Squarespace is well-regarded for our search optimized design, but switching content management systems can cause your site's search ranking to dip. This is true no matter what platform you choose, Squarespace or otherwise.
By following some best practices and continuing to optimize your site's SEO, you can reduce the effect of the migration and potentially help your site's performance in search results in the long run.
Before you move to Squarespace
The primary reason switching platforms might affect your SEO ranking is if your URL structure changes. Search engines referenced your previous site’s site map to identify your content. If other sites linked to you, they’re probably using your old URLs. If these URLs change suddenly, your rank might be affected. With some preparation, you can minimize any damage.
While your old site is still online, we recommend cataloging your site’s URL structure in a spreadsheet. After you’ve moved your content to your new Squarespace site, you’ll see which URLs are different and create 301 redirects to help search engines keep track of your content.
Here's an example URL tracking spreadsheet. You’ll fill in the last column when your Squarespace site is complete.
|Old URL||301 Redirect?||New URL|
Keep your domain name
If possible, keep your current domain name. If your domain is hosted by another provider, you can transfer the domain to Squarespace. You can also keep the domain with your current provider and connect it to your Squarespace site by following a process called domain mapping.
It's a good idea to keep your domain consistent so visitors and search engines looking for your domain can still find it. You can also register new domains through Squarespace, including a free domain for the first year of service on an annual plan.
Match URL slugs
Matching URLs will help preserve inbound links to your content. For example, if your old site's About page was at yourdomain.com/about, use this same URL on Squarespace. Otherwise, if your new About page was at yourdomain.com/about-us, anyone visiting the /about URL would get a "404 Page Not Found" error.
You can update URLs in page settings. For help with this, visit URL slugs.
Use 301 redirects
Even if you're using the same domain, some URLs might not match due to differences in how Squarespace structures URLs and your old site structured URLs.
For example, if blog posts on your old site used the URL structure www.yourdomain.com/title-of-your-post, your new Squarespace site will use the format www.yourdomain.com/blog/title. You can make sure anyone using the old format, or links using it, are redirected to the right content by setting up 301 Redirects.
To set this up, visit Creating URL redirects.
Create a custom 404 page
A 404 Page is what visitors will see when they enter an incorrect or non-existent URL. Squarespace provides one automatically but you can create your own to let visitors know you recently changed platforms or offer additional guidance. For help with this, visit Creating a custom 404 error page.
Use Search Tools
After you've migrated your content and created redirects for your URLs, you can use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to request an index of your site. This will let you see if there are any additional errors that need to be addressed.