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Sitemap.xml still shows default image title and caption — proposed fix for Squarespace

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The squarespace-generated sitemap.xml shows image data, which is good. What is not good is that it inserts the default title and caption for those images: "Make it stand out" and "Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference."

Those default values are not present to be edited in the Image block when used in the default Design mode. You have to change to a new Design style, remove the defaults, then change it back to the original Design style. This might be an acceptable workaround for a few images. The site in question has 522 images and counting. That is a lot of making it stand out.

Proposed solution for Squarespace: when generating the sitemap.xml file if an image has the default title or caption text do not include them. I feel confident that no one will want "Make it stand out" or "Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference." as their image title and caption, respectively. And they pollute the SEO for the website. So simply omit them from the sitemap.xml.

Please, Squarespace. Make this happen. It should be an easy couple of conditionals in your generation script. Thank you!

Past thread on this, 1.5+ years ago: 

 

Edited by kirkroberts
added link to previous thread
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In my opinion, this is a huge issue for anyone using Squarespace 7.1.

Whenever an image block is added to a Classic (not Fluid Engine) section, a Blog Post, an Event or the Product Additional Info section, Squarespace add the demo text "Make it stand out" and "Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference." and there's nothing you can do about it! As mentioned above, this has been happening since early 2021. I've written about it in this post.

I asked about this issue again in 2023 and was told:

"While we understand it may be inconvenient, I do need to confirm that Engineering doesn’t currently have plans to fix or improve the sitemap issue you reported [in June 2021]."

There's a further SEO issue when you use pre-built page layouts. With these, a default SEO title is assigned (silently). Instead of defaulting to the page title, it sets the SEO title to the page layout name - such as "General 1", "Appointments 1", "General 2", "Blog 2" and so on.

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Edited by paul2009

Me: I'm Paul, a SQSP user for >18 yrs & Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
Work: Founder of SF.DIGITAL. We provide high quality original extensions to supercharge your Squarespace website. 
Content: Views and opinions are my own. Links in my posts may refer to my own SF.DIGITAL products or may be affiliate links.
Forum advice is completely free. You can thank me by selecting a feedback emoji. Buying a coffee is generous but optional.

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14 minutes ago, paul2009 said:

There are thousands of sites with an SEO title of "General 1", "Appointments 1", "General 2", "Blog 2" and so on.

That is often one of the first things I fix for people when they ask me to help with their Squarespace site. I agree that it shouldn't have to be fixed! Just like the default image data in sitemap.xml. These seem like simple improvements that would positively effect a huge number of websites so they "just work" better for people. Why are they not implemented is quite a mystery.

Edited by kirkroberts
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  • 6 months later...
On 9/16/2023 at 7:14 PM, Janet-CA said:

Is there any other way to remove the "Make it stand out" and "Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference" from titles and captions?

You'll need to remove the text manually from each image. I've described this in this post.

For info, there's another thread about this subject here.

Did this help? Please give feedback by clicking an icon below  ⬇️

Edited by paul2009

Me: I'm Paul, a SQSP user for >18 yrs & Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
Work: Founder of SF.DIGITAL. We provide high quality original extensions to supercharge your Squarespace website. 
Content: Views and opinions are my own. Links in my posts may refer to my own SF.DIGITAL products or may be affiliate links.
Forum advice is completely free. You can thank me by selecting a feedback emoji. Buying a coffee is generous but optional.

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  • 2 months later...
On 3/13/2023 at 3:14 PM, kirkroberts said:

That is often one of the first things I fix for people when they ask me to help with their Squarespace site. I agree that it shouldn't have to be fixed! Just like the default image data in sitemap.xml. These seem like simple improvements that would positively effect a huge number of websites so they "just work" better for people. Why are they not implemented is quite a mystery.

Hello, would you be kind enough to let me know how you fix this?

