Squarespace vs. WordPress Blog for SEO : The Milestone Blog Case Study

jordanfowler@moonandowl.com SEO Leave a Comment

Which is Better for Seo: Squarespace or WordPress?

Recently Milestone Church’s creative team contacted Moon & Owl regarding their search appearance of the Milestone Church blog. They wanted some serious search engine optimization, as they weren’t searching well. As we examined the blog site we noticed it was on the Squarespace CMS platform. We have never used Squarespace on websites we design, so we looked forward to digging around a bit.

It was obvious why this platform was initially chosen. The ease of design and closed garden concepts are Squarespace are obvious. The site LOOKED beautiful.

However, once we really started digging, we noticed some simple but stark SEO challenges.

 

Attribution Link Issues

The most obvious SEO issue is the lack of ability to create attribution links on syndication posts. To the non-SEO techie, that might sound like gibberish.

In simple terms, an attribution link is a link at the bottom of a blog post that isn’t seen on the original post on the main site. Instead, when the article is syndicated, it has a link at the bottom of the post that gives credit back to the original post. For example, if we syndicated the post to a Tumblr, and Blogspot blog, it is vital that these syndicated versions contain the link:

The article Uncommon Gratitude first appeared on Milestone Life.

This tells the search engine, don’t give search engine credit to this article, instead give it to the ORIGINAL location.

Why is this important? It passes on the SEO juice from a reputable site like Tumblr or GetPocket back to the original article. To increase in rank, each article needs as many STRONG backlinks as possible.

Without the ability to do attribution links, one of the most powerful search engine optimization tactics is useless.

Other Issues

We noticed that Milestone wasn’t using a categories system to build deep silos of content under the keywords on which they wanted to rank. Typically, we set up a site with 4-5 strong keyword silos. We talk with our client about how they see the user interfacing with the site in a logical way AND how this can also benefit showing up higher in the search engine rankings.

We came down to three categories on the Milestone Church blog.

Making the Decision on a WordPress Platform

After discussions with the creative team, we made the decision to move the blog over to the WordPress CMS. WordPress allows us to do the things we need to do for SEO efforts.

We duplicated the look of the Squarespace page to a large degree, as Milestone’s design team is top notch. We also placed the site on a subdomain to create a simpler back and fort user interface between the main site and the blog site. We 301 redirected all the previous posts to their new URL to help pass on the SEO juice.

Jump Starting Search Results on the Milestone Church Blog

A new site with new URL structures (what you see up in your web browsers entry bar) takes a while to regain its rank. Google has to crawl the site with something it calls bots and then index the site. Only after this is complete will the site begin to show up well in search. This can take up to a month.

In order to optimize this process, we created a search console (aka webmaster’s tools) profile on Google. We submitted the site and made sure the sitemap (outline of the site) could be read by Google.

We then started our proven process of creating out a syndication network, syndicating out each blog post to 20+ respected and legitimate platforms, also sending social signals and applying SwarmSearch to help the site find its moorings on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

The Results

The Milestone Church blog (aka Milestone Life) site launch went smoothly. Now we watch using our tools to check on emerging backlinks. We like Ranktrackr┬áto track rankings and Monitor Backlinks to track the new links coming into Milestone Church’s blog. Of course, we also placed Google Analytics on the site to allow us to know the user behavior and what sites drove referred them to the blog.

Basically everything Milestone Church needed to rank on is currently #1 in the search results.

 

And traffic has dramatically increased.

Site traffic has grown 262% to over 46,000 pageviews over the previous two quarters.

 

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