Congratulations on narrowing your choice down to Squarespace and WordPress, the two big players when it comes to DIY websites for businesses. You’ve likely heard great things about both brands, so it can be hard to decide which will be the better option for you. Now let us make the remaining decision easy for you.
Each service offers fantastic website-building services, so the key to making the big decision boils down to how well they handle search engine optimization (SEO). Without the ability to set up SEO properly or effectively, you may as well save your time and money building a website altogether. SEO is what gets you seen in web searches. Without it, you’re dead in the water. Your website is the face of your business, and we want to make sure you’re getting the best out of your software service.
In this article, we’ll be scrutinizing each service to determine which one wins for SEO so you can build a highly-optimized and efficient website. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of SEO, let’s look at what each brand offers its customers:
Squarespace: The Lowdown
Squarespace operates on a monthly subscription basis, with their lowest package at $12/month (if you pay annually). You’ll receive everything you need to build and maintain your website. The features you have access to include:
- Content management system
- Email marketing
- Domain name
The standard version of Squarespace is the most widely used and is designed for people with no web-designing skills. For experienced web-developers, there is also a developer’s version that gives access to source code, which can then be manipulated.
WordPress: The Lowdown
WordPress also operates on a monthly fee basis, though they offer a free version which is great if you want to try it out before taking the plunge. WordPress is also starts out fairly cheaper than Squarespace, with their lowest paid package starting at $4/month (paid annually). Where it differs from Squarespace is the option to add-on many third-party applications to enhance the website’s operation, aesthetics, and functionality. This means WordPress is more flexible than Squarespace as it allows the user to customize their website with additional tools and applications.
Like Squarespace, there are two versions of WordPress. Hosted and self-hosted. Self-hosted has the ability to modify the code and be customized to a larger degree than the hosted version.
Which is Best for Your Needs?
Squarespace is a fantastic option for those with little to no website building experience. All the functions are designed with ease-of-use in mind and limit the ability to “break” the website. The downside to this is that the options for customization are limited to what Squarespace offers.
WordPress requires a certain amount of learning to build an effective website. While it is possible for someone with extremely limited website building skills to create something out of WordPress, it will involve a steep learning curve to get there. The upside of this is the far more flexible options available from the 3rd-party app providers that enhance the functionality and feel of the website.
SEO Functionality Comparison
Now you have an overview of each service; it’s time to delve into what each has to offer when it comes to SEO. This is where you will really start to see differences between the two players and you’ll find it easier to make a decision about which service is best for your needs.
Ok, we’re going to level with you now. Website builders such as Squarespace have long been known for their SEO inferiority compared with WordPress. But wait! Before you dismiss Squarespace in the battle of Squarespace vs WordPress SEO, we’re going to tell you why the service is still in the running.
While it’s true that website builders such as Wix and Weebly are the absolute pits for SEO, Squarespace is surprisingly underrated. The important thing to know here is that users of Squarespace can and do hit the ultimate no1 spot in Google on a reasonably frequent basis.
It’s important to understand that to get the best out of SEO, you first need to familiarize yourself with SEO best practice. Squarespace users are not exempt from this. Squarespace is not a quick option for implementing an SEO strategy, but it will be worthwhile if you have the time.
The Pros of Squarespace SEO
Here’s what makes Squarespace worthwhile and head and shoulders above other platforms:
- User Control: Although this does require some technical ability (which, depending on your level of experience, could be viewed as a con), users can add or change code themselves. This is the key to applying advanced SEO techniques to get the best out of the platform. This level of control is a vital feature for ranking well with Google and getting seen in search results.
- Well-structured Interface: The basic SEO functions are super simple to use and easy to find and understand. All pages and posts have their own configuration boxes where users can add their SEO information. Squarespace uses its own simple terms so novices can understand the type of information they need to include. This makes it ideal for those who only want to engage with SEO on a light level.
- Integration with Social Media: This feature allows search engines to assess engagement and interactions on social media. With Squarespace, it’s seamless and sophisticated. And it will boost the perceived legitimacy of your website.
The Cons of Squarespace SEO
Here’s what’s not so hot when it comes to Squarespace and your ongoing relationship with SEO:
- Very Limited Plugin Ability: Unlike WordPress, you can’t harness the power of 3rd-party apps to assist you with your SEO. You are limited to Squarespace’s offering. If you don’t like what Squarespace offers in terms of SEO tools, there’s nothing you can do about it. Squarespace has introduced some 3rd-party apps, but they are for other website features. This could, however, be an area the firm improves in the future.
