Squarespace Review: Can Squarespace Sites Rank With the Best of ‘Em?
Although the interface is pretty user-friendly, some people have started to notice that some Squarespace templates aren’t meeting their needs.
A big question we’re all wondering is, “Is Squarespace good for SEO?”
Even Moz founder and marketing guru, Rand Fishkin, who once endorsed the company years ago, has been doubtful of Squarespace SEO in some recent Twitter posts, sharing qualms about their customization abilities and even telling some followers: “I’d avoid them for now if SEO is important to your site’s traffic.”
Well, that’s concerning for those who are already using the site for domains, e-commerce, hosting, etc., but don’t fret, there are some tricks you can use. It’s all in the power of which Squarespace template you choose.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why some templates can be a real pain to work with, and we'll discover the worst and best Squarespace templates for SEO.
Why Not All Squarespace Templates Are Created Equal
Squarespace Page Description Options Vary Across Templates
Although Squarespace prides itself on making its interface easy for the average Joe Schmo to use, some of the simplicity hacks actually make it difficult to include important data that’s pertinent to help your site rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
For example, many Squarespace themes such as Pacific, Charlotte, Fulton, and many more will take your metadata and force it to appear over an image.
What exactly does that mean?
A meta description is a tag in HTML; it’s 160 character snippet that summarizes your page’s content.
In the image below, which was taken from one of our new client’s websites, you’ll see how the “Description,” or the page’s meta description, overlays the word “Services” on top of the header banner image.
This becomes a huge issue for some users, who do not want their page description to populate text content over their banner image because they can’t populate a full meta description.
With 160 characters to plant keywords and useful content for readers on search engines, Squarespace themes with these text/image overlays are limiting page descriptions and back-end data.
Sure, showing a hero image with simple text is fine and dandy for aesthetics, but it’s not helping this page populate information shown on SERPs.
We’ll discuss more about why meta descriptions matter after also learning that title options can also be different in each theme.
Squarespace Title Options Vary Across Templates
Fishkin of Moz had been quoted saying in his Squarespace review that “the inability to customize the titles and meta descriptions is a dealbreaker by itself” on a forum about Squarespace SEO.
So we heard about the descriptions. . .but what’s wrong now with the way Squarespace formats titles?
Some of the themes also display page titles over banner images.
Well, Jane Doe doesn’t want text blocking her lovely image, so she deletes that text and leaves that field blank.
Not adding any title text at all could really be hurting how your page is being crawled!
In combat of these issues, Squarespace has added many “Hide Page Title” or “Page Title/Description” tweaks.
What’s a tweak?
A tweak is a setting or option available in the Style Editor for some themes that allows you to change design elements.
Some templates that have tweaking options for hiding pages titles and descriptions include:
For a list of display options for each Squarespace template, check out their support article.
Why Do Titles & Meta Descriptions Matter?
There’s no arguing that the title of your page is a relevant ranking factor, but how important is your meta description?
In Squarespace, they call your homepage meta description the “Search Engine Description,” which can be found under Settings > SEO.
This is what someone sees under your homepage website title before they click on you in the search engine results after Googling you.
For example, when we took on Team Builder Recruiting as a client, they did not have a meta description filled out, so it pulled data to populate in the search engine results from elsewhere on the site in a sloppy way with no periods or commas and only seven words.
While meta description tags are not directly tied to search engine rankings according to Google, they tell searchers a little more about what they’ll be getting when they click on your result.
This is why it is important to have a meta description for each page on your website.
But wait, if meta descriptions are not weighted heavily for search engine ranking factors, why bother?
Simply because meta descriptions are a conversion factor more so than a ranking factor.
Meta descriptions are for your readers, those searchers who need a little bit more information about the result before the click it.
Google still bolds the keyword that was searched if it appears in your description, so that makes it pop out to searchers. Plus social media sites use these descriptions to populate the content in the posts you share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
See the example pulled from a Facebook post below:
Make sure you’re creating a unique description for each page so there’s no duplicated data in search results and so that those searching for you know what they will get when they click on your result.
The Worst & The Best Squarespace Templates for SEO
Squarespace Templates To Be Cautious Of
The following Squarespace templates can surface page descriptions or title tags over image banners and can basically make filling out metadata a real headache:
Some others can have text appear over the banners if certain options are checked or unchecked on the back end.
Does that mean all these themes are horrible? No.
Just make sure you do some reading and poking around to see if the template supports special styling options or what specific pages your metadata is visible on in each theme.
Like anything else, people have created workarounds.
You could hide the description in the banner within some themes by adding a slideshow gallery. Find more help on how to show a slideshow in the banner on Squarespace here.
These banner image “hacks” can take a lot of time and customization! If you’re dedicated though, read more about display options by template on their website.
It might be a real bummer to give up your current theme for a different one, but honestly, there are tons of better Squarespace templates that will make using titles and page descriptions easier.
The Best Squarespace Templates for SEO
Here are just SOME of the templates which do not publicly surface the textual information on the page and can give you the ability to utilize your full Squarespace SEO potential:
Some others include: Feed, Foster, Greenwich, Hatch, Heights, Hunter, Hyde, Jaunt, Juke, Keene, Lincoln, Maple, Margot, Marta, Mentor, Mercer, Miller, Mojave, Moksha, Motto, Nueva, Polaris, Rally, Rover, Sofia, Sonny, Sonora, Thorne, Wav, West, Farro, Haute, Forte, Galapagos, Ishimoto, Native, Skye, Foundry, Indigo, Ready, Tudor, Supply, Wells, and Wexley.
There are a lot more SEO friendly Squarespace templates than just those as well. For a complete list of how these Squarespace themes use page descriptions, head on over to their website.
Once you’ve made the switch, make sure you fill out a description with your keywords on each page and remember to add your keywords in your URL Slug as well.
Utilize best practices for optimizing your on-page copy and be on your merry way to rocking the search engines.
Is Squarespace Good For SEO?
Before you throw in the towel and ditch the Squarespace site, understand that just like anything in life, there are ways to play smarter.
Can Squarespace sites rank?
Are there helpful things you should know about their templates to help you optimize your site?
This Squarespace review for SEO just touched upon the title and meta description debate but there are so many other ways that you can optimize your site for search engines.