using the phrase “legalize your biz” in her messaging and content. BOOM, success.

Focus on long tail keywords

A long tail keyword is a phrase of three words or longer. These are more specific in nature compared to one word. You want to focus on ranking for long tail keywords because the competition will be much less. However, you want to make sure that the search volume is high enough that people are searching for it.

For example, instead of trying to rank for “business,” you’d want to try to rank for “business coach for online entrepreneurs” or “business coach for virtual assistants.”

For me, I don’t want to rank for “Squarespace.” I want to try to rank for “Squarespace website design” or “Squarespace SEO” because they are more specific.

If you need help with finding the right keywords for your industry, that’s a service I offer.

Don’t keyword stuff

I see this very often for photographers. Many times I see a blog post that is something like…

  • Mike and Jane | Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs | Saratoga Wedding Photographer

  • How to Get Fully Booked in Your Business | Business Coach

It looks really strange and spammy.

You only want to include your keywords once, and don’t include your title at the end.



Optimize your URLs

Remove the dates

Squarespace will automatically add dates to your blog posts. Although you can remove them manually for every blog post you publish, it’s easier to just change this in your Squarespace blog settings from the start.

You’ll want to remove these because having the day, month and year included in the URL take up unnecessary room.

How to change this

Go under Settings, then Blogging. You’ll notice that the blogging URL format is %y/%m/%d/%t. Remove everything except “%t,” which is the blog post title.

 
Blog post URL.png
 

Add your blog post title, but remove the fluff words

You want to optimize your blog post URL with keywords. What I like to do is copy and paste the title in the URL area, then take out the transition words, like “and,” “or,” “the,” etc.

Make sure that you have spaces between the words so that Google can read them.

For example…

  • Blog post title: “5 Tips to Improve Your Mindset for Productivity,”

  • Blog post URL: yourdomain.com/blog/5-tips-improve-mindset-productivity

Structure your blog posts correctly

Your blog post title is your Heading 1. While you can use unlimited numbers of Heading 2 and Heading 3 tags, that’s the only Heading 1 that should be on the page. It tells Google what the post is about, so when there are additional H1 tags, it sends mixed signals.

When you’re creating educational content that includes numbered steps, like the blog post titles I gave above, you want to break those sections of text up with Heading 2. There is a correlation between blog posts that rank on page 1 and the use of Heading 2. This not only helps readers scan your content and enhances the user experience, but it also helps Google understand the main points in the post.

For example, this blog post is broken up with Heading 2 for each aspect I want to make about optimizing your Squarespace blog post.

Within Heading 2, you can dive into using Heading 3 and Heading 4, but use them in hierarchy. For example, you shouldn’t skip from Heading 2 to Heading 4.

Write long-form educational content

Quality over quantity is key. Google wants to showcase the best resources on page 1 for what a user is searching for, so you want your post to be in-depth.

It’s better to produce one 2,000 word blog post than four 500 word blog posts. For a blog post to be truly informative, 500 words just isn’t going to cut it.

Of course, you don’t want to just be adding fluff to the blog post to make it longer. But you should put your focus on creating top notch content that will help your dream clients go through a transformation.

And as you can see from the blog post titles mentioned above, your blog posts should be informational. A big mistake I see business owners doing is writing journal-like entries about their day-to-day. The issue is that no one will find these articles from Google because they’re not optimized.

Use keywords throughout your post

In addition to your title and URL, you also want to include keywords in these areas:

  • First sentence or paragraph

  • Throughout the post in paragraphs

  • In the sub headings (H2, H3) **only when natural**

There is debate around whether keyword density, which is the percentage of keywords to overall word count, has a true impact in your ranking. From my experience, it definitely helps to to sprinkle the keywords you want to rank for in your post.

Avoid stuffing keywords in just to increase keyword density

When adding keywords to your subheadings, I can’t stress enough how important it is to do this naturally.

What I’ve been seeing is business owners copying and pasting the blog post title into their subheadings. For example, if a post is “5 Ways to Improve Your Confidence,” I see subheadings like this:

  • Improve Your Confidence Step 1: Lorem Ipsum

  • Improve Your Confidence Step 2: Lorem Ipsum

  • Improve Your Confidence Step 3: Lorem Ipsum

This is NOT how you optimize a blog post. This is super spammy and is very annoying from a user standpoint to have to read that. Just like how I have listed out the major components inside this blog post, that is how you want to optimize your posts.

Additionally, the placement of your keywords throughout your blog post should look and sound natural.

How do you know if it sounds spammy?

Read it out loud. If it sounds off, then remove the keywords from that section of your blog post.

Here is something I really want you to remember.

When writing your content, focus on the user. Write for humans, not for Google.

Here is the distinction...

