Squarespace, a popular NYC-based company, has been providing a do-it-yourself platform for creative professionals, businesses, bloggers, and even web developers to easily create/edit/host a website since 2004.
A year ago this time, Squarespace announced Squarespace 6. As a Squarespace user who had not updated and an Econsultancy contributor, I decided to dive in and catalog a few SEO pointers from their great support staff in order to paint a picture of what it's like using 6, and with an eye for SEO.
What's new in 6?
According to the company founder Anthony Casalena: 6 "incorporates a totally redesigned consumer editing experience, backend site manager, and template system." I used Squarespace 5 to build my website when I first started doing consulting work, and while I can attest to its ease-of-use, it did start to feel a bit stale as improvements in technology like HTML5 and CSS3 began to reverberate around all of us on the web.
6 has also been lauded by technology press for being the most "developer friendly." While opening up on a technical level has helped Squarespace to compete with the likes of Wordpress, I won't dwell on that side of things in this post.
Templates have been much more thought out and tailored in advance to specific needs. For example, the template "Marquee," features the parallax effect and is recommended for image-rich websites.
Just how easy is the importer for 5 customers?
I had about a 15 minute run through with a Squarespace communications representative on some of the tips provided below. She then encouraged me to pick a theme from 6 (SEO TIP #1 -- the template "Five" is recommended by Squarespace and myself for a site where news/text updates will be updated and featured heavily) and import my existing Squarespace 5 pages and content through a simple web importer tool.
Getting the pages into 6 and organized in the same familiar structure took I think around 10 minutes in total. I spent maybe an additional 5-10 minutes to go through and correct small spacing/formatting errors, but if you are a Squarespace user, you already know how easy this is.
Content for discoverability in 6
Squarespace 6 features more automation in pulling in information from sites around the web, which is great for SEO purposes. For example, there is no video hosting on the site, however, by just inserting the link for a YouTube or Vimeo video it will get the summary and keyword data for you to prep for sharing on your social channels and have on page.
The ability to customize layouts through simple content blocks (video/image/text) allows you to have a custom flow of content on any existing page in a very quick and easy to understand manner.
SEO Tip #2 -- When dragging/dropping images for placement, remember to click in the text box and quickly rename the file name in line with your website's topic. The more content that is discoverable and indexed as keywords and not long strings or meaningless numbers, the better.
Squarespace offerings for easing SEO
Squarespace has been publishing sites on the web for a decade, and includes all known best practices for SEO without the need for additional plugins. The platform produces pages with clean HTML markup that is easily indexable by search engines.
All primary pages on a Squarespace website contains clean URLs that are easily indexed and read. In addition, Squarespace supports Google AuthorRank to improve search listings for articles on Squarespace.