While Squarespace has many built-in features that optimize your site for search engines, the words you use in your site content have a big impact on how easily people can find you online. To rank well in search results, it's important to include keywords (text) on your site that matches the search terms people use to find sites like yours. Using those keywords strategically helps search engines see your site as relevant to the people looking for those search terms.
This guide offers tips for making and refining a list of keywords to highlight in your site's content.
Tip: When creating a keyword strategy for your site, keep in mind our keyword best practices.
Types of keywords
Keywords fall into two categories:
- Head - Shorter keywords with a larger search volume, such as photographer, shoes, and ceramics. These target a wide audience, and are usually more difficult to rank for.
- Long-tail - These are more descriptive, multi-word search terms, like engagement photography nyc, red women's shoes, and glazed ceramic vases. These target more specific search queries, and may be easier to rank for.
Step 1 - Brainstorm a list
To start, create a list of keywords people might be searching for to find sites like yours. Don't hold back at this stage; you'll refine the list in the next step.
Here are some things to consider:
- Target audience - Think about the type of person you want to attract to your site. What do they want? What problems do they have? It might help to ask other people, like friends or coworkers, what they would enter in search engines if looking for your content or services.
- Your product - List each of your products or services, and add multiple words that describe it. Even if you don't sell items, your product is whatever someone receives by visiting your site, like information about parrots.
- Your brand - List words that describe what your site and brand is about, like your company name, your industry, and your specialities.
- Competitors - Take a look at your competitors' websites. What words do they use? What words do they avoid? What words do you search for when looking for their sites?
- Synonyms - Think of different ways of saying any of the keywords on your list. For example, 4th of July, Fourth of July, July 4th, July 4, and July Fourth are all different keywords.
- Related words - Type the words you've come up with in Google, and see what related searches it suggests. Add these to the list if they relate to your site.
If your site is already established, use these built-in tools to see the keywords your visitors already use:
- Visit your Search Keywords panel to see which keywords are already driving traffic to your site.
- Visit Site Search Keywords Analytics to see what visitors are searching for on your site.
Step 2 - Refine the list
Use the list that you created in Step 1 to figure out which keywords to prioritize. Usually, you're looking for keywords that are:
- Broad enough that people will actually search for them.
- Specific enough that you could potentially rank in the first page of search results.
- Relevant to your site and can be used to create valuable content and a great visitor experience.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Difficulty - A keyword's "difficulty" is a combination of how broad it is, how often people search for it, and how many other websites are trying to rank for it. While you may want to try for a couple of difficult keywords, it's smart to mix in keywords that are easier to rank for as well. A good place to start is the Google Ads Keyword Planner.
- Relevance - Avoid keywords that don't relate to your site or have very low search volume.
- Current keywords - If your site is already established, you may want to keep keywords that are already performing well. You can see these in the Search Keywords panel.
- Your company name - If your company doesn't rank well when you search for it by name, you may need to make that keyword a priority.
Tip: If you aren't sure how many keywords to focus on, start with a list of three head and seven long-tail keywords.
Step 3 - Add keywords to your site
Search engines look at where keywords appear on your site, and they prioritize some areas over others. Here are good places to add your keywords, in order of importance:
- Site domain
- Site title
- URL page slugs
- SEO title and page title
- SEO site, page, and item descriptions
- Headings (eg, heading 1, heading 2, heading 3)
- Body text
- Captions and titles for Image Blocks, Gallery Blocks, Gallery Pages, and gallery sections
- File names for files and images
- Alt text
Tip: Add keywords in a clear, natural way that makes sense to humans. "Keyword stuffing" is off-putting to visitors and may count against you in search engine results. See Keyword best practices for more help.
These areas don't affect search engine ranking, but do help in other ways:
- Search engine and page descriptions - Add compelling keywords to the description meta text that may appear below the site title in search results.
- Tags - Tags help visitors navigate and find things on your site.
Step 4 - Track results
It may take time for these changes to your site to have an effect on your search engine ranking.
- How often search engines index your site is outside our control, but you can request an index with Google and Bing to help these search engines find your new content.
- After the new content is indexed, it still may take a while for your ranking to change. The ranking is based on many factors, and keywords is just one part of it.
Here are some ways to see whether your keyword strategy is having an impact over time:
- Your site's analytics tools - Visit your site's Search Keywords panel and other analytics panels, such as Activity Log and Traffic, to track the impact to your site traffic and search engine ranking.
- Google Analytics - Use our integration with Google Analytics for more visitor tracking and reporting.
- Search engine rankings - In a private or incognito browser, add your keyword to search engines like Google and Bing to see your ranking (placement in the list of results) and how it changes over time.
Your keyword strategy should be an ongoing and ever-evolving project. As time passes, continue to check your rankings, replace low-performing keywords, update your content, and track your competitors and visitor activity to ensure your site stays relevant.
Tip: Keyword strategy is just one part of SEO. Review our other tips for increasing your site’s visibility to search engines.
Creating content from keywords
If you don't have anywhere on your site that directly relates to a keyword or phrase you want to rank for, you can use it as inspiration for adding more content.
To get started, think about the keyword, and consider:
- What is a person searching for that phrase trying to achieve?
- What could you provide on your site that would interest them?
- How can you link from the new content to other areas of your site?
- What content about this already exists on other sites, and how could you approach the topic differently or better?
Tip: One way to incorporate keywords in new content is to add a blog and focus each new post on a single topic. Blogging regularly can also help search engines see your site as active.
When will I see results?
It may take time for these changes to your site to have an effect on your search engine ranking. Keyword optimization is a long-term, ongoing process, and ranking depends on many factors, including how visitors interact with your site.
For best results:
- Focus on providing good content and using keywords strategically.
- Track your keyword performance to fine-tune your strategy over time.
- Encourage Google to index your changes by requesting an index after significant updates.
- Be aware that it's normal to see fluctuations in rankings after making changes to your site.
The role of paid search
Paid search is when you create ads that appear in search results. In Google, for example, these appear at the top of search results for specific keywords, with a label to show that it's an ad.
Although these can certainly drive traffic to your site, they don't contribute to your site's SEO. Even if you're doing a paid search campaign, it's a good idea to optimize your site so your organic ranking performs well.
Tip: If you're interested in paid search, see if your site is eligible for a Google Ads credit.
SEO strategy falls outside of the scope of Squarespace Customer Support because search engine technology frequently changes and everyone's marketing needs are unique. While we're unable to provide specific SEO advice through email and live chat, there are other ways you can get more SEO help:
- Attend an expert-led Growing your Audience webinar.
- Get advice from the community in the Squarespace Forum.
- Choose the Squarespace Select plan for premium account management with Squarespace, which includes SEO consultations.
Tip: Hire a Squarespace Expert to build your site with SEO in mind. Learn more about the expert services available through Squarespace Marketplace.