While you are writing for humans, you are packaging your post for Google.



Add resourceful links

Include internal links

Where it makes sense, you can either add hyperlinks to other blog posts inside a paragraph, or entice your readers to click on a related blog post by placing it on its own line break.

These are important for many reasons:

  • It helps Google see what content is connected and how to organize it

  • It keeps readers on your site for longer, which improves SEO

Include external links

I’ve heard business owners say that they’re afraid to link out to other websites because they think it will hurt their SEO. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Adding links to helpful resources you mention in your post or to websites you reference a quote from can help improve your SEO. That’s because you’re adding value to the post by including those links.

Make sure you’re linking out to reputable websites, not low quality, spammy websites that are not affiliated to you or your industry (example: a food blogger linking to a fashion blogger).

I’ve seen link swapping promoted in Facebook groups for online business owners from different industries and niches, and I can tell you that this tactic can hurt your SEO, not improve it.

Allow blog post comments

Make sure your blog comments are turned on. You can make your settings site wide, which is recommended or alter them for individual posts. You can choose to review them before they go live as well.

The reason you want to allow blog comments is because:

  1. It gives Google new content to crawl and helps refresh the page

  2. As the blog post gets older, it shows Google that the post is still relevant to users

If you Google search for information, you’ll notice that many of the blog posts ranking on page 1 or 2 have dozens of comments. This helps these blog posts stay at the top of the search results over years.

You can turn your comments on under Settings - Blogging - Comment Settings

 
How to change comment settings under an individual post

How to change comment settings under an individual post

 

Use tags and categories

Although tags and categories don’t have a large impact on ranking, they help Google determine how the content is related and grouped.

Categories are the higher level types of content, and it’s best to only include 1-2 per blog post.

For example, a business coach might have different categories like sales, mindset, social media and online courses.

Tags can be words or phrases used throughout the blog post and it’s common to include quite a few. However, you want to keep your tags between 5 and 15 so that it doesn’t look spammy at the bottom of your blog post.

You can add these in the settings under each blog post.

Optimize your images

You don't just want search engines to understand your content, but also your images.

Plus, site speed is an important ranking factor and images can really slow down your website.

File name

Although you can rename your image file name after uploading it to Squarespace, I find it easier to do it beforehand. You want to optimize the image file by adding keywords so Google knows what the image is.

For example, if you’re image is “IMG_0732,” you can change it to your blog post title or use words to represent what the image is.

Again, don’t keyword stuff here.

Alt text

Alt text helps is used to help people who are vision impaired understand what the images is.

You don’t want to include 15 variations of the long tail keyword you want to rank for inside the alt text box.

Instead, you want to add a descriptive sentence of what the photo is or what the topic of the blog post is about. It’s best to only use your keyword once and keep it to 12 words or 125 characters.

For most images on Squarespace, the file name of the photo will also appear as the alt text. If you want to manually add the alt text, you can do so on these pages:

  • image blocks

  • gallery page images

  • gallery blocks

  • product images

  • cover page images

You can find more info on how to do that here.

For blog post thumbnails, event thumbnails, and page thumbnail images, file or title names will typically autofill as alt text.

Sizing

Squarespace recommends that your banner images are no bigger than 2500 pixels or 5mb. Even so, that is a very large file size. Keeping your images under 500KB is optimal.

You can use a tool like JPEGmini or TinyPNG to condense your image file sizes without ruining the quality of the photo.

You can also change the image size on your Mac before uploading it to Squarespace.

You can follow these directions:

  • Double click on the image to open it in Preview

  • Click on Tools

  • Click on Adjust Size...

  • Inside the box, adjust the dimensions to lower the file size. Every time you change the dimensions, you should see the file size recalculating.

 
 

You made it to the bottom! That was a lot of information, right?

I know SEO can be an overwhelming topic to learn, so I hope this was super helpful as you navigate your blogging journey inside Squarespace.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Write strong blog post titles using words dream clients would be typing into Google

  • Focus on long tail keywords

  • Don’t keyword stuff

  • Optimize your URLs by removing the dates and fluff words; keywords only

  • Structure your blog posts with Heading 2 and Heading 3 tags

  • Write long-form educational content, not journal entries

  • Use keywords throughout your post

  • Add resourceful internal and external links

  • Turn on blog post comments

  • Add blog post tags and categories

  • Optimize your images by adding keywords to the file name, adding alt text, and reducing file size

Have questions or comments about Squarespace SEO? Feel free to drop them in the comments below.


Are you struggling to drive organic traffic to your blog even though you've been posting for months or conduct keyword research and analyze the data in a way that actually makes sense?

Look no further!

I help online business owners with SEO strategy backed by my 2 years of professional experience in the industry.