The platform may matter for different reasons than you think in achieving the best SEO.
The Wordpress vs Squarespace SEO debate appears to be trending with Wordpress leading as the stronger approach. But appearances can be deceiving.
There's a lot of discussion about how Wordpress outranks Squarespace in SEO capabilities. 20 years of building sites and monitoring Google Algorithm Changes, suggests the harder way of successful SEO is constantly creating and promoting great content. The easier, quicker way is focusing on the configuration of your CMS.
Not that your CMS isn't responsible for core level of best practices, but pay an SEO expert and they can get your content closer to your audience, right? That's much easier for you and the expert but when sites who've been successful at hitting the top of the search results see a 50% - 90% loss in traffic due to an Google Algorithm change — some going out of business because of it — we lean more away from the tricks and more in favor of the quality of content.
Below, we've cherry picked statements that support a platform neutral, content first approach with SEO but acknowledge that if you want to fully tweak your site architecture with SEO plugins above a content-rich foundation, then yes, Wordpress is more suited to do that.
SEO begins with powerful content
Every one of our clients over the past 20 years have asked about SEO and how to do it better. It's an easy question to ask. But when we ask about blogging on a regular basis, the discussions die down pretty quickly.
One of our clients spent a considerable monthly investment to pay a third party content organization (Brafton) to produce content on a weekly basis (we built a daily content importer into their Drupal site - worked great) but they ultimately shut it down because while they saw a huge surge in traffic, it was the wrong traffic with none of it converting to new customers.
When someone asks whether a Squarespace site is good for SEO, I would ask back, do you have a great story? Are you constantly publishing and sharing that story? Are you getting visitors to that story and are they contacting you?
In our experience, Squarespace (so far) is the easiest way to ramp up into strong and consistent storytelling that drives leads. And with that, SEO will naturally follow.
Update OCT 2017
Shifting to Wordpress dropped this dress designer's SEO
We've spent time with designer Mac Duggal on their digital strategy and they recently informed us that their highly cultivated search engine positioning plummeted when they shifted over to the Wordpress platform for their new site (from Drupal).
They went on to say that they suspected it was an aspect of the implementation and have been experimenting with new page designs that have dramatically improved search traffic.
This is a good example of how you use the tools is more important than the tools you choose.