So you’ve made the decision to go with Weebly for your website management tool…
Now you’ve got to get some traffic to that site.
But how do you do it?
This Weebly SEO tips guide will equip you with step-by-step instructions on how you can set up your own site to start ranking on Google.
Can A Weebly Website Rank?
I’ve seen discussions about whether or not certain platforms are “good” or “bad” for SEO. In other words, do I have to run my site on WordPress in order to rank well in Google?
The answer is that you do not.
You absolutely can use Weebly to build your site and rank well on the search engines.
I know because I’ve done it.
In my post with 10 alternatives to WordPress, I mentioned that I’m a Weebly Pro customer, and although I’ve started using WordPress to manage some of my websites, I still run and manage a number of sites on Weebly.
To give you a quick summary of what to expect, here’s a brief breakdown of what makes Weebly an awesome platform:
- Streamlined Page Design and Post Creation — Unlike some Content Management Systems, Weebly allows you to seamlessly edit content and modify design elements through a drag-and-drop interface.
- Integrated SEO Features — Weebly also comes with built-in SEO settings for pages and individual posts. These will be discussed in detail throughout this post.
- Customizability — On top of the existing customization features on the visual interface, Weebly also lets you modify your site’s HTML and CSS codes.
- E-Commerce Integration — If you plan to monetize your Weebly site by selling products, you can set up an online storefront complete with payment processors, product pages, shipping information, and more.
- Apps — Finally, Weebly utilizes apps for easy expandability. On their official repository, they currently offer apps for e-commerce, social media, marketing, website features, and communication functionalities.
Digging Into SEO with Weebly
This was the first website I ever created back in 2008, when LongTailPro was still a figment of Spencer Haws imagination. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I set out to create a site that would provide a no-nonsense guide to every Major League Baseball stadium.
I moved the site to Weebly a few years ago, and despite the fact that I spend very little time on it, it continues to do well on the search engines.
Although it’s a niche site and very seasonal, it’s drawn in over 300,000 visits in the last three seasons.
Over 85% of that traffic is organic, search engine traffic.
Now, let’s dive into how you can set up your own Weebly site for SEO success:
Weebly SEO Basics
We’ll start with some of the basics.
I’m assuming you’ve already selected a domain name, so the next step is to add your site title, which you’ve already done if you’ve created your site on Weebly. (If you haven’t created a site yet, click here to start for free and follow along).
The next step is to customize some of the advanced settings on your homepage, which will be how your brand shows up in the Google results. If you go to the “pages” tab on Weebly and click on your homepage, you’ll see these settings on the left panel:
Here, you can make the initial adjustments that can prepare your Weebly site for the search engines. To begin, let’s head into the “SEO Settings” section.
This is where you can edit important page details, such as the page title, permalink, and meta description. While Google claims that these aren’t factored in when it comes to actual rankings, it can definitely affect click-throughs.
Notice that, in my Ballpark Savvy site, I’ve focused on the page title with some of the keywords that describe my site, and then added a description that also talks about our site and what we offer. This is important because when you “Google” the brand of Ballpark Savvy, it looks like this:
The title and description you see here are what I have set in the “SEO settings” for the page. If you are trying to rank for particular keywords, it’s important that you include them in both of these locations. However, it’s just as important to try to come up with something compelling that makes people want to click on your site when they are scanning the search engine results.
Why Keywords Matter
Whether you are using Weebly or not, keywords still matter.
A “keyword” simply means something that gets searched in Google (or another search engine). Keyword research is the process of finding out what people in your industry are searching for and analyzing the competition so you can know which keywords you should be targeting.
If you don’t know which keywords to target, you’ll be limited to the kind of SEO you can do in Weebly.
After all, how will you know what your page titles, descriptions, and content should be optimized for? I’ll recycle an analogy to make the point that trying to do SEO without keyword research would be like me telling you to decorate your house for a birthday party, but not tell you who the party was for.
Should you decorate for a 4-year-old boy who loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates?
Or for an “over the hill” party for a man turning 40?
