15. Optimizing textual page elements || SEO Fundamentals

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The main goal of a search engine is to guide people to content that is relevant
to a certain keyword or phrase that they searched for.
We can fine-tune the relevance of your page for a certain topic through the
process of on-page optimization.
The Explore California website has a page focused on backpacking tours in
California, and let’s imagine that through our keyword research we decided that
we wanted to optimize this page for the phrase “backpacking tours in California.”
Let’s walk through how we might optimize the different elements on this page for
that particular search term.
The first element we’re going to optimize is the URL.
The URL is the location of the page we’re looking at, and you can find it up
there in the address bar.
You can think of it almost like a file on your computer, and much like the path
to any file on your computer, we can follow some simple guidelines that allow us
to create a good URL that can be found and understood quickly.
The URL length should be as concise as reasonably possible, but at the same time
it needs to contain some usable information about the page itself.
You might find that your website structure uses a system of subfolders, and this
can be goo, in that it helps with site structure.
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to make sure that the keyword phrase we’re
targeting is found in the URL.
Here, we can pick out the individual words of California, tours, and backpack,
which is certainly helpful.
But if we’re targeting this page for “backpacking tours in California,” we can
probably tighten that up a bit.
Let’s go ahead and change this page name to
backpacking-tours-in-california.html.
Of course, you’d have to actually update this file name on your server and update
the navigation that points to it, but this is short, it’s very descriptive of
the page, and it matches the keyword phrase that we’re targeting.
Also notice how we use hyphens instead of spaces or underscores in the URL.
This is important, and it helps the search engines to break up words properly.
The next element we’ll look at is the meta title tag, and here we’re going to go
into the source code of this page.
If you’re a programmer, you’ll be right at home here, and if you’re not, it’s
still a good idea to keep watching, so you’ll be able to talk the talk when it
comes time to implement these items on your own website.
This page’s title tag is pretty generic, and it doesn’t really give a search
engine any indication that this page is about our target keyword phrase.
Let’s go ahead and change it to Backpacking Tours in California –
Explore California.
We’re keeping it fairly short, very descriptive, and very targeted to the phrase
we want to rank for.
Notice that we didn’t simply use our target phrase by itself or just repeat it over and over.
Here we included the “- Explore California” at the end.
One reason for this is that the meta title tag is also the title that’s used for
the page’s search engine result listing.
Not only are we trying to optimize a title so that search engines identify the
theme of our page, we’re also trying to entice users to click on it when they
see it in the search results.
In this example, we believe that mentioning the website name might reinforce
the context of where this page lives and help convince people to click our
results over the others.
But don’t make the title too long or detract too much from your target keyword phrase.
A good rule of thumb is to try to stay under 65 characters.
Another meta tag that we can configure is the meta description.
Although optimizing this tag won’t improve your search engine rankings and is
largely ignored by all the major search engines in their ranking algorithms, it
can improve your search engine result’s click-through rate.
This is because this tag is often used as the text that shows up under the title



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