Squarespace SEO for Whitby Building Firm
For almost as long as the web has existed, software has existed which has tried to make the process of building a website accessible to those who don't want to spend time learning how to write HTML.
In recent years has been a new wave of such products and Squarespace has perhaps been the most well received and widely used.
A couple of weeks ago Whitby buidling firm asked me to help them with some SEO. They had built themselves a website using Squarespace but were failing to get the ranking they wanted in order to generate enquiries and gain new customers.
Squarespace makes it easy to collaborate on a project, and so Jamie added me as an administrator of their website and I set to work.
Optimising a Squarespace website is really just the same as optimising any other website. The same rules still apply.
Optimise Page Names, Titles and Headings
Primarily, Google is bothered about the words you use on your website. To this end I often recommend that my clients are specific when speaking about the thing they want to be well ranked for. In this instance I was able to change a lot of page titles and headings to more 'searchable' terms.
For instance, the website's main title was 'N.Y. Developments'. This is a perfectly normal title given that this is the name of the company. However, it doesn't tell Google anything about what the company does. I changed this heading to 'Whitby Builders' which ties the service the company provide to the geographical area they work within.
Google also likes to see quite a lot of text on each page. Originally the website presented a list of services, but with no descriptions. I wrote a description of each of the building services offered and also included relevant images to illustrate each item. This took the word count on their Services page from around 50 up to over 500 - which gives Google far more content with which to determine how to rank the site.
Use a Blog
N.Y. Developments had included a Projects page within their website, but had only included a few images and no text content. I implemented Squarespace's blog feature and wrote up some of their building projects into short blog posts. Structuring the website like this gives a number of benefits:
- Content is permanent - there's no need to remove old projects in order to make room for new ones
- Each post can include as much or little content as required
- Jamie can link to individual posts from social media or in an email in order to share specific projects with clients - like this farmhouse renovation in Robin Hood's Bay, for instance
Local Directory Indexing
Another aspect of SEO is often called 'off-site SEO'. This refers to things such as links to websites from external sites, local busines directories for instance. In order to generate a few links to nydevelopments.com I registered the site with a couple of free local business directories.
I also recommended that Jamie setup a couple of social media accounts for their company. These will give them a wider audience and more opportunity to share their work with potential clients. Google also likes to see social activity around a site - people sharing links, liking posts and so on - so social media accounts are vital for this to happen.
Monitoring and Performance
I registered the site with Google Webmaster Tools in order to get a bit more insight into how the website performs over time and get some suggestions for further ways to improve the site. SEO is a long-term project - unless you're willing to pay for adverts, getting to the top of the list for your preferred search term will take time. Our aim is that N.Y. Developments will gain a good ranking for terms such as:
Thoughts on Squarespace?
Squarespace does what it claims - it makes it fairly straight forward to build a website using a variety of drag and drop tools.
However, what it cannot do is provide the knowledge required to make your website a useful part of your marketing toolkit. In order to generate a good search ranking you need to know how to structure your site's content for best effect. You will also need to consider what words you use, what headings to use and how much to write in order to give your visitors (and Google) the right impression about your business.
Squarespace also fails to ensure good designs decisions are made. Whilst the templates it provides offer flexibility, the success of a new website is often in the detail which can only be learned through years of experience designing and building websites. What images should you use? How should this page be layed out? How do I ensure unoformity across every page? What colours are good? How should I link between pages? And so on...
If you're really strapped for cash Squarespace and the like are a good place to start. But remember, when you hire a website developer you're not just engaging with a design professional, we also have the knowledge, skills and experience required to make your website a success.