No one builds a website for the sake of building it. They do it so people can see it, especially readers who may be interested in purchasing the products or services that are on the website. So, the question that arises from this is: how can one make their website easy to find?
Well, through good SEO of course.
Let’s say for example that you sell the best dessert in Manchester. Having a website where you can promote or sell that dessert simply won’t cut it. You have to optimise it so that people find you – regardless of how or where you originally built it.
One of the most common misconceptions online is that with website builders like Squarespace, you can’t implement proper SEO. At least not as good as WordPress. However, with this article – we aim to show you that both Squarespace and WordPress are great mediums to work on your SEO efforts.
SEO: What is it?
SEO, short for search engine optimisation, is what *mainly* helps people find your website amongst the millions of other websites out there.
There are many elements that make up SEO. However, we won’t go through them all in this article. Elements such as keyword research and content aren’t all that different when comparing WordPress and Squarespace. However, differences arise when dealing with elements such as headings, URLs, and more (we’ll talk about these below).
So, if you want a more in-depth look at SEO, make sure to check these guides by our experts:
- Search Engine Marketing 101: Everything You Need To Know!
- SEO For Dummies: What You Need to Know to Dominate the SERPs
- The Complete SEO Guide for Beginners
- The Complete SEO Off-Page Checklist
- 10 Tips To Improve SEO Of WordPress
- Internal Links vs External Links: What’s The Difference?
- Common SEO Problems And How To Avoid Them
But for now, let us quickly delve into some elements that we’ll later discuss in our comparison.
Most people out there know what headings are. They organise your pages and make content more accessible for readers. It also makes it easier for search engines to crawl through your pages. For instance, on this page so far, “SEO: Squarespace vs WordPress” is H1 – the article’s title. “SEO: What Is It?” is H2, “Headings” is a subheading, so H3, etc.
An URL is what differentiates one page from another online. The more neat your URLs are, the easier it is for search engines to get a hold of your site’s structure.
Title tags, aka meta titles, are what appears on search engine page results (SERPs), as seen below in the picture. These titles are usually different from the titles of your actual website pages. However, they should mention what the page is about – still.
Meta descriptions are basically the bit of text that shows below the title of your page when it shows in SERPs. These usually provide a short and clear-cut summary of the page in no more than 150 characters. They can and should include your primary keywords. For instance, the meta description for this article will contain keywords such as SEO, Squarespace, and WordPress.
Some website builders allow you to do this without hassle – others require a bit of work.
These are just some points that are worth elaborating on. But your SEO efforts are not limited to them, they also include other elements such as image alt tags, sitemaps, SSL encryption, link building, and much more.
Anyway, let’s get on to why we’re here…
SEO: Squarespace vs WordPress
SEO: Squarespace vs WordPress: Introduction
Squarespace is one of the most popular website builders out there. It includes a wide selection of templates that users can use. It relies on an easy-to-use drop-and-drag editor to let you create your own website. So, you need little to no coding knowledge when using it.
WordPress, on the other hand, is a self-hosted CMS (Content Management System). In other words, once you create a website, you’ll have to start paying for things such as a domain name, hosting, and security. The platform is generally more complicated since you need to know how to code in order to make it work.
For the sake of having a proper comparison, we’re going to compare cases where both building and hosting a website take place on Squarespace and WordPress only. Of course, many people host their WordPress websites on a different hosting provider but each hosting provider has its own pros and cons so it’s difficult to compare. For ease, we’ll stick to WordPress hosting only.
Main SEO differences
- Headings: Squarespace offers H1s to H3s. WordPress offers H1s – H6s. WordPress is the clear winner here
- Content Creation: Another important element of SEO is of course content. And the difference between Squarespace and WordPress is that WordPress has many tricks that help create good content while Squarespace will help make it look good. We’re not saying the latter is bad when it comes to content creation, but WordPress is definitely more versatile with all its plugins
- Custom URLs: This one is a tie as both WordPress and Squarespace offer custom URLs site-wide
- Image alt tags: Squarespace only offers image captions. However, with WordPress, you can have image alt tags site-wide. Another win for WordPress
- Title tags & meta descriptions: With WordPress, both title tags and meta descriptions are available site-wide. Squarespace, on the other hand, only offers them on main pages (no blog pages for example). This obviously goes in favour of WordPress as well
- Sitemaps: Sitemaps are available on WordPress via the Yoast plugin. Similarly, Squarespace also offers access to them on all plans. This one goes to WordPress simply because plugins like Yoast make the process much easier and less manual (like Squarespace).
