Squarespace has long been known as having poor performance related to SEO. There are on-page elements and customizations that many other platforms provide a better experience regarding SEO. This does not mean you should stay away from Squarespace as it is a powerful tool for the folks who do not have much development experience. The drag and drop options and usability of the entire platform make creating a website quick and easy. In this article, we will discuss the inefficiencies of the Squarespace platform and the ways you can mitigate some of these effects on your own.
The first and most important aspect of the Squarespace platform is the coding of on-page elements. Google and other search engines use header structure to establish the most important keywords on the page. Our optimization starts with titles and custom meta descriptions but immediately moves to header and content optimization immediately after. In the Squarespace platform, the logos on each page are wrapped in an H1 tag. This will always be the first H1 a crawler bot reads and will always be noted as more important than the secondary header that has the opportunity for optimization. While Squarespace has said Google understands the way these H1 wrapped headers work, if we are comparing sites, one has two H1s, one has one H1, which do you think Google will rank?
As discussed a few times in past blogs, URL structure has an impact on your rankings. You should look to implement keywords in your URLs where possible. With the way Squarespace uses built-in domains, there can be major problems for SEO performance. We know that each domain establishes it’s own value, and while Squarespace sets up canonical tags for each URL from the built-in domain, you can still run into problems with one cannibalizing the other. Trailing slashes (https://www.firestarterseo.com vs https://www.firestarterseo.com/) also have a large impact on SEO as each one is treated like a different URL. While Squarespace says it has fixed these problems, there is still some confusion as to actually how. WordPress creates permalinks for each page that are then set as canonicals so as not to compete with different versions of the same page.
Site Speed and Performance
The site speed and performance on Squarespace websites are right in the middle of the road. They do not blow performance out of the water, but they are not painfully slow either. The themes and implementation do not really lend themselves to well-performing metrics related to site speed and server responses. This has a pretty large impact on SEO if we are comparing faster sites built on other platforms to a site built in Squarespace. The main way to keep your site speed as fast as it can be under the current constraints is to be intentional about pieces of media you are implementing on each page. Embed your YouTube videos so as not to slow your server response time, use properly sized images according to the way you want each page to display. You can also implement a content delivery network, or CDN to give users in different areas the information more quickly.
Squarespace is certainly not the best for SEO, but with the ease of use for those who do not have much coding knowledge, it is a great tool to use to spin a site up quickly. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about optimizing your Squarespace website or transferring a current site to WordPress, our preferred platform for SEO.