Are you looking to build a website for your new business? Or do you need a new website as part of your rebranding project? If you are, then someone has probably suggested either WordPress or Squarespace to you. These two website builders are famous for their SEO capabilities. But which of these platforms actually performs best for SEO optimisation?
In this article, We will explain what SEO is (briefly), and then we’ll give you the lowdown on the SEO WordPress vs Squarespace conversation. We’ll also concentrate on a few key SEO features and show how they roll out in each of the platforms.
What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a content marketing strategy that marketing specialists use to increase traffic on websites. They do this by optimizing a website so that it ranks higher on a search engine results page (SERP). A higher SERP ranking means more people will see your listing and this, in turn, results in more traffic on your site.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is web publishing software that gives you everything you need to create websites and blogs. It is a Content Management System (CMS) that makes it easy for beginners and experts alike to create and manage their sites or blogs successfully. WordPress was built in 2003 and was originally just for creating blogs.
Since then, the software has rapidly expanded to cover many other forms of web-based content. You can use WordPress to create online stores, eCommerce sites, business pages, portfolio websites, forums, events; the options are endless! WordPress is excellent for both small and large businesses because it’s easily customizable – there are several themes that you can choose from to match your brand.
More importantly, WordPress itself is free to install and use; however, you will have to pay for the plug-ins that you want to use.
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is a website and online shop system that allows you to build professional-quality websites without even having any programming experience.
At the same time, the user-friendly CMS allows you to change or add content quickly and easily.
You can start out on Squarespace with a standard template and can then customize it as you wish. Squarespace aims for you to have a good-looking, functional website up and running within hours.
Squarespace is particularly suitable if you don’t feel like having to set up thousands of things first: The system is designed so that you can get started quickly, yet you are presented with an extremely chic design.
The platform is also well known for the beautiful website template designs it offers. There are over 60 templates you can use for various types of websites. You can equally use Squarespace to build a website, an online store, a portfolio website, or a blog. For all of these, Squarespace comes with in-built marketing tools that help you to grow your business.
WordPress vs Squarespace – SEO Comparison
When it comes to choosing a website builder, one of the main things to consider is the SEO capabilities of the platforms available. Let’s face it; there’s really no point in building a website if there’s no traffic coming to your site.
But, if your website doesn’t appear on the first or at least the second page of search engine results, then the chances of generating traffic are low. That’s where SEO comes in. And that’s also what makes it so crucial to choose a website builder that is SEO-friendly. WordPress and Squarespace are two of the most popular web builders available, and they both rank highly for SEO.
Since 2003, when they were both created, WordPress and Squarespace have been competing almost neck and neck for pre-eminence. Although they are both SEO-friendly, they are not the same, and they both offer their benefits to users in distinct ways. Keep reading to find out more about WordPress vs. Squarespace SEO benefits.
1. Accessibility of SEO tools
WordPress and Squarespace both have tools for Search Engine Optimization, but for each of these platforms, the tools are available in different ways. With Squarespace, SEO tools are already built-in to the platform. There’s no need to download or buy anything else – everything you need to optimize your website is right there in the original package. If it’s not there, then you probably don’t need it.
Apart from the SEO tools available, Squarespace also has practical guides on SEO and how to use the tools available to maximize your marketing strategy. WordPress is a little different. To install and use WordPress is entirely free. And even the free version automatically gives your website some amount of visibility on search engines, because all WordPress sites follow SEO best practices.
However, what WordPress offers you at this level is pretty basic. You need to do a lot more to make your website stand out in search results. To cater to this, WordPress offers various SEO plug-ins that you can download and use. Some are free, but most come at a small cost, usually as a one-off purchase. Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, and The SEO Framework are the most popularly used SEO WordPress plug-ins.
One of the most convincing reasons to use WordPress for your website or blog is that it’s known to be SEO friendly. For each one of your pages, WordPress automatically generates optimized codes and formatting that follow Google’s SEO best practices. This means that search engines will be able to find your website easily.