You could spend a week turning your house into a real-life pirate ship, but if the target were for a 40-year-old man – you would have completely missed the mark.
Likewise, knowing your keyword targets is critical to doing good on-page SEO. And for this job, LongTailPro is one of the best tools you can use. Simply load it up and enter a “seed keyword” to retrieve suggestions.
For example, if I run a blog about digital marketing, I’d enter something broad like “email marketing.” From this, I can extract the following keyword ideas:
When selecting keywords for your campaign, pay attention to the average keyword competitiveness and search volume.
While targeting a keyword with a high monthly search volume has bigger potential for exposure, they can be too competitive to be feasible for new brands. A good rule of thumb is to choose keywords with an average keyword competitiveness of 30 or less.
LongTailPro also lets you analyze the keyword strategy of your competitors. All you need to do is to click “Competitor Keyword Suggestions” and type in the URL of your competitor’s landing page or entire domain.
Optimizing Advanced Settings In Weebly Pages
Google ranks pages and not websites.
For instance, if I forgot to do a page about Wrigley Field on my baseball site then I wouldn’t rank well for Wrigley Field-related searches even though I have a nice website about all the other baseball stadiums. I would need a page focused on the ins and outs of Wrigley Field in order to pull in that traffic.
This is actually the beauty of long tail keywords – it gives us little guys a chance. You can do a keyword-focused page and rank above more authoritative sites because they may not have a page that is optimized for that keyword.
For instance, I may never crack the top 10 when you search for “Baltimore Orioles.” That will be occupied by the team site and more established brands. However, I can rank for a page for “parking for Orioles games” because I’ve got a page that covers this topic in-depth.
So in my case, I’m not so much worried about my homepage ranking for any generic terms, like “ballparks” or “baseball stadiums.” I have a page for each stadium, and most of my traffic comes directly into one of those stadium-specific pages.
The same applies to you.
In most cases, you shouldn’t be relying on just your homepage to pull in traffic. You want to have many pages focused on various things that your audience cares about so you can rank for all these different keywords.
In Weebly, you should always use the advanced settings (shown above) on every page you create to specify the title and description.
The page title should be about 55 characters in length, which is about all that will be displayed on Google before it is cut off. Likewise, your description shouldn’t exceed 320 characters as it will be cut off after that on Google.
Ideally, you should use your target keyword in both your title and description — somewhere at the beginning should be nice.
So if I was building a page to target “Wrigley Field Parking” as my primary keyword, my title might be “Wrigley Field Parking – Find Cheap Parking At Cubs Games” and then my description could be “Looking for cheap Wrigley Field parking? Here are four hidden parking spots that will save you a fortune at your next Cubs game.”
Advanced Settings In Weebly Blog Posts
Hats off to Weebly for continuing to improve their offering.
Blog posts are another area that has made some huge improvements as it relates to Weebly SEO since I first started with them. You used to not have control over the page title and description like you do for non-blog pages, and the URL wasn’t ideal either.
Both of those have changed.
Keeping in mind the best practices mentioned in the last section, here is how you can do the same for your Weebly blog posts:
When you are adding (or perhaps editing past posts), you’ll see a blue Post Options button in the bottom-left corner.
From there, expand the “Advanced” options to change the post’s SEO Title and SEO Post Description. Just follow the same practices when optimizing the page title and meta description of any other page.
The permalink lets you set exactly what the URL ending will be. So the structure will be something like this:
This is pretty cool because you could have a blog post with a longer title, maybe “12 Ways To Start Yoga Without Pulling A Muscle” and then type in “yoga-safety” into this permalink area so your URL would be:
It’s ideal to feature your keyword in the URL, but always keep your human visitors in mind as well. It’s great to have shorter URLs that are easy to remember and share.
So for my site, if I was going to do a blog post targeting the keyword “Chicago Cubs Parking” I might make the title something catchy like “How To Master Chicago Cubs Parking Like A Local.” Then, I would set my permalink to just be “Chicago-cubs-parking.”