I've been trying for hours and I've completely rebuilt the page using a blank page / template and "Appointments 1" is still showing on my link preview 😭😭

Thank you so much

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2 hours ago, SophiePrinceton said:

I've completely rebuilt the page using a blank page / template and "Appointments 1" is still showing

Have you checked all the titles and descriptions?

 image.thumb.png.0d00182db47bacc9b9a6476327d2c5c7.png   image.thumb.png.627c347914f923fafc3b0e04ea45d604.png

Me: I'm Paul, a SQSP user for >18 yrs & Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
Work: Founder of SF.DIGITAL. We provide high quality original extensions to supercharge your Squarespace website. 
Content: Views and opinions are my own. Links in my posts may refer to my own SF.DIGITAL products or may be affiliate links.
Forum advice is completely free. You can thank me by selecting a feedback emoji. Buying a coffee is generous but optional.

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On 12/15/2023 at 3:12 AM, SophiePrinceton said:

Hello, would you be kind enough to let me know how you fix this?

I've been trying for hours and I've completely rebuilt the page using a blank page / template and "Appointments 1" is still showing on my link preview 😭😭

Thank you so much

Page Settings > SEO > SEO Title is the likely culprit. Paul's examples included that but I thought it might be helpful to call it out specifically.

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  • 1 month later...

I have the same issue in my sitemap where ALL of the images titles and captions have the default "hidden" text "Make it stand out" and "Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference". I have tried the solution suggested by @paul2009 where you change the image design from Inline to Card but when I do this I do not see the hidden text - just placement text that can't be deleted. Any ideas?

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1 hour ago, SueR said:

I have tried the solution suggested by @paul2009 where you change the image design from Inline to Card but when I do this I do not see the hidden text - just placement text that can't be deleted.

Hi @SueR.

Can you explain what you mean when you say you can only see “placement text that can't be deleted”? When you temporarily change the Image Block design, you should see the text “Make it stand out…”. Can you share a screenshot of what you see instead?

Me: I'm Paul, a SQSP user for >18 yrs & Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
Work: Founder of SF.DIGITAL. We provide high quality original extensions to supercharge your Squarespace website. 
Content: Views and opinions are my own. Links in my posts may refer to my own SF.DIGITAL products or may be affiliate links.
Forum advice is completely free. You can thank me by selecting a feedback emoji. Buying a coffee is generous but optional.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi @paul2009, thanks for replying. If I change the image design from Inline to, say, Card I get greyed out placement text "Add an image title", "Add a subtitle" (see image). I can add in my own text but I do not see the text that Squarespace has added to my sitemap ie "Make it stand out" and "Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference". If I add in my own text, makes no difference to the sitemap - unless there is some wait time for the changes to take effect and I'm not waiting long enough. At the end of the day, I am unable to manually get rid of the unwanted text in the sitemap.
(For info, I have a blog post "template" that I reuse for each new blog post. I publish two new posts a week and there are 5/6 images per post. I have approximately 180 blog posts - that's a LOT of images!! Manually making these changes, even if there is a way to do it, is probably not the way to go.)

image caption text.jpg

Edited by SueR
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4 hours ago, SueR said:

If I change the image design from Inline to, say, Card I get greyed out placement text "Add an image title", "Add a subtitle" (see image).

If an image has this greyed out text ("Add an image title") in Card layout then the demo text has already been removed from this particular image.

However, you said that your sitemap exhibited this issue. If you can still see the demo text appearing in your sitemap, and if you want to fix it, the only option is to look at the image names in the sitemap and then manually edit these particular images. Sadly, Squarespace haven't prioritised this issue to be fixed, so there isn't an alternative way to fix it 😢.

Me: I'm Paul, a SQSP user for >18 yrs & Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
Work: Founder of SF.DIGITAL. We provide high quality original extensions to supercharge your Squarespace website. 
Content: Views and opinions are my own. Links in my posts may refer to my own SF.DIGITAL products or may be affiliate links.
Forum advice is completely free. You can thank me by selecting a feedback emoji. Buying a coffee is generous but optional.

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@paul2009Thanks for the reply. I double checked that particular image in the sitemap and the default text is still there. Like I said, if I scroll through the sitemap, absolutely every single image has the Squarespace "demo" text. So, it looks like I don't have the ability to manually edit. Shocking! Even when I do manually edit the image, the sitemap does not update. I shall try raising with Squarespace - to me this looks like a bug as there is no workaround to fix.

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7 minutes ago, SueR said:

I shall try raising with Squarespace

Please do! 