These plug-ins help you to optimize your website by adding keywords and meta descriptions. They also guide you through creating cornerstone content for your website.
2. SEO WordPress vs Squarespace: Ease of Use
When it comes to using SEO tools to optimize your website, Squarespace is the more accessible platform. All of Squarespace’s SEO tools and features are built-in and designed to be simple enough for the average person to use. You don’t have to worry about which plug-ins to download for the results you’re seeking.
WordPress, on the other hand, is more technical. It takes quite a bit of skill and learning to be able to maximize the available plug-ins. For beginners, this can be stressful, and probably not worth it if you’re just looking for a simple website.
Apart from being potentially stressful, using WordPress can be time-consuming. You have to install plug-ins for every single task and update them periodically. Squarespace does everything for you so that you can focus on your actual website and business.
3. Headings and Custom URLs
Are Headings Important For SEO?
On every website, headings are used to divide content into sections. This makes it easier for visitors to read the content on your page without being overwhelmed. Headings also have a role to play in SEO. Rather than go through the difficult task of reading all the content on your website to discover what it’s about, search engines simply use the headings on a web page to determine if the content on that page is relevant to the keyword entered.
There are different types of headings, and it’s essential to be conversant with them. First, there’s the overall heading or title of a particular web page, known as H1 (Heading level 1). Below that comes the section header (H2), which is the one you’ll probably use the most. Typically, you’ll be adding a section header every 300 words or so. From there, we have sub-section headers (H3 and H4), and so on all the way down to H6.
Squarespace only allows you to have headings from H1 to H3, while WordPress has headings from H1 to H6. With more headings, you can break up your content to make it easier to navigate. And, as we mentioned earlier, this is very good for SEO. You might have content further down on your web page which isn’t accurately captured by the overall title of the page, but the content matches the keyword that was entered into the search engine.
Without appropriate headings throughout the page, search engines will struggle to find that content at the bottom of your page. As you can imagine, that simply means that your website will probably not feature strongly among the search results.
Custom URLs (Uniform Resource Locators):
When it comes to URLs, it’s not breaking news that the choice you use for your webpage is a massive part of making that page optimized for search engines. A clear URL is far easier to find than a complex jumble of numbers and symbols. When you create a web page, the default URL will be precisely this jumble of numbers and symbols we’re talking about.
It’s up to you to edit the URL so that it’s easier to find. For instance, a blog post about fancy red dresses should be something like this: ‘www.yourblog.com/fancy_red_dresses’, and not www.yourblog.com/343jhjj45756860560564_fbdfdfh7.php!
When it comes to being able to customize your URLs in this way, WordPress and Squarespace are tied. They both give you the chance to do this for every webpage throughout your website.
4. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions are also essential SEO-related terms. The title tag is the title of the web page as it’s displayed in the SERP. For the most part, it’s also the title of your webpage, but it doesn’t always have to have the same title as the webpage. However, it should show what the page is about, and contain keywords to help search engines find your page quickly.
The meta description is a brief text that follows the title tag. It’s a message that tells the world what your write-up has in store for them. You want your meta description to be brief, so search engines don’t cut your text short. Imagine if your text is cut short right before the part that would ultimately get someone hooked!
Your meta description should also contain keywords relevant to your content. Squarespace allows you to attach title tags and meta descriptions to both websites and blogs. WordPress, on the other hand, gives you the freedom to attach title tags and meta descriptions throughout your website on any page.
This means that your bog or website stands a high chance of featuring prominently on search results, regardless of which platform is used, as they both offer very similar features.
5. SEO WordPress vs Squarespace: Mobile Responsiveness
These days, everything is done on-the-go. This is why smartphones and tablets have become more of a necessity rather than a luxury. Most people would automatically reach for their phones to search for something on Google, even when there’s a laptop or desktop computer available nearby.