For the title and description, you can follow the same ideas I mentioned in the last section about setting these for the pages on your website. Use your keywords, but try to do something that is going to catch human attention when they see this in the Google search results.
I recommended inserting a clear call-to-action that aligns with the audience’s intent. It must also revolve around the search term or phrase used. For example, if the user types in “email marketing,” then a meta description that concisely defines what the term means will surely grab attention.
TIP: If you’ve already been blogging with Weebly and have never done this, go back and edit your past posts to at least set your Title and Description. I don’t suggest changing old URLs, just make that a part of your process moving forward.
Weebly On-Page Optimization
Besides what you set up in the advanced settings, there are a few other things you can do on the page, which are good common sense for SEO.
1. Use the keyword early on (ideally in the first paragraph) of your post, which helps cement the exact topic of your content in the eyes of Google.
Instead of worrying too much about keyword density, I suggest that you mind where your keywords are placed. An important practice that you can consider is using keywords in your meta title, meta description, H1, URL, and at least once in the main body.
2. Don’t forget to optimize your ALT tag on your image. In Weebly, whenever you add an image, click on the advanced tab:
Once in the Advanced menu, you’ll see a field for the ALT text, which is set to “Picture” by default:
Alt text is described in Wikipedia like this: “In situations where the image is not available to the reader, perhaps because they have turned off images in their web browser or are using a screen reader due to a visual impairment, the alternative text ensures that no information or functionality is lost.”
In Weebly, you should use this Alt text as an opportunity to use your target keyword, or some form of it, while describing the image. Google is able to read this Alt text, so leaving it as “Picture” in Weebly is a missed opportunity to demonstrate further what this page is about.
3. Use Weebly “Title” and not just bold text for your sub-headers. When you are breaking up your longer pages, drag over the “Title” element and use that as a sub-header. This will put an “H2” tag on that title, which helps Google understand the structure of your page.
This is a much better approach than having one huge text block and just breaking up your sections with some BOLD text, a mistake I made when first starting out.
What should these sub-header “titles” be like?
An SEO plugin that I use for WordPress suggests that you use your exact keyword in at least one sub-heading on the page. If it makes sense, go ahead and do that. If not, use Long Tail Pro to find some other keywords that complement your primary keyword on the page and use those as your sub-headers.
For example, if my page was about Chicago Cubs Parking, I might have a sub-header (Title element in Weebly) that is “Where to Find Free Cubs Parking” or “Off-site Chicago Cubs Parking” and maybe “Free Shuttle To Wrigley Field.”
Again, none of these are my exact keywords, but they are certainly all pieces of the puzzle when you talk about parking for a Cubs game. There are times when it makes sense to take this approach, and in fact, you can end up ranking#1 for a page on your site for a bunch of different keywords.
What About The Weebly SEO Settings?
To this point I haven’t talked about the “official” Weebly SEO settings, which you see under “Settings” and then “SEO” on the left:
While I put a site description in here long ago, I showed earlier that the description I put in the settings of my homepage is what actually shows up in the search results when you Google “Ballpark Savvy.”
So I’d put a site description in here, heck, maybe the same one you use on your homepage. I don’t think you need to worry about meta keywords, as years ago Google said they don’t use them in their ranking. Perhaps the only use for them now is for labeling purposes, which is great if you’re working on the SEO of a website with a team.
As for Footer and Header code, this is where you can put in your Google Analytics or other tracking codes. I’d definitely recommend this (mine is in the header code area, not shown above) as it will allow you to see how many visits you are getting, where they come from, where they go, and much more.
If you need help setting it up, check out this tutorial.
So in short, there are a couple of things you should do in Weebly’s main SEO area, but I think focusing on all the other things on specific pages and blog posts are much more important.
If you have any questions about SEO for Weebly, or maybe your own advice to add, please share below! If you’re still sitting on the sidelines and haven’t even created your site yet, Weebly has a lot going for it, especially for beginners.
Don’t forget to check out Long Tail Pro for a FREE 7-day trial.
Also, if you’ve decided to go with Squarespace, what are you doing reading this? Go read our guide to Squarespace SEO instead!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.