Me: I'm Paul, a SQSP user for >18 yrs & Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
Work: Founder of SF.DIGITAL. We provide high quality original extensions to supercharge your Squarespace website. 
Content: Views and opinions are my own. Links in my posts may refer to my own SF.DIGITAL products or may be affiliate links.
Forum advice is completely free. You can thank me by selecting a feedback emoji. Buying a coffee is generous but optional.

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@paul2009 Beating my head against a brick wall with Squarespace - but I think you already knew what their response would  be! The latest "how can we end this current chat?" was to regenerate my sitemap and tell me that I had to wait up to 72 hours to see if the ONE example change they asked me to make had worked!! 

By the way, there is the same issue with other image block metadata, specifically the filename. If I change the image filename this is not reflected in the sitemap (Squarespace confirmed that it should update). Who knew you need to check your sitemap to make sure Squarespace is actually doing what you ask it to do? Bugs everywhere!!!!!

Anyone want to recommend another website building platform that I can move to where you don't have to work with impossible workarounds and technical support actually does what it says on the tin??!!

Edited by SueR
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Thank you for reporting the issue. I appreciate you posting back. I encourage everyone who is experiencing this issue to report it directly to Squarespace (using a support ticket - not by posting here) because resources will only be prioritised when the largest number of customers are affected or when the usability of the platform is greatly reduced. 

If it helps, I've experienced this issue (where they appear in the sitemap even when they don't appear in the Image Blocks) and the only workaround is to add replacement Image Blocks, remove the demo text from them, and then delete the original Image Blocks. It's time-consuming, but it works.

Me: I'm Paul, a SQSP user for >18 yrs & Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
Work: Founder of SF.DIGITAL. We provide high quality original extensions to supercharge your Squarespace website. 
Content: Views and opinions are my own. Links in my posts may refer to my own SF.DIGITAL products or may be affiliate links.
Forum advice is completely free. You can thank me by selecting a feedback emoji. Buying a coffee is generous but optional.

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@paul2009Yes, I agree that more customers need to report the issue, though I guess many are not aware of the issue and that it is potentially harmful to the site's SEO. I now have a support ticket to refer to. Squarespace know that this issue is affecting sites "platform wide" and is "treating it as a priority". Let's see.

I've tried out your suggested workaround and, as you say, when I add in a new image block, change the design so that I can see the image title and caption, I actually get to the see offending text to delete! (Thanks for the suggestion.) Need to double check that the change is reflected in the sitemap. If it is then I will change the template that I use for future blog posts. Really not going to work for me to fix each image individually on the existing posts though (I have nearly 1000!) - also, means I have to add back the alt text and file name again 😞

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  • 3 months later...

I have also raised a ticket about this problem. I had a few pages with issues and was going to resubmit my sitemap to be crawled. Then I noticed the horrific repetition of 'Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference' throughout it.

Hopefully, if enough people raise it, something will be done, as surely Google and other search engines don't favour that much repetition?!

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Posted (edited)

@Peyton_instant It's very frustrating that Squarespace hasn't fixed this issue. As I explained in my post about this issue, please help to raise the profile of this issue as by logging a ticket.

Try this Google search to see how many sites have been indexed with these phrases!

Edited by paul2009

Me: I'm Paul, a SQSP user for >18 yrs & Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
Work: Founder of SF.DIGITAL. We provide high quality original extensions to supercharge your Squarespace website. 
Content: Views and opinions are my own. Links in my posts may refer to my own SF.DIGITAL products or may be affiliate links.
Forum advice is completely free. You can thank me by selecting a feedback emoji. Buying a coffee is generous but optional.

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I *CANNOT BELIEVE* this still hasn't been addressed. I just manually fixed the images on 36 pages. I've been recommending Squarespace to colleagues, but I won't continue to do so as long as this bug exists. I will log a ticket.

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Hello all. We reported this issue the day it was moved to production in 2021 and many other users have reported it since then. The good news is the tags were deprecated in 2022: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2022/05/spring-cleaning-sitemap-extensions 

We have more info in our blog post about Squarespace sitemaps. 

Have SEO questions? Chances are we've written about it! Try a quick Google search to find our advice. Or for personalized support, see our consulting and training sessions.  Official Squarespace Experts since 2014 

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