Our SEO partner Tom has created a very comprehensive step-by-step guide for optimising a website for SEO in Squarespace.
He used screenshots from Integrated Body Therapy site, run by Iwona, one of his SEO clients, so I am going, to first share with you what Iwona said about Tom. This way you can see he knows his stuff and gets results!
Iwona has said the following:
I have established an evidence-based clinic – Integrated Body Therapy in East London which focuses on manual body therapies including massage, soft tissue manipulation, nutrition, gut health, and detoxification techniques like colonic hydrotherapy (known as colonic irrigation) or fasting protocols. I work with a broad range of patients who suffer from chronic pain, and patients who want to address their digestive problems, detoxify their bodies or improve their general health via nutrition.
I’m working with Tom, who came highly recommended by a colleague, to enhance the SEO of my website so that Londoners can find it more easily online.
Having more patients in my clinic thanks to Tom’s help allows me to concentrate on my work and progress as a clinician and it’s an excellent long-term investment.
Now, Tom’s SEO for Squarespace steps:
I am Tom, I have worked with TLD for years, I help them with the SEO for their own website and some of their clients on an ad hoc basis. I choose to be an SEO partner of TLD because they produce great-looking well-developed websites for their clients, which provides a great starting point for SEO and conversion rate optimisation performance.
I had a new SEO client start recently, called Integrated Body Therapy, Iwona from IBT and I thought this would make a good example website for a how-to guide style SEO for Squarespace blog post, about how to try and rank for local SEO keywords using a Squarespace website.
This post will include step-by-step instructions based on the exact process I used when I started working on this website.
- Log in to Squarespace https://www.squarespace.com – Go to settings – advanced – code injection.
This is where you can add the google analytics, google tag manager or google search console code required to verify the search console for step 2.
- Create a Google search console account: https://search.google.com/search-console/about
For more information on how to do this, use these searches and Google provides nice step-by-step instructions
Add the site’s homepage url to the URL prefix, if verifying via Google tag manager of analytics code which is sometimes already added onsite by the website developer, this will automatically verify.
If not, this will provide the search console code – HTML tag to be copied into Squarespace header, shown in step 1.
- Login to Google Search Console
If this is a brand new Google search console account, you will need to wait at least 7 days before logging back in to give time for Google to start compiling some stats about your website.
If this is an existing search console account at least 1 week old, the next step can be done immediately.
Firstly, add each of the main pages of the website to inspect any url:
And hit return:
If the URL is not on Google, click request indexing.
Please note that Google does not index all pages onsite, however, they do index most thankfully.
It is usually a mixture of already indexed and nonindexed pages, for those already indexed by Google, can go to the next step.
Go to performance – full report
And for the pages already indexed, it will give a nice list of SEO search queries and pages which have appeared on any page of Google search, during the timeframe selected available. As discussed above the minimum is 7 days to get any kind of usable stats to help guide the SEO.
You can view SEO search queries by page:
This can help guide which SEO keywords to try and improve the rankings for on each page.
Unfortunately, if this is a very new website this data may not be available or for some older websites the on-page SEO may be insufficient to rank on Google at all, if this is the case the on-page SEO work is guided by the content on the existing web pages alongside the keywords you feel it would be good to get future visitors from.
If you are unsure about this, with or without the assistance of the Google Search Console performance queries, it is best to contact an SEO professional who can do some keyword research for you and provide a suitable list of SEO keywords to optimise for each page.
- Update the on-page SEO onsite via Squarespace
Go to Marketing – SEO appearance:
This is where the SEO title and description for the homepage are added. The SEO title contains keywords picked up by the search engine robots which help them rank higher on search engines. The description helps entice more clicks to the website when people see the websites listing on search engines.
Ranking on Page 1
This is IBT on page 1 ranking for the homepage for one of their local SEO keywords. Sometimes Google chooses to take a snippet from the page’s content to use for the description if they feel it will be more effective in enticing clicks.
To edit individual pages SEO titles and descriptions go to Pages – and click on the cog for the page you want to edit:
Places, services and more
This gives you the page settings, under SEO is where you can add the title and description.
