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?
Setting up SEO for Weebly sites doesn’t have to be a difficult task to take on. 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. Instead, you can turn to a different site, like Weebly. Is Weebly good for SEO?
Yes! You absolutely can use Weebly to build your site and rank well on the search engines.
I know because I’ve done it, so I’m in a great position to give you a complete Weebly SEO review.
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
One site that I run on Weebly is BallparkSavvy.com
This was the first website I ever created back in 2008, when Long Tail Pro 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:
What Exactly Is Weebly?
Did you know there are over 40 million people who use Weebly to host their website? If you didn’t know already, Weebly is one of the main competitors of WordPress and is an incredibly popular platform to use when it comes to building websites.
It has been around for over a decade, launching in 2007. Unlike many other web hosting platforms, Weebly supports 15 different languages. This makes it more accessible for a much larger group of people. Weebly also has plenty of great built-in features that can help anyone from bloggers to business owners.
One thing that sets Weebly apart from the competition is how easy it is to use. You don’t need any web building experience or need to be tech-savvy, in general, to use Weebly. While many compare it to WordPress, it’s actually more comparable to Squarespace or Wix.
Popular Websites Using Weebly
I can’t tell you how amazing Weebly is in relation to SEO without telling you a bit about a handful of the websites that use it for hosting. You’d be surprised how successful some of these websites are. Here is a list of well-known websites that are hosted by Weebly that rank high on Google:
- Ready Desk
- The Path
- Brighton Secondary School of Music
- Ina Road Church of Christ
- The Box Bros
- SF Bay Area Design
- We Talk Money
- Brand iD
- Sanders Family Real Estate
- The Whiskey Ball
- Classic Cut and Shave
As you can probably tell, there are a variety of different industries that use Weebly and rank high on Google. Above, there are online family real estate sites, financial aid services, landing page designers, freelancers, schools, churches, an online barber booking site, and more.
I’m going to be talking about The Box Bros throughout this article, as it is a great example of how a website can be successful when it comes to Weebly SEO. They have a beautiful layout, an easy to navigate menu, and more. First, let’s talk about the SEO basics of using Weebly.
Weebly SEO Basics
We’ll start with some of the basics of SEO for Weebly sites.
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.
If you notice, The Box Bros site not only has a catchy title that use main keywords that describe what the company does; they also have an option on their menu to find out a bit more about what the company does, how it was created, and more. Having this is incredibly important.
If someone were to search for The Box Bros on Google, they’ll see a meta description under the name that tells the potential customer what the company has to offer, or an easy to remember catch phrase that pulls their attention to the website, as shown here:
The title and description you see here are what the company has 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.
Keywords are such a crucial tool to use when it comes to ranking on search engine results. 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. Like you read above, this can be a catch phrase that draws people in or a description about what the site has to offer, so they know it has what they’re looking for.
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, Long Tail Pro 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.
Long Tail Pro 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. (This option is available in our agency plan.)
Optimizing Advanced Settings in Weebly Pages
Google ranks pages and not websites.
For instance, if I have a website all about guitars, I want to make sure I use high ranking keywords to please Google. Pleasing Google is how my website will rank higher and I’ll get more traffic, and they’ll hopefully turn into paying customers. If I have a website about guitars and I don’t write about or use keywords relating to popular guitar brands such as Gibson or Taylor, my website won’t rank well for those keywords.
This is why it’s important to have specific pages and blog posts dedicated to popular keywords that relate to your website. For example, if I have a website about traveling and I have dedicated posts for the popular tourist areas for each city I write about, I will be much more likely to get my site ranked higher.
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.
Let’s say on my website about traveling, I write about The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. If someone searches for The Mall of America, they’ll likely be greeted by the mall’s official website, websites for the stores in the mall, hotels near the area, and more before my website comes up.
What I could do in this situation is to write a more specific page about that topic. I could consider writing about the history of the mall, the top 10 stores to check out for school shopping, or a blog post about what sets it apart from other malls. This will help me be a lot less worried about a homepage ranking when someone searches for The Mall of America, but traffic will still come in to the more specific blog posts I have.
The same applies to anyone with a website.
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.
If I were to build a post to target “Mall of America” as my main keyword, I could use a title such as “Mall of America – The Ultimate Store Guide”. Next I would add a description like, “Are you looking for an easy-to-follow guide about all of the must-visit stores in the country’s largest mall? Here are our top store picks; you’ll be surprised by who makes the list!”
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. Is Weebly SEO friendly? Yes, and doubly so because they’re willing to keep improving.
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.
Let’s say for my website I’m going to do a blog post targeting the keyword “Stores Mall of America”. I would add a title that catches the reader’s attention, such as “Which Stores Have the Best Deals at The Mall of America? – Check Out Our List.” After this, I’d want to make sure my permalink is set to just “stores-mall-of-america”.
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.
Why You Shouldn’t Change Old URLs
It may seem counterintuitive to leave old, out-of-date URLs in place, but there is a reason that I don’t suggest making this specific update.
Changing the URL on any page is more likely to hurt than help your SEO rankings. Because of the complexities involved in indexing websites, culling search results, and loading websites, even a single character URL change can negate the work that you’ve done on building a solid traffic funnel.
Additionally, any site referrals that you have worked hard on setting up may be lost. Setting up the proper 301 redirects can help this, but even with smooth redirects, it is estimated that you will lose up to 25% of traffic during those crossover moments.
Unless it is absolutely necessary to change your URLs for a bigger reason, I do not recommend changing them simply to try to improve our SEO. You aren’t likely to see any positive changes!
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:
According to the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, alt text is defined as the following: “Essentially put, alternative text is a vital function within the HTML code that describes the function and appearance of an image or object on a given page.”
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.
Let’s use The Mall of America example again. If my blog post on my website is about the must-visit stores within the mall, I may have a sub-header, also known as a Title element in Weebly, that is something along the lines of “Which stores are best at the Mall of America?” or “Mall of America Shopping Guide.”
Again, these aren’t actually keywords I’m using, but they are examples that relate to the main topic of the mall. It can pay off when you take this approach, as you’re more likely to rank higher for multiple keywords on one post! Sounds like a good deal to me!
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:
Even if I put a site description in this spot a while ago, I may want to keep it updated so I can continue ranking high on search results. It’s important to keep in mind that this description is usually the first thing that people will see when they search for your keywords
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.
Limitations of Weebly’s SEO Functions
While SEO for Weebly sites isn’t a complete lost cause, there are some limitations that I want to mention that you may encounter when working on Weebly.
The biggest drawback that should be mentioned is the difficulty of adding very advanced tools to your site. While you can control the HTML of your Weebly page, you can meet some difficulties if you have a lot of custom add-ons that you want to implement to improve SEO.
Many site owners who like to use very advanced add-ons have found that implementing them through a site like WordPress can be more functional due to the specific ways that they allow for theme and site editing.
Still, Weebly provides the tools that most site owners need to smoothly manage their content in an SEO-forward, visitor-driven way.
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!
Kindly note that the site (www.ballparksavvy.com) was originally created using Weebly but has since moved over to WordPress. All results above were gained as a Weebly site.