Three Problems With Squarespace's Schema Markup

Care about your Squarespace website's search engine optimization (SEO)? Don't forget about Schema markup.

Care about your Squarespace website's search engine optimization (SEO)? Don't forget about Schema markup.

For a complete survey of problems with how Squarespace does SEO, check out our Squarespace SEO review,  What's True About The Myth About Squarespace SEO. To fix schema issues, see How To Fix Issues With Squarespace Schema Markup. As always, you can also turn to us for help with Squarespace SEO.

What Is Schema Markup?

Schema markup is code for structured data that helps search engines understand what your website and your enterprise are about. It's a way of addressing search engines directly in order to help them better understand the content on your website and return richer search results. Squarespace adds Schema, which is really an agreed-upon framework for structured data, to all Squarespace websites.

Google has been clear that adding Schema to your website is a good thing. There is evidence that it can help you get a Google knowledge panel, get review star rich snippets, and even improve your search rankings.

Squarespace's implementation of Schema is a little problematic. They have improved some areas over time, while other problems have cropped up. Article schema, for example, used to be missing both Author and datePublished fields, which was obviously a significant (and curious) issue.

The schema situation is likely to keep shifting. Here are two problems you should be aware about, though these are not the only ones.

1. The Permanent Local Business Schema Problem In Squarespace

The first occurs, or rather may occur, right when you first start using your Squarespace site. If you naively enter any information in the Business Information panel, you will get Local Business Schema markup in perpetuity, even if you later delete the information and leave all the entries blank. This has been confirmed to me by Squarespace customer service.

So one early client of mine who signed up for Squarespace herself and entered her name in Business Information during signup now has Local Business Schema even though she's a musician and is certainly not a local business. And it's irreversible. As it turns out, most people just naively enter some information there because there's no indication that they shouldn't. That's just how human psychology works. People tend to think things should be filled in to the greatest extent possible.

If you want to check, you can enter your Squarespace website in Google's Structured Data Testing Tool to see if you have any Local Business Schema markup and look over your website's Schema in general.

It's not a grave issue. That musician's SEO is just fine and her website is ranking well. It's just something to be aware about. If there's an SEO penalty for having incorrect Schema like this, it's very small. Nonetheless, if you are not a local business and don't want Google thinking you are, it's best to avoid entering anything in Business Information.

2. An Empty "Image" Field In LocalBusiness Schema When Using Text Instead Of A Logo

Yet another problem occurs when you don't use a logo for your site. Actually, when you use text rather than a logo for your site title, you face a few SEO problems

In a number of templates, the site title shows up as an H1 on every page. That creates multiple H1's and messes up the headline hierarchy (see the first tip in our post of Squarespace SEO tips for more on headline hierarchy for SEO).

But the issue here is that the required "Image" field for your Local Business Schema will simply be blank.

It would be better and more sensible if Squarespace used the social sharing logo here. Presumably, a miniscule SEO penalty is to be paid for this oversight. 

3. Shifting Issues With Article Schema Markup For Blog Posts

The problems with Article schema have shifted over time with Squarespace. For quite a while, both the Author and Date Published fields for blog posts didn't get marked up by Squarespace, at least not in a way Google recognizes. If you popped a Squarespace blog post's URL into the Structured Data Testing Tool, you wouldn't see an author or when it was published unless you added article Schema yourself or used Google's Data Highlighter for your website in Google Search Console. Instead you got errors.

That was the case even when an author had been chosen in the Author field in Squarespace, and even if author is set to display as meta data, which it should be according to Google's guidelines if you want it to appear in Schema.

At some point, these issues got fixed. Now, another issue has cropped up, which occurs if you use text rather than a logo on your site.

In this case, you will consistently get an error for Article schema for all blog posts on your site indicating a missing URL for the publisher’s logo. The only fix (other than adding a logo to your site) is to add updated Article schema to your site yourself, manually.

Stick To Your SEO Strategy

None of these issues is terribly serious, with the possible exception of the last one. You might do better to concentrate on developing your SEO content strategy or do other SEO work rather than tearing your hair out over structured data. Still, they are worth keeping in mind. The solution for the last two problems, as well as for adding review star snippets and anything else you feel is missing (like separate services) is to add Schema markup yourself. I cover that in my article on fixing problems with Schema markup in Squarespace.

 
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