I hear the questions all the time: 

  • I’m trying to choose between WordPress and Squarespace for SEO, which is better?
  • I want my site to rank well on Google, so I should build on WordPress, right?
  • I just built my site on Squarespace, but now I want to get found; can you help me move it over to WordPress?
  • Yoast only makes a WordPress plug-in so I guess Squarespace isn’t a good option for SEO.

I’ve written before about the fundamental web design differences between WordPress & Squarespace, and which platform is a good fit for you based on your business needs.

When it comes to SEO, which is better: WordPress or Squarespace?

My site is on WordPress & I’ve built countless client sites on WordPress, so you probably think I’m going to tell you that it’s the best solution … but that’s not necessarily true for everyone, so I’m not going to offer you the WordPress Koolaid.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about WordPress being the best for SEO. But it’s not that simple.

Should you choose WordPress or Squarespace for SEO? Google doesn’t really care what platform you’re using. But there is one that's easiest to get set up correctly.

Why people like WordPress for SEO

The reason people tend to prefer WordPress is thanks in huge part to a popular plug-in, called Yoast SEO, which reminds users about on-page SEO best practices (like choosing one keyword per page, including it in specific locations throughout the content, encouraging a long word count and recommending relevant links). Every time you complete one of these tasks, you get a little green light saying that you’re doing a great job. Those same tactics can still easily be implemented on other platforms, but you just don’t get a dopamine hit from green lights.

The Yoast SEO is great for egos, but it won’t fix bad keywords or technical factors.

The platform you choose will not give you a huge SEO benefit. What matter is how you implement SEO best practices, which are the same for all websites.

3 SEO technical best practices that Google cares about:

  • Your site loads quickly (3 seconds or less is best)
  • Your site is secure (has an SSL certificate)
  • Your site is mobile responsive

If you can check off those boxes (fast, secure, mobile responsive), Google doesn’t really care what platform you’re using.

Not sure what all that means? Here’s my advice:

If you’re not tech-savvy, I recommend you choose Squarespace for SEO.

All Squarespace templates are mobile-responsive. All Squarespace accounts come with a secure SSL certificate. All Squarespace sites load relatively quickly.

Squarespace sites tend to perform better out of the box than WP, because the SEO-friendly performance practices are built into their platform.

If you want to make the best dang possible website that you can, choose WordPress for SEO.

A well-designed, optimized WordPress website is the best choice for small businesses, period. WordPress is versatile, fast, reliable, and cheap.

But WordPress also has a learning curve, so it can take a bit of time & effort to find the fastest-loading themes, strongest plugins, and best practices … and you might not ahve the time or energy to learn that yourself, so you should consider investing in a WordPress developer with a maintenance package … at which point, the “cheap” factor is no longer a benefit!

How to improve the SEO on your WordPress website

And if you already have a WordPress website that doesn’t meet those criteria? Put away those packing boxes, you don’t need to move! Here are some adjustments you can consider:

  • If your WordPress site isn’t fast, decrease your image size &/or upgrade your hosting so that your site loads faster
  • If your WordPress site isn’t secure, upgrade your hosting to include an SSL certificate
  • If your WordPress site isn’t mobile-friendly, change your theme
  • Install an SEO Plugin (Rank Math is my favorite) to double check your SEO Settings & give you gentle reminders when updating pages, posts & products.

But remember: The platform you choose has NO IMPACT on the quality of the content you produce.

If you have huge image files, minimal text, unconvincing page titles, and weak keywords … no amount of tweaking your platform will solve that problem. (“Tweaking your platform” sounds like a dance move. One that I am not flexible enough to even try.)

So stop about the tech specs of where you’re hosting your website.

Focus instead on choosing relevant keywords that align with your audience’s interests.

Or to put it succinctly: Create good content, consistently, that gets shared, and promote it.

And, of course, follow the standard SEO best practices and try to target specific keywords on each page.

As long as your content answers the questions that people are searching, Google will send traffic to you.