A study by Statista shows that 52% of all internet searches in 2018 were made on mobile devices. And the figure for 2020 will almost definitely be higher. With such a high figure, it’s easy to understand how important it is for your website to adjust to fit mobile device screens. Squarespace automatically does this for all its sites, so you don’t have to think about it.
Once you create a Squarespace website, it is immediately reformatted to fit mobile, tablet, and desktop sizes. On the other hand, WordPress is automatically optimised for mobile if you use the right themes and templates. But if this doesn’t work, there are various plugins available.
6. SEO WordPress vs Squarespace: Page Speed Optimisation
Another factor that determines your website’s rank on search engines is page speed. Page or site speed is simply how long it takes for a website to respond to web requests.
Generally, people spend less time on sites that take a long time to load, and search engines consider this. As part of its simplicity and ease-of-use campaign, Squarespace chooses to deal with page speed automatically. Presumably, to make things simple for its users. But this could be potentially unhelpful.
If you find that your Squarespace site’s page speed is not to your satisfaction, unfortunately, there are a limited number of remedies. WordPress, on the other hand, has SEO plug-ins that you can use to adjust page speed manually.
A sitemap is a map of your website, used by Google to store all the different URLs on your website. But how does this help with SEO? If a search engine can tell how your website is structured and the various sections it contains, it can more efficiently and effectively lead people to the pages relevant to their searches.
For all Squarespace subscription plans, a sitemap is automatically generated for every website. Things are slightly different on the WordPress end. Only subscriptions for the Business Plan and higher have automatically-generated sitemaps. It’s essential to add that even though Squarespace automatically creates XML sitemaps, they cannot be edited.
Which is Best for SEO WordPress vs Squarespace: Price Comparison
After reading the comparison of the SEO features above, you may feel ready to make a decision. Before you do that, you might want to take a moment to compare the costs of the two platforms. For Squarespace, all you have to do is choose a plan, make your payment, and then you have access to all the tools and features that the platform has to offer. From hosting, to design templates, to website analytics – all of it comes with the package.
WordPress is different because you have to install plug-ins for anything you want to edit on your website. And these plug-ins are not necessarily free. The cost of installing the different plug-ins you need can add up over time, so it’s worth totalling up the cost of all the plug-ins you might need.
WordPress tends to appeal to the more technically-minded, and so plug-ins are not seen as a big learning curve. However, for the newbie, navigating different interfaces for all those different plug-ins can be very overwhelming.
Squarespace has four subscription plans that users can choose from. For each of them, you have the option of paying every month or an annual basis (for a discount, of course!)
1. Squarespace Personal
- $12 a month
- A free custom domain
- SEO features
- Variety of templates for every purpose
- Basic Website analytics
2. Business Plan
- $18 a month
- SEO features
- Unlimited Contributors
- Advanced Website analytics
- Sell an unlimited number of products
3. Basic eCommerce
- $26 a month
- No commerce transaction fees
- Customer account
- SEO features
- Merchandising tools
4. Advanced Commerce
- $40 a month
- Gift cards
- Premium Integrations
- Sell subscriptions
- Accept Donations
WordPress has several subscription plans as well – a free one and four others. All of the paid ones are charged per month, but billing is done yearly, in advance.
1. Free Plan
- No cost whatsoever
2. WordPress Personal
- $4 a month
- Great for personal use
- $8 a month
- Best for Freelancers
- Advanced Design Tools
- $25 a month
- Ideal for Small Businesses
- Custom Plugins and themes
- $45 a month
- Best for online stores
Which Platform is Best for SEO? WordPress vs Squarespace
As far as which platform is best for SEO – WordPress or Squarespace – they each have their strengths. WordPress is more suited to people who have some technical knowledge and are looking for advanced tools to manage SEO on their websites. In the opposite vein, Squarespace caters to the needs of the average creative person who wants a simple and yet professional way to create a website.
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