GOOGLE is Still King...For Now
One land, one king, one Google
Or could it be a queen? hmmm….any thoughts on this?
Even as a free citizen of Squarespace you must pay your respects to the GOOGLE gods just to cross all of our SEO “t’s.”
Look at this entire section as the price we pay gladly to thrive in its fiefdom. Ok - I’ll stop the geeky kingdom metaphors now…you get it. Just grab a cup of coffee and hunker down. It will be over before you know it.
And one more reminder that we are not SEO experts by a long shot. Just some regular photographer joes who have tried these things and had pretty good luck.
There are three levels of SEO you can or should do with Google.
1. "Only-give-you-a-slight-headache-so-you-probably-should-do-them" STEPS:
- Remove any passwords on site (must be fully launched)
- Set up a google account (if you don’t already have one)
- Set up Google Search Console (used to be webmaster, or is it still webmaster?…make up your mind Google.)
- Submit your Property (URL)
- Submit your sitemap (yes, Squarespace already does this for you…remember King’s are fickle things…better safe than sorry.)
- Use "Fetch as Google” to crawl your site
2. "Guaranteed-a-full-blown-headache-so-only-do-as-bonus" STEPS:
- Set up Google Plus account
- Set up a Google My Business account
- Manually enter your business to Google Business Maps using certain keywords (if not already there)
- Set up Google Analytics
- Try out Google AdSense
3. "Get-your-google-freak-on-you-may-want-to-consider-another-line-of-work" STEP:
- Sign up for Google Webmaster Academy (yes, this is actually a thing…sigh)
Let’s break it down:
Set Up A Google Account
Sounds easy, and you probably already have one. One side note/tip: Try to avoid setting it up using a separate business email. Google doesn't like it when you have different accounts (there is that kingly decree thing again). But it’s not a big deal, because hopefully with all this google stuff you should mostly just be setting it and forgetting it.
Set up Google Search Console.
This may take some time if you have never done it before not because it’s hard, but because it’s just a lot of links, double checking & trying to acquaint yourself with the (yawn) google search console user interface.
Set aside an hour and try to avoid distractions so you can finish it in one setting. If link below has changed (again), just search for “Google Search Console” or “submit website content to google” and the info should come up immediately.
(Ahem. See? Even Google still calls it webmaster. Oh you Google King you).
Also - please follow the instructions in the Squarespace links below. They are a great resource and there is no point in us re-inventing a square wheel here again.
- add a “property” aka, URL - wait for verification email and click on…”add sitemap"
- "add sitemap” https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/206543547
- verify & “crawl—>fetch as google" property - Squarespace recommends using the HTML tag method below - our website techs can do this for you or you can follow the instructions here: https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/205813918-Verifying-your-site-with-Google-Search-Console
- Don't worry if you get a "re-directed" "error" while crawling either. That means your site is being properly re-directed. Honestly - the whole Fetch As Google thing is a bit convoluted and overkillish. Don't lose too much sleep over this.
- Ignore the rest of the google gobbledy gook on the side bar of the search console. Really.
BONUS Headache Inducing SEO STEPS.
Haven’t had enough? If you want to take this to the next level, rubbing up against all the free business services that Google offers is never a bad idea to enhance your SEO.
- Set up a basic Google Plus feed and use it to post relevant blog posts & images - unlike Facebook, you don’t have to keep checking this. Just post and walk away.
- Check out "Google My Business" - it will walk you through some extra SEO success ideas. Pick and choose the ones you want to try out. Don't forget you have those Google Ad bucks credit under "marketing" in your main Squarespace console. (Watch our video in part 3 to see this part).
- A lot of our clients have had luck with paid services like Google AdSense too.
- Do a good old fashioned "google search" for your keywords and manually enter your business if it doesn’t show up on the business map for your area. This can be a bit of hit or miss and even frustrating as you search for your business and it doesn’t show up. But give it time - and keep posting and linking.
- Last and least set up Google Analytics. I set mine up but don’t use it often (like never) - so don’t sweat this one too much. It’s one of those overhyped “things you should do.” The Squarespace analytics are fine for our purposes.
One more thing. You should set up the SSL on your site while you are in "sharpen the saw" mode on the back end. If you are collecting emails, and especially any payments on your site, it’s a must to enhance SEO.
Don't forget though, the point of all this GOOGLE worship is to just set it and forget it. Don’t linger too long on any one thing. Your time is much better spent creating awesome content on your site for your current and potential clients.
And again, I recommend referring to the awesome Squarespace Support Articles area and watching any videos in the SEO department too. Sometimes the content there is a tiny bit out of date, but the basics are very helpful.
Google should be appeased now. You get a gold star if you can count how many times we said GOOGLE in this post too. Can we PUH-LEASE move on. Next up: the actual fun part of SEO! Your own content!