Yo! This post was originally written in 2016, there is an updated version of Squarespace SEO in 2019, check it out.
Sites rank well on Google regardless of which platform they are on. There isn’t SEO fairy dust sprinkled on either platform that pushes one higher on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) than the other….but they are not equal.
What are the Differences?
There are nearly 550,000 pages dedicated to picking apart the differences between Wordpress and Squarespace as website building platforms, I am not going to discuss those. Instead I am going to focus on their differences in regards to SEO and how the platform affects page rank.
Let’s start with WordPress.
WordPress and SEO
WordPress is an OpenSource Platform. OpenSource means that it is a community software. It is free to download, install, use and modify it. The source code is available for everyone to view, study, modify, play with and importantly add too. And people do. I couldn’t find a more recent article, but according this WordPress blog posted in 2014 there were over 29,000 plugins. Plugins make WordPress awesome.
The greatest WordPress Plugin for SEO is YOAST. It is free and is recommended by me and other industry greats like Neil Patel. In this article Neil includes Yoast as a plugin that no blogger should be without.
MOZ another famed leader in the SEO world says this about YOAST,
When you’re working with a self-hosted WordPress site, the Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most valuable tools you can have.
Shout Me Loud, a blog for bloggers also ranks YOAST as the top SEO Plugin.
Why, because it takes care of so much SEO related STUFF all in one plugin and it is really easy to use. Everything from precise control of post title and meta descriptions to content analysis to permalink clean up.
The Yoast SEO Plugin is a key component to giving WordPress sites a high page rank on SERPs.
Squarespace and SEO
Squarespace is not an opensource platform, therefore the YOAST plugin isn’t available on Squarespace. However Squarespace does have a lot of native SEO capabilities.
Lauren from Elle and Company has given the SEO capabilities of Squarespace a very positive review. She cites in her blog post that the Sitemaps, Search Engine Description and the Site Title Description were her top 3 favorite ranking tips.
You also can’t miss the huuuuuuge endorsement in the same post from Rand Fishkin, who is the CEO of Moz where he says,
Happy to give my $0.02. Basically, on SquareSpace 6 (the active version out now), I think they’ve done a solid job with SEO features and functionality.
In my research for this article, I came across a forum thread that bears mentioning.
I was reading on the Moz forums where someone was having issues with a Meta Description on Squarespace. A Meta Description is a block of content that summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show this meta description when the searched phrase is contained in the description, so having a well optimized meta description is very important.
The issue this user was having was that the Meta Description she was entering was showing up as “hero content” on a home page image and that there was no way to disconnect the meta description from the hero content, it was a feature of the theme.
Her work around was to add the meta description in the custom code area, however she now has two meta description tags (bad for SEO) and one is left empty (real bad for SEO). There is likely a fix but it would require the designer to customize the theme which she wasn’t able to do herself nor wanted to pay a developer for. The customization/SEO support was also not included in the standard support of Squarespace.
Squarespace has a lot of SEO capabilities, but does have SEO glitches.
Like I said at the start, sites rank well regardless which platform they are on. I prefer WordPress because the Yoast plugin makes it super easy to make sites, posts and pages optimized for SEO.
However if you really want to rank well on SERPs then you need to focus on these Core Areas, regardless of which platform the site is built on.
Keyword Research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in content marketing and growing your reach. Ranking well for the right keywords will grow your leads and will increase your revenue.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Content” open=”no”]Create keyword-rich content and match keywords to what users are looking for. Create fresh content consistently![/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Be Helpful” open=”no”]Write posts that clearly describe your content. Don’t ignore your titles, image alt tags, put descriptive keywords in all of your headlines.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Write long posts” open=”no”]The average word count for the highest ranked posts is around 2400 words and that is because they are helpful. Here is a long 🙂 but helpful post on Medium explaining the SEO advantage of writing long posts.I offer an SEO Audit and Competitive Keyword Research that will help you get more leads, get more revenue, and get more clients. An audit is an evaluation of the health and wellness of your website so you can grow bigger without spreading yourself too thin. So that you can rank well and be known for what YOU want to be known for.
If you want to move up the search pages and be found. Let’s get started.1