You have probably come across the term “focus keyword” while using WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
While using this plugin for SEO assessment of your posts, you may have wondered:
“What exactly is the focus keyword? and what is the right way to find one for my posts or pages?”
Stick with me I will uncover everything possible about it today in an interesting way.
Today in this post, you will learn a step by step practical example of how to find focus keyword for your new posts and some frequently asked questions about it.
Let us dive right in.
What is a focus keyword?
Focus keyword is an input field phrase used by WordPress Yoast SEO plugin to assess SEO performance of your page’s content.
This plugin uses focus keyword to assess how good you have optimized your content around your supplied keyword.
Yoast SEO plugin does not add any keyword to HTML code of your website.
You enter it in the input field just for SEO assessment of your content.
Focus keyword is:
- The key concluding term that briefly indicates what your page’s content is all about.
- The keyword you are trying to rank your page for in the search engines.
- Brief caption for the book of your in-depth content.
Focus keyword is not the keyword you tell Google to rank your page for.
But, it is just a keyword around which you optimize your page’s content.(Once you properly optimize, Google will automatically know about what keywords your page is worth ranking for)
Google searchers put this keyword in the search box and will reach your content if you optimized it well around that.
Well, you have the basic meaning of it now.
Let us now understand it more clearly with some practical examples.
Focus Keyword Examples:
Example-1: Descriptive content:
This is the example of content that provides every possible descriptive detail of that keyword.
Let’s see an example:
Perform a Google search query for the keyword “Paracetamol”
Observe the results on the first page of Google.
These are the articles that talk about every detail of the subject:
chemical composition, medical uses, side effects, contradictory drugs, usage precautions, dosage limits etc of a generic drug called paracetamol.
So, what could have been the focus keyword for these top articles?
Obviously, it is the phrase “Paracetamol”.
Because these articles deliver every possible descriptive detail of “paracetamol” (the focus keyword)
Example-2: Actionable conent:
Articles that provide useful content that helps users take action.
Here is an example:
Perform a Google search query with a keyword “SEO copywriting”.
Have a look at the Backlinko article that is ranked at No:4 for the above keyword.
This article speaks about 17 powerful secrets that users can apply and take action.
This article does not contain a single descriptive sentence about what SEO copywriting actually is, but still ranks for it.
So, if you write some actionable content about some topic, you can choose that topic as your focus keyword.
Finding best focus keyword for your content:
Most bloggers do one big mistake while choosing their focus keyword.
They write their post first and then try to find their focus keyword for the written post.
There is not any focus keyword generator tool available yet on the internet for that purpose.
All the keyword tools available are for keyword suggestion and research purposes only.
Then what is the right way to go about that?
Decide your focus keyword first and then optimize your content for that focus keyword.
If you don’t know how to optimize your content for SEO, I have written a helpful guide on optimizing WordPress posts for SEO. (do check it out)
Now, let me show you the great way to choose focus keyword.
Before determining focus keyword for your posts, ask yourself these questions:
- What knowledge and value my post offers to my readers?
- What topic is my content speaks mostly about?
- What user search queries my content is relevant for?
- What keyword variations search users may use to reach my content?
After answering these questions, you should be ready with some basic keywords.
But how to decide focus keyword from these basic keywords?
The answer is “keyword research”.
The primary purpose of doing keyword research is to find the best keywords that have the high chance for you to rank for.
Stick with me I will show you an easy way to do that.
Performing keyword research to find best focus keyword:
Presume that you are writing a new post that lists best WordPress themes available for download.
Let’s do simple keyword research on this to find focus keyword for this post.
We will use an awesome keyword tool KWFINDER to find keyword search volume and its SEO difficulty score.
This user-friendly keyword tool gives you great insights like
- Relevant keyword suggestions
- Exact average monthly search volume (both global and country-specific)
- CPC rates and PPC advertising competition level (0–100 range)
- Keyword SEO difficulty score based on real Google top results (this is most important thing for choosing focus keyword) (0–100 range)
- Google trends for the keyword
- Which websites are currently ranking on top of Google for that keyword and their domain and page authority information
- Overall SEO difficulty score (0–100 range)
Steps to choose focus keyword:
- Fetch some relevant and right keywords that suit your content
- Sort these keywords in the descending order of search volume and in the ascending order of difficulty score.
- Select a keyword with low difficulty score and high search volume as your focus keyword
Important Note: High search volume keywords usually are highly competitive.Don’t compete with high authority domains if you are a beginner. (Better compete with domains of same DA or little more than yours)
Step-1: Fetch relevant keywords:
Head over to this cool keyword tool KWFINDER by Mangools and type the keyword “WordPress” or “WordPress themes” in the search box and hit “find keywords” button.
The alternate way:
For your convenience, I have embedded the keyword search box below:
Enter keyword “WordPress” in the box below and click on “find keywords” button
The keyword query results for “WordPress” will look this
The relevant keyword insights retrieved from KWFINDER for the post we are discussing are
SNo Keyword Avg monthly search volume (Global) SEO difficulty score (0–100 range) Domain Authority of top first Google result (0–100) 1 WordPress themes 164,232 77 100 2 WordPress templates 49,500 64 100 3 Theme wordpress 14,757 70 100 4 Best WordPress themes 14,798 55 97 5 Template wordpress 14,827 69 88 6 Wp themes 5,400 68 100 7 Top WordPress themes 1,900 57 100 8 Themes for wordpress 1,300 75 88
NOTE: consider this as a table
Once you are ready with the table above, now it is time for applying our logic in step2 below.