- Mobile responsiveness: Websites created on Squarespace will automatically be responsive on mobile devices. However, on WordPress, they need to be manually tangled to be made responsive. So, this goes to Squarespace
- SSL encryption: This should be bought separately if you’re using WordPress. But in the case of Squarespace, it comes with all the plans. So, the winner here is Squarespace
Squarespace is an all-in-one solution. In other words, it has plans that you sign up for and once you do, everything within that plan is available for you.
The problem with this is that there isn’t much more to it. You don’t really have an app store or something like that where you can pay more money to add more effective SEO tools. So, the platform can naturally feel a bit limited.
But with WordPress, you don’t need to pay for anything upfront if you don’t want to. However, if you really want to upgrade your SEO game, you’ll have to upgrade to the Business plan. This will set you off $25 a month and allow you to implement advanced SEO features.
Something like Yoast SEO for instance will give you access to numerous features that can help you claim the top spots on Google’s search results.
It’s all good and dandy to make SEO-related changes with the goal of improving your rankings. However, how do you go about checking if your efforts are making an impact?
And that’s where monitoring and analysis come into play. With Squarespace for starters, you get 2 options:
Squarespace’s analytics allows you to track the traffic coming to your site as well as its source(s). This allows you to see if your SEO work is resulting in more visitors or not. Plus, you can search for relevant keywords that were flagged as being associated with your website.
WordPress, on the other hand, doesn’t come with any built-in performance monitoring. However, connecting your WordPress website to Google Analytics is a few clicks away. And as you can imagine, Google Analytics will give you far more accurate and detailed insights.
So, while it’s apparent that Google Analytics is far superior to Squarespace Analytics, Squarespace still allows you to use it. In other words, no one is a winner or loser in this department but props up to Squarespace for giving you the option to monitor without having to integrate anything.
SEO: Squarespace vs WordPress: Cost
Many people think that creating a well-optimised website will cost you a lot. The truth of the situation is, it shouldn’t.
Squarespace for instance can cost anywhere from $16 to $49 a month – depending on your needs and the plan you go with. It has 4 main plans with only two focusing on e-commerce. The non-e-commerce ones are the less expensive ones – but still, they’ll give you all the caveats you need.
WordPress on the other hand only offers SEO tools on its most expensive plan – the $25 business plan. Plus, you’ll need to pay more money to add advanced SEO plugins. But with Squarespace, you get access to the built-in SEO tools regardless of what plan you go with.
So, if we’re being technical, Squarespace is a winner here simply because with WordPress – SEO-related additions can add up quicker than you think.
SEO: Squarespace vs WordPress: Conclusion
To conclude, Squarespace’s SEO is better for the less tech-savvy of you out there. It has a lot of neat SEO features built-in – and won’t cost you a fortune to use.
But, if you’re looking for a more advanced, dare I say complete website, WordPress takes the cake. While there are no built-in SEO tools, WordPress’s veteran status means that there is a plethora of true and tested SEO tools out there. The only thing holding you back is the business plan’s $25/month fee and the fees for the tools.
To put it simply, unlike what many die-hard WordPress fans claim, you can rank highly with the Squarespace website. However, if you’re looking for a more complete and advanced experience, WordPress is the way to go. It offers endless add-ons and plugins – both paid and free that allow you to do anything from keyword research, checking for broken links, improving your site’s cache and speed, and much more.
Let us help you build the best SEO-optimised WordPress website
If you’ve decided to build your website using WordPress, but found the process to be daunting, book a discovery call with us. One of our WordPress experts will chime in to show you how we can build you the SEO-optimised WordPress site of your dreams.