Squarespace SEO Best Practices: Blogging
I totally get it. Most people don’t want to blog, don’t know how to “write” posts or don’t have a friggin’ clue what to write about.
Well, I’m afraid if you want to have any kind of online presence, you need to get over it. #sorrynotsorry
Keep reading, because I’m about to tell you everything I know about why blogging helps with your website SEO, from my own personal experience.
(HINT: blogging is a “thing” for a reason, and more than just so everyone has a place on the internet to voice their innermost thoughts. 😉)
If you write a bunch of posts about what you already know, spreading the knowledge to others who are looking for it, then it establishes YOU as an authority in your field (over time, of course).
You can directly address problems your customers/audience has, either by asking them directly how you can help, or from experience dealing with the same types of people & hearing their & fixing problems over a long period of time.
It’s a way to create a network of links throughout your website and use organic search terms throughout your posts, –both are things that Google wants to see.
Blogging can allow you to address frequently asked questions, in article-form. If a client ever has a question, you can point him/her to your article about that topic & quit repeating yourself as often. #amIright? 🙌🏻
You’re not just building authority, you’re also building KLT (= know, like, and trust) with your readers.
Consistent blogging keeps your site updated & relevant, which will help your Google ranking over time. Google wants to know that your site is active before it starts referring people to you.
BUT….I’ll give too much away!
FALSE. No es verdad, mi amigo.
While I do know a teensy bit of Spanish from my high school & college years, I can’t speak for everyone or every business type. For service based businesses like my own, there are 2 types of people in my audience: 1) DIY-ers, and 2) Non-DIY-ers.
So how’s that actually relevant?
TYPE 1: DIY-ers
These people want to learn how to do it themselves and they are only looking for a way to do just that. They were never going to pay you to do/make that thing, so you might as well be there to show them how you do it. Whether that’s through courses, shop items, download-ables like an ebook/pdf, or blog posts (etc.).
TYPE 2: Non-DIY-ers
These people either don’t have the time or the patience to do it themselves. They were never going to learn how and TBH they’d rather pay you to handle it for them. #nojudgement
10 Best SEO Practices for Blogging:
Kill two birds with one stone: use each post to genuinely help your audience, while also giving Google more information to help categorize & sort your site in their search engine.
1) Use keywords organically in your titles
We already talked about this in the first SEO series post, but to reiterate: USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR BLOG POST TITLES. 😂
Optimize your titles by injecting keywords naturally, or use trendy title teasers like “# Ways to…” or “How to…”
If you want some great examples of click-bait titles, go look at Buzzfeed. Marie Forleo said in a podcast with Amy Porterfield (about copyrighting; you should really check it out! Link below) that Buzzfeed requires their writers to write something like 40-50 post titles for EACH article before choosing the one they end up using. WHOA.
I totally don’t do that, but Marie Forleo does! She said she writes around 30 titles for each post, because you (typically) don’t come up with the winner until #24 or #29. She’s a powerhouse entrepreneur with a mega-huge online presence, so I guess that’s something I’ll take a whack at myself!
For some inspiration, use a Blog Title Generator (FREE)
2) Optimize your images
We talked about how to do this last time, so I won’t bore you with more techy stuff now. To read about how YOU can optimize your images (even if you don’t have Photoshop), go read my last post. (But please come back to finish this one too!)
3) Check your spelling + write like you speak
Here’s a fun little tip: download the Grammarly extension for Chrome. It checks as you type & offers suggestions to fix your errors. It also checks for contextual spelling issues for all those annoying English words that are nearly the same like they’re, their and there. (Google cares about this stuff more than you realize.)
Also: throw all your english rules out the window. Don’t write like you would for an essay you’re submitting in college. That’s BORING.
Write like you speak. Use fragments if you want. Whatever you do, just make sure it sounds like you IRL, or as close to it as possible as you work toward that goal.
I’ll be the first to admit that my own copy sucks. I’m working on it, I swear! But, this is a tip I’ve heard from all the greats: Marie Forleo, Amy Porterfield, Jenna Kutcher, Ashlyn Carter, and so many more. So I’m not dreaming this up.
It WORKS (when ya get it right).
4) Size matters
(Heh. Heh. Heh. 😏)
So, blog post lengths are not from a set in stone number. I’ve heard everything from:
keep it to about 3 paragraphs (that’s like … 300 words or something!)
keep it under 800 words, MAX
keep it under 2000 words, around 1800 is recommended
obviously, who the hell knows.