- Template Glitches: Squarespace can occasionally become wobbly and display SEO information on the live website. There may be no better way to look unprofessional online than having your website cluttered with random-looking information. There are fixes for this, but they tend to be painful.
- Not Suitable for Beginners: Even though the interface is spot-on for beginners, it will only take you so far. In contrast to the rest of Squarespace, to make the most of out their SEO offering, you need some base knowledge and experience of code to make your website’s SEO sing.
It’s a bit misleading to call this section “WordPress SEO.” We mentioned earlier that WordPress has the ability to use plugins and apps to make the most of the platform and optimize. There are, of course, plugins available for SEO. The undisputed champion of them all is Yoast.
Yoast is designed to make SEO easy for those with limited technical experience and has a configuration guide to ensure that you stay on track and get things right. Additionally, it has a built-in analysis tool so you can see how your chosen keywords and phrases are ranking.
The beauty of Yoast is that anyone can pick up and use it. One of its features is a “traffic light” system that shows how optimized each of your web pages is. Red is bad. Green is good. There are, however, some downsides to this, which we’ll cover in a moment.
The Pros of Yoast SEO
These are the things we love about this plugin:
- It’s Easy to Use: With the traffic light system and a checklist for requirements, getting your SEO right has never been more simple. If everything is lit up green, then your SEO is on-point.
- Yellow means you’re on the right track but could use some improvement. If it’s red, you need to knuckle down and get some serious SEO study in if your website stands any chance of beating your competition.
- Yoast Picks up Your Errors: To avoid content being overloaded with keywords, search engines usually allow up to 3% keyword density. Any more than this and you become a candidate for the spam folder. Yoast knows this and will alert you if your web pages are becoming bloated with keywords.
- It Integrates Well: Yoast integrates extremely well websites, both new and existing. It allows you to easily write titles and descriptions for your pages and posts.
The Cons of Yoast SEO
Nothing is perfect. Here’s what we think needs improving:
- Yoast Doesn’t Get Intent: Google has upgraded its search algorithms to include intent. This means that it considers not only the keywords you use but the kind of information being sought. Some searches are navigational, for example, while others are informational. Google is becoming better and better at spotting whether people want to compare features or compare prices. Yoast does not consider intent at all. So, it is prone to get keyword density measures wrong. This means your real-life results will be affected unless you take intent into account yourself.
- It’s Not Quite Enough: While the traffic light system is fantastic for beginners, it can become quite an obsession to get those little circles to turn green. But Yoast does not take into account any strategies or directions that you’ve chosen to take. Following the traffic light system could result in you using keywords that are inappropriate for your content or rendering the readability as less than ideal.
- You Have to Pay for Premium: At its basic level, Yoast is free. When you get to the point that you require more advanced features, you have to pay for them. This is on top of whatever you already pay for WordPress. With a myriad of subscription options, it can be confusing to know what you do and don’t need. Predictably, they push the more expensive options.
Squarespace vs WordPress SEO – Who Does it Better?
When it comes to a question of Squarespace vs. WordPress SEO, our final verdict is WordPress. Though as a digital marketing agency WordPress is much more verstaile, so the true decision should be based on your needs and skill level.
- If you have some technical ability and want all your website services to be held under one easy-to-use umbrella, choose Squarespace.
- If you’re a complete beginner and want something simple that tells you what you need to do, choose WordPress/Yoast.
It’s important to note that WordPress/Yoast holds more weight when it comes to ranking higher in Google searches. This is mainly down to the fact that WordPress is the world’s most-used website building software service. If you’re using WordPress, then you’re already favored by the search engines as it is generally structured in accordance to their preferences.
That being said, if your SEO isn’t good, the fact you use WordPress won’t make any difference. But great SEO combined with the use of WordPress gives you an advantage over other web-building software.
Don’t discount Squarespace based on WordPress’s popularity. Squarespace sites can still rank well with Google and other search engines as long as you know what you’re doing and are prepared to put the effort in. It’s never a bad thing to brush up on your SEO knowledge. Using Squarespace is the perfect opportunity to learn and/or sharpen your SEO skills, which will be useful throughout your digital marketing adventures.
Squarespace and WordPress are both great options for modern SEO. When deciding which option to go with, consider the pros and cons of each carefully to determine which one is best suited for your own requirements.
SEO is a sprawling subject to master, but keeping your goals in mind will help you keep your SEO simple and effective. Both brands make it easier for businesses to optimize their sites. Whether it’s via WordPress or Squarespace, make 2020 the year you get your SEO on-point.