SEO advice for DIY websites

SEO for Real People | How to Get More Clicks from Google

When was the last time you Googled yourself or your business? We’ve all done it! But most new customers won’t look for you by name; their searches will be more generic. What results appear when you enter phrases that potential customers might search for? How far down the page are you? If someone has to click beyond the first page to find your website, you’re probably not getting much traffic from search engines. 

Is this fixable? Yes!  

The goal of search engines like Google is to provide relevant results. To rank well for specific keywords, websites need accurate, related content and an excellent user experience — secure, fast-loading, easy-to-use. Spending even a small amount of time on search engine optimization (SEO) makes a big difference, and the key steps are more accessible you might think.

Get to know SEO lingo

Understanding the basics will take you a long way. Here are several terms you need to know:

Search query: This is the word/phrase a potential customer types (or speaks) into a search engine to find something. If someone wanted Mexican food in San Francisco, they might use the query, “best tacos in the city.”

Keywords: Keywords (or keyword phrases) are the terms you want to target based on what you think customers are searching for. Get to know your specific audience and learn what’s important to them. How do they talk about your kind of products? 

Strategically use these words on your website to help search engines understand what your site is about. But don’t overuse them — that’s called keyword stuffing, it’s considered spam, and it  can negatively affect rankings.

Title: Every page on your website has a title tag — the clickable blue text you see in search results. Include important keywords for your business in the title, but ensure they’re relevant to the content on the page.

Meta description: Meta descriptions explain what searchers will find when they visit that particular page on your site. They don’t directly impact your rankings, but they are a chance to give prospective visitors a mini sales pitch. Keep it short and enticing to motivate people to click. 

Snippet: A snippet is the text that shows up in search results. The core pieces of a snippet are the title, meta description, and URL.

For more information, read what Google has to say about creating search snippets.

Image alt text: “Alt text” describes an image within your posts and pages. It’s used in three ways:

  • Screen readers help people with visual impairments understand what’s on a webpage by reading the alt text. 
  • Search engines use alt text to understand what your image is about.
  • Browsers display alt text if, for some reason, your image doesn’t load.

Using accurate keywords in image alt text may lead to better visibility in Google Image search results. 

While you might be tempted to describe this photo as “Black Bottle Gastrotavern”, a more descriptive and helpful text would be, “the front of Black Bottle Gastrotavern partially shaded and surrounded by plants.” 

Search engine results pages (SERPs): SERPs are the pages displayed by search engines when someone searches for a keyword or phrase. Each one is unique to each user based on factors like location, search history, and social settings.

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How to use keywords naturally and effectively

If you have a list of target keywords that connect with your audience, you’re a step ahead of the game. Your goal now is to incorporate those phrases into critical places across your site in a compelling way.

Add keywords to page titles

People scan SERPs rather than reading them in detail, so titles need to grab their attention.

You have a limited amount of space to work with — usually between 55 and 60 characters with spaces — so be thoughtful. Make the purpose of each page immediately apparent, while incorporating your keyword naturally — don’t overuse it! Remember: you’re writing this title for real people.

You may also want to add your brand name to the end of your title. This helps searchers understand who created the page and builds brand recognition. 

Here are a few titles that naturally incorporate target keywords:

Best Tacos in San Francisco: The Search for the Perfect Taco

This reflects what taco lovers might search for.

Joe’s Auto Shop: Car and Truck Repair in Orlando, Florida

This title tag for the homepage of a local small business highlights the important keywords and the location served.

Private Tap Dance Lessons for Kids | Sarah’s Dance Studio

This could be a service page on a website. It puts the main keyword phrase first and the brand/business second.

Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots | Free Shipping

This could be for an eCommerce category page. It highlights the main keyword phrase and an important benefit for online shoppers.

Add keywords to meta descriptions

Even though you may rank well for target keywords, it doesn’t matter if no one clicks through to your site — you’ve lost the opportunity to connect with people or make a sale. That’s where a page’s meta description comes into play.

People only see your meta descriptions in search engine results, not on your actual website. And while they won’t impact your rankings, they preview the content on your web page and make searchers curious. You want searchers to believe they’ll find what they’re looking for while making them eager to learn more.