Okay so, from my own experience, the length of your post will depend on your topic.
If you’re writing a tutorial, make sure you cover all the basics so it’s detailed & complete. (Remember, you’re trying to help people with the posting of that content, so make sure you actually are.)
And if you’re writing a blurb about a commonly asked FAQ then just address it however you need to, but make sure you don’t blabber on with irrelevant info.
K.I.S.S. = Keep it simple stupid.
5) Internal links
To use internal links the right way choose your anchoring text wisely. That means:
DON’T: To read more about Using Keywords for SEO, click here.
(Notice where the link actually is and what words are in the link.)
But how do you know when to include what? If you write a blog about your favorite Pecan Pie recipe, then make sure you sprinkle links throughout that post that go to other relevant posts (like other pie recipes, or more recipes that use nuts). This helps keep people on your site longer so you can help them more.
Joanna Gaines’ recipe for Spiced Pecan Pie in her Magnolia Table cookbook is LITerally to die for. O.M.F.G.
I digress. Moving on! 😂
6) Internal hierarchy
You can help Google figure out how to read your post, by using formal words like First, Secondly and Finally.
You can choose whether to do this one or not. Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t. It depends on how natural it sounds as I’m formatting & writing the post.
7) Use your subheadings + formatting options
Use your H1, H2 and H3 choices to break up the text in your post and make it interesting to read. This also makes the content more organized for those of you who skim through it looking for something specific.
Don’t know what your H1, H2, and H3’s are? If you use Squarespace, they are your ‘font choices’ from the text block menu, in the dropdown that says “Normal” by default.
For this part to make sense, you will need to make sure you already have them chosen in a way that makes sense in a hierarchy.
Bleh. That didn’t make sense, did it?
What I mean is: in your Style Editor within Squarespace, make sure you have already chosen the largest/boldest font style option for H1, the second largest/boldest for H2, and the third largest/boldest for H3.
The smallest should be your content or paragraph text (“Normal”). (That doesn’t include Meta text; I like to make mine smaller & lighter colored than the other stuff just for a cleaner, less cluttered look.)
To format your content, break it up with the subheadings, but also use images, bulleted or numbered text, quotes, indentations, etc. to make sure your content doesn’t look boring to read (even if it actually is boring to read).
If it looks boring, no one will be dying to read it. #youknowimright
8) Watch your permalinks
Don’t let Squarespace auto-generate these by using the date+category+title+etc. Choose it yourself or pick a title for the post wisely, knowing it will use that in the permalink.
What’s a permalink? That’s the part of the URL that sends people directly to that blog post page. For example, this blog’s permalink extension is: /squarespace-seo-blogging instead of /2018-10-Squarespace-?=03_squarespace-seo-best-practices-blogging.
See what I mean? Clean up those suckers!
Where can ya find it? It’s in the Options tab (at the top, labeled: “Post URL”) of that blog post’s settings and how to get to that, is shown in #9.
9) Use a post description
Even if you don’t ever see it on your site (i.e.: you uncheck the Description option in Summary Carousel’s for your blog posts, etc.), make sure you include one.
This helps Google, and if you ever do need it for a page layout, it’ll be there hiding & useful. How do you include one?
In your blog post’s settings it’s under the Options tab at the bottom.
What I try (emphasis on “try”) to do is make sure the first couple short paragraphs include some reference to my blog post content &/or title, plus a teaser-y intro or interesting story. Then I copy & paste that into the Excerpt area for that post.
To edit a post without opening it, just click that entry from your Blog page (while logged into the backend of Squarespace) and click “EDIT” on the right side of the blog entry in the menu list.
OR, if that doesn’t make any sense you can also get there while you’re editing the post.
Click Settings in the upper right of the page editor menu, then click the Options tab in the pop-up. Excerpt is near the bottom of that section. (Make sure you save the changes before you go back to editing your blog post!)
10) Use Categories + Tags
Squarespace’s blogging platform gives you an easy way to categorize your posts and you should definitely be taking advantage of this!
Why? Google wants your content to be categorized. Plus it helps your viewers track down a specific post if you have it organized.
And on that note, to organize it even further for your audience, create a blog archives page so your readers can easily find what they’re looking for without scrolling through post after post, after post, …after post………after post…………… You see what I mean?
For more on blogging in the Squarespace platform, read these too:
LOL, that was a lot. I know. Again, #sorrynotsorry
Follow those Best Practices, and over time it WILL help your blog & website grow.