Is Building My Photography Business Website on Squarespace Good for SEO?
Squarespace for Photographers
I get this question all the time. Of course you want to know that after spending hours of your time and possibly money on building a new website for your photography business on Squarespace that people are going to be able to find you on search engines like Google.
A lot of people are told that Wordpress is best for SEO or that Squarespace can’t compare, but this is misleading. Very little of your ranking ability has to do with the platform you choose... I'll explain why.
What is a CMS?
A CMS or Content Management System is a platform that allows you to build your site with a user-friendly interface where you can easily edit content and make adjustments without dealing with a lot of code. It keeps all your pages organized and usually offers template options designed to make your life easier.
Squarespace, Wordpress, Showit, and Wix are all examples of content management systems. Most content management systems have themes or templates. Squarespace has a wide variety of templates to choose from developed by their team, specifically for their CMS.
This assures you that your templates are going to work properly and that they are backed by professional support. Each template is 100% customizable and you can make everything from small CSS (style) changes to a complete layout overhaul with their developer platform.
Wordpress on the other hand has thousands of third party themes and anyone can design and sell them. This is nice because you have almost unlimited options, but you have to rely on those third parties for support. You really want to make sure you've done your research and that you trust any company before you purchase a theme.
Why are we talking about content management systems? Because the most important thing for SEO is the content/code that makes up your website. At the end of the day all of these content management systems are made up of base code and you add your content on top of it.
As long as the base code for the CMS is clean and fast, what really matters is what you add on top. Both Squarespace and Wordpress are examples of clean, SEO-friendly platforms. Even platforms like Showit have improved over the years as they’ve recognized the demand for better SEO.
Combining SEO and Web Design
Good design does not (necessarily) equal good SEO. The number one problem I see is that people sign up for Squarespace, choose one of their beautiful, minimalist templates, plug in their content and wonder why they aren’t being found by Google.
It’s not that simple.
The problem with these beautiful, photography focused designs, is that Google has no idea what your site is all about.
Google LOVES content. Content = words, not images.
Search engines are trying to serve their users by presenting them with the most relevant and useful content based on their search queries. Google is completely blind to images unless you add tags to each image explaining what it’s about.
If it’s unclear at all what your website is about, you are probably not going to rank very well for specific keywords, especially if other people in your area are specifically targeting those words.
The most important thing is to combine beautiful design and descriptive content. Don’t be vague. Write about who you are and what you do specifically. Who is your ideal client? What makes your photography business unique?
SEO and Your Squarespace Website
Start by understanding the SEO tools Squarespace offers: the ability to edit your page titles, meta descriptions, images alt text etc.
Don’t just target broader keywords like “Boston Photographer” but get detailed about who you want to reach and what potential sub markets exist in your area. Think about adding specific neighborhoods, suburbs, photography styles, etc.
The more specific you are, the more likely you are to attract your ideal clients while separating yourself from the competition.