Step-2: Sort the keywords in the ascending order of difficulty score:
Now let us sort the results with low SEO difficulty score
SNo Keyword Avg monthly search volume(Global) SEO difficulty score (0–100 range) Domain Authority of top first Google result(0–100) 4 Best WordPress themes 14,798 55 97 7 Top WordPress themes 1,900 57 100 2 WordPress templates 49,500 64 100 5 Template wordpress 14,827 69 88 3 Theme wordpress 14,757 70 100
Step-3: Choose your focus keyword:
Closely see the sorted results in the table at step 2.
The keyword at SNo 4 “Best WordPress themes” having 14,798 average monthly global searches has low difficulty score of just 55.
This indicates that there is still room for more quality content around this keyword.
This is the right opportunity for you to easily reach the first page of Google SERPs.
Therefore, the best focus keyword for the post we are discussing now is apparently “best WordPress themes”
The top result has DA of 97 for this keyword but the difficulty score is less (just 55).
Therefore create quality content and optimize it for the chosen focus keyword.
Now let’s learn more about focus keyword.
Common Mistakes to avoid while dealing with focus keyword:
Let me save some of your precious blogging time:
Avoid these common new bee blogger mistakes while choosing focus keyword for your posts.
Don’t select seed keywords:
It is relatively difficult to rank for general terms (seed keywords) than for long tail keywords.
For example, consider following keywords in descending order of diificulty
casual shoes california
casual shoes california for men
If you select “shoes” as your your focus keyword, you may end seeing no traffic from Google because it is very difficult to rank for seed keywords like these.(you may be competing with big brands like Amazon)
Better concentrate on long tail keyword like “casual shoes california”(even though search volume is less for them, it is relatively easy to rank for them.
Don’t concentrate on more than one keyword in a single post:
If you concentrate on multiple keywords in a single post, it looks unnatural for your visitors, and you may end up ranking for none among them.
Dedicate each of your page to a single focus keyword and write outsmarting content around that keyword.
Smartly sprinkle other related keywords (LSI keywords) in the natural flow and you may rank for them.
Don’t keyword stuff your post:
Back in the days when Google depended on keyword iterations to understand pages.
Google in 2017 is smart enough to understand the topic of your page even though your keyword appears just once.
Yoast SEO recommends 2.5% focus keyword density.
So, try to reach that density in the natural flow,and don’t bother even if you don’t reach 2.5% keyword density.
Frequently Asked Questions about focus keyword (FAQs):
Remember : Yoast SEO plugin is just a content SEO (and readability) evaluation tool and it does not add any focus keyword to your page’s HTML code.
What should be focus keyword for my home page?
Your home page is all about your brand name, the services, and the products you sell or blog posts.
In the initial configuration settings of Yoast SEO plugin, you already add your brand name and tagline for your home page.(that will work as focus keyword).
Google understands your home page based on backlink anchor texts and the actual content on it.
So, no need to worry about setting a focus keyword for your home page.
What should be focus keyword for about or contact page?
Your about page is all about what what you write on your website and about the authors of it.
It is never a 2000 word long page to evaluate for SEO.
So, You can apparently leave it empty.
Why do you post a contact page?
Because you want your readers to contact you for feedback, questions, any advertising inquiries, and for building relationships.
Add these words into your contact page contextually and you are set.
No need to think of any focus keyword for contact page too.
Why no stop words in the focus keyword?
Yoast SEO plugin alerts you if you enter any stop word (is,are.for etc) in the focus keyword input field.
This is because Google ranks pages for keywords and not for exact sentences.
If your focus keyword contains any stop word you can simply trim it and leave rest of it in the input field
More about Yoast SEO focus keyword:
Let’s see some interesting things we come across while using Yoast SEO plugin associated with focus keyword
Multiple focus keywords:
This is the premium feature of Yoast SEO plugin. (Free plugin plan has only one focus keyword option)
If you want to optimize your content for more than one keyword, you can take Yoast SEO plugin premium subscription.
I don’t recommend optimizing your page for more than one keyword.
If you do that, you may end up making your page messy for users while trying to optimize it for search engines.
Focusing on one keyword per page is best and recommended.
If you don’t know about meta keywords in 2017, you need not worry about it because these are already outdated and are ignored by Google and other search engines.
I am adding this section in this article to make it clear that you don’t need to bother about them anymore.
For your knowledge, meta keywords are the keywords that are incorporated into the HTML code of a web page to tell search engines what the page is all about.
Meta keywords are in no way visible to human readers.
The structure of meta keywords looks like this:
<meta name=”keywords” content=”weight loss, losing weight, losing pounds,
Reduce weight, fat loss”>
Back in 1995, search engines used this structure to understand web pages.
People started misusing this feature by incorporating their targeted keywords to rank for without quality content.
So search engines ditched valuing meta keywords attribute.
Check out this article by Yoast If you want to know more about meta keywords
But the focus keyword is the phrase which real human visitors see in your content and show interest on.
Therefore focus keyword never becomes outdated.
This is the primary reason Yoast SEO plugin keeps meta keywords feature disabled by default in its settings and gives much importance to focus keyword.
Yoast SEO plugin provides an easy way for optimizing your content for SEO by taking focus keyword input from you.
But choosing the focus keyword has been a big problem for bloggers and webmasters out there.
Hope this guide helped you resolve that problem and explained everything about focus keyword and its choice.
If you get any doubts about focus keyword, you can comment here.
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Originally published at victorvijay.com on October 2, 2017.