Write clear descriptions that highlight the most important takeaways from that page. It doesn’t have to be keyword-focused, though you probably want to include your keyword in a natural way. Another best practice is to add a call to action that encourages searchers to click.

Here are a few examples of meta descriptions paired with the title tags we listed in the last section: 

Best Tacos in San Francisco: The Search for the Perfect Taco
Got a craving for the top tacos in the Bay Area? Check out our reviews of the most popular Mexican restaurants and food trucks before you leave home.

Joe’s Auto Shop: Car and Truck Repair in Orlando, Florida
Need your vehicle fixed? For the last 15 years, Joe’s Auto Shop has been a top-rated Orlando service center. Trust our expert mechanics. Call 407-555-1234.

Private Tap Dance Lessons for Kids | Sarah’s Dance Studio
Get specialized attention for your child from an expert tap dance instructor in a state-of-the-art Vancouver studio. Click for rates and availability.

Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots | Free Shipping
Order the best brands in women’s waterproof boots for hiking and casual wear. Find Sorel, Ugg, Sperry, and more. Get free shipping anywhere in the U.S.

Every piece of your SEO copy should be written with the real people who are your target audience in mind, not specifically for search engines. Search engines aren’t buying anything — you need people to click through to your site and choose to become paying customers.

Add keywords to image alt text

While you should incorporate target keywords into alt text, it’s more important to accurately describe each image. If your keyword doesn’t make sense in context, leave it out. 

WordPress website owners can add image alt text right in the editor. Look for the “Alt Text” field when you select an image in your Media Library.

Be descriptive and concise. Imagine not being able to see the image at all — would the alt text give enough details to help people picture it?

Here are some examples of alt text for images you might find on the imaginary web pages we’ve been using in this article:

  1. Taco platter from El Sarape’s with a fish taco, chicken taco, and steak taco
  2. Team photo of eight Joe’s Auto mechanics in blue jumpsuits
  3. Young dance student with red hair at a private lesson
  4. Brown leather Ugg boots with green laces

Optimized image alt text is especially useful for attracting searchers who use image results to find specific products, so it’s an important aspect of SEO for eCommerce websites.

How Jetpack helps with WordPress website SEO

Jetpack’s SEO tools provide a simple way for you to edit page snippets and view live previews of what your pages will look like on search engines. Before you publish anything, you’ll be able to see what customers might find when they search for you.

Because search engines want to provide the best experience for their users, they also consider factors like site speed and mobile-friendliness when determining rankings. The key to SEO is delivering what matters to both search engines and people. 

Is your website too slow? Jetpack works behind the scenes to boost performance and improve site speed.

Does your site look odd on smartphones and tablets? Jetpack users have access to mobile-friendly WordPress themes, which ensure text, images, and navigation display properly, no matter the device.

Beyond the search engine optimization tools available with the Premium and Professional plans, Jetpack’s traffic tools offer more ways to attract an audience and gain insights about the people visiting your website. This includes a Related Posts feature to keep readers clicking on your content, Site Stats to track what’s happening on your site, and the ability to automate social media posts.

Help the right people find you online

The most important thing to remember for successful SEO is to keep real people in mind. Gone are the days of stuffing keywords and optimizing for robots! Focus on creating content that uses compelling language and resonates with your target audience and let Jetpack help with the technical end.

Choose the right Jetpack plan for you.

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Jesse Friedman profile
Jesse Friedman

Jesse Friedman has been building websites for 20 years, and exclusively with WordPress since 2006. Jesse has written several books, taught 100’s of students as a professor, and organized dozens of local meetups along with a few WordCamps. Jesse has spoken at tech conferences around the world including SXSW, HOW, Future events and many more; and has consulted for a wide array of companies from small agencies to multi-billion dollar international companies. Today Jesse is the VP of Innovation and Partnership Success for Jetpack at Automattic, where he spends his time working on partnership and marketing strategies.

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  1. yeyebrity says:

    I tried to verify my blog YeYebrity with the Jettpack webmaster verifying tools, but its not working, what can I do?


  2. nitesh patel says:

    I learned a better way to insert alt text in an image. Previously I just used to stuff keywords. Nice information.

    Liked by 1 person

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