For IBT the primary aim is to rank for the local areas, on this basis each treatment page is optimised for the main treatment the page is about alongside Dalston, Hackney, East London (Also covers London), London Fields, E8 – this covers 2 of the 3 locations treatments can be booked for.
The site might also rank for Bow, E3 and Victoria Park from the content added to the main page content, for example:
Visitors can see in the footer where to find IBT treatments which is also read by the search engine robots, for example:
This also appears for those who search for Bow.
How the SEO title is optimised depends on if you need to rank locally, nationally or both.
For example, a national business would just optimise for the primary keywords, sometimes using area keywords like the UK. Some websites choose to have both local area and national pages as they can serve local and nationwide customers.
For IBT some of their more specialist treatments such as colonic irrigation might entice customers to travel from further away in London, hence we optimise for East London / London as well.
Once the SEO titles and descriptions are optimised, can move on to the main page content, for most webpages the primary keywords will appear in the content written for the page already, so the page is clear to the visitor what it is about.
However, for some web pages this can be improved upon by adding new headings containing keywords, or adding new keywords to the content, the challenge is ensuring the page reads well for future visitors whilst having enough SEO keyword-friendly content for the search robots to rank on page 1.
In the case of IBT the homepage content was added to significantly to try and rank better for IBT’s most important treatment keywords. Iwona from IBT explained to me that she wanted to get more bookings for colonic irrigation treatments, on this basis it was decided to add some of the content from this page onsite: https://www.integratedbodytherapy.co.uk/colonic-hydrotherapy to the homepage.
The reasoning behind this is the homepage of websites can end up getting more SEO links than other pages onsite, this is because when others link to the site, they often do so to the homepage. SEO links alongside the SEO keywords in the webpage’s content, are 2 of the main reasons search engines like Google decide to rank sites on page 1 of search, hence taking this approach for this website.
It is important not to have the same content on 2 pages on the website, so the content on https://www.integratedbodytherapy.co.uk/colonic-hydrotherapy was set hide the page from the search results in the Squarespace page settings
This means the page is still accessible to those who browse the website, to read the content of the pages in full if they like, however, it does not get indexed by the search engines, to ensure the homepage ranks as high as possible, as soon as possible, for colonic-irrigation related SEO keywords.
Once the initial on-page SEO work is put in place, Google Search Console performance queries has a great compare feature:
This can be set to compare the previous 7 days, 28 days, 1 month, 3 months, etc whichever timeframe you prefer where data is available up to a maximum of 8 months. Google search console performance holds data for a maximum of 16 months as long as the website was added to Google search console at least 16 months ago.
Things like clicks, impressions – a search appearance anywhere on google.co.uk, average click-through rate, and average position can be used to see if the on-page SEO improvements have been effective or not.
Going too far
It is possible to over-optimise a webpage, this is where Google judges the page as having too many SEO keyword mentions and drops the ranking accordingly as they feel the webpage is trying to manipulate the search results rankings as opposed to providing the visitor with a good user experience in terms of content which is informative and enjoyable to read.
On this basis, I advise doing the SEO work in stages, that is adding more SEO keyword content in future weeks, months and in some cases years if required and giving sufficient time for the current well-written content containing keywords to start ranking well.
If you are unsure about this, this is another example where consulting an SEO professional to advise about what google search console performance shows and the best next-on-page SEO steps are, is advisable.
How long does it take?
SEO is organic, so it can take days, weeks, months, and sometimes years to reach peak SEO performance depending on the competitiveness of the keywords trying to rank for. If your website has more niche less saturated products, services, treatments, etc in terms of current online competition, make this the starting point for SEO work, as it is likely to rank higher at a faster pace because there are fewer existing competitors to try and outrank.
I hope you have found this post helpful, SEO is really easy once you know how, however to those without experience, it can seem quite daunting. If you would like to contact Tom with any questions about this post or to book an SEO consultation, both subject to his availability, you can do so by clicking here.