SEO Focus Keyword: 7 Powerful Secrets You Need To Know

Your SEO focus keyword is the main keyword that you target in your blog post or article.

In this article you'll discover:

  • how to find your focus keyword
  • how to write your article around a focus keyword
  • how to optimize for your SEO focus keyword

Let’s dive in!

seo focus keyword

1. What is an SEO focus keyword?

In the Yoast SEO plugin SEO ‘focus keyword’ used to refer to the keyword that is the focus of your article or blog post.

In the current version of the plugin, it’s called the ‘focus keyphrase’:

seo focus keyword

In a nutshell: the ‘SEO focus keyword’ or ‘focus keyphrase’ is the keyword that you’re trying to get your article to rank for in Google.

2. Why Use a Long Tail Keyword?

The SEO focus keyword should be a long tail keyword.

In other words, it should be a keyword that contains three or more words.

Here are two reasons you should make your focus keyword a long tail keyword:

Long Tail Keywords are Easy to Rank For

Long tail keywords are relatively easy to rank for on Page #1 of Google.

They have relatively low competition, but they also have relatively low monthly search volume.

That’s why the competition for them is low – the big players don’t bother with them.

It’s important to understand this trade-off: low competition in exchange for low traffic.

But don’t underestimate long tail keywords – they are low hanging fruit and many a blogger has made a fortune by targeting long tail keywords.

Long Tail Keywords Deliver Traffic That Converts Better

A key advantage of long tail keywords is that people who type them into Google are much further along the buyer journey than people who type in ‘head’ keywords.

This means that traffic from long tail keywords converts much better than traffic from ‘head’ keywords.

And that means you can get the same number of customers or sign-ups with a much smaller volume of traffic.

Examples of Long Tail Keywords

Here are some examples of ‘head’ keywords and long tail keywords:

  • travel tips = head keyword
  • travel tips for families = long tail keyword
  • content marketing = head keyword
  • content marketing for lawyers = long tail keyword
  • parenting tips = head keyword
  • parenting tips for single dads = long tail keyword
  • travel tips = head keyword
  • travel tips for families = long tail keyword
  • content marketing = head keyword
  • content marketing for lawyers = long tail keyword
  • parenting tips = head keyword
  • parenting tips for single dads = long tail keyword
Watch this Video: 'How To Choose Focus Keywords In Yoast's SEO Plugin' (24 mins: 36 secs)

3. How to Find SEO Focus Keywords

Start with Seed Words

Here’s the technique I use to find seed words:

  1. Visit 10 blogs in your niche and copy the titles of 15 blog posts from each blog site
  2. Every blog post title contains the keyword that the author wanted to rank for
  3. Extract the seed word from that keyword

And here's an example of how to extract the seed word from the keyword:

  • 'backpacking tips for europe' is the keyword
  • 'backpacking tips' is the seed word

You’ll end up with a list of 100 to 150 seed words (roughly 1 seed word for every blog post title you collected).

Type Each Seed Word into a Keyword Research Tool

Here some free keyword research tools:

- Word Tracker

seo focus keyword

- Uber Suggest

seo focus keyword

And here are some paid keyword research tools:

- KWFinder

seo focus keyword

- SEMRush

seo focus keyword

Find Focus Keywords With Good SEO Metrics

- Monthly Search Volume

If you’re a beginner, look for keywords that have a monthly search volume of 50 to 1000.

- Domain Authority

Install the free MozBar Chrome Extension and look at the domain authority of websites that rank on Page #1 of Google for that keyword.

Here’s an example showing domain authority on Page #1 of Google for the keyword ‘seo for real estate agents’:

seo focus keyword

And here’s an example showing domain authority on Page #1 of Google for the keyword ‘content marketing for lawyers’:

seo focus keyword

In a nutshell: 

  • If there are websites with a DA close to your own domain authority (i.e. within 3 or 5 DA points), you have a good chance of ranking for that keyword
  • But if the results on Page #1 of Google all have domain authority that's way above your DA, you need to find a less competitive keyword
seo focus keyword

4. How to Write Articles Around SEO Focus Keywords

Here are the steps I follow to research and write an article around an SEO focus keyword:

  1. Type your keyword into Google and scan the results
  2. Look at the topics and sub-topics covered in the top 5 articles on Page #1 for your chosen keyword
  3. Write an article that covers more topics and sub-topics than any of the 5 articles you examined
seo focus keyword

5. How to Optimise for an SEO Focus Keyword

Install the free Yoast SEO plugin and follow the SEO prompts until you have a green score:

seo focus keyword

The Yoast SEO plugin checks to see if your keyword (keyphrase) is in the following places:

  • Article title
  • SEO title
  • Meta description
  • First paragraph of your article
  • At least one heading or sub-heading
  • Slug (permalink)
  • Image alt tags
seo focus keyword

6. Use Variations of Your Focus Keyword

With semantic indexing, Google now looks for variations of your focus keyword. The more variations you have, the more likely it is that your content covers the topic comprehensively.

The result?

Your page will rank higher in the search results.

You can find variations of your focus keyword in Google's 'auto suggest' feature. Here's an example:

google auto suggest - seo focus keyword variations

You can often find even more more examples in the 'searches related to' section at the foot of the page:

google auto suggest - seo focus keyword variations

7. How to Get Your New Blog Post Indexed by Google

Once your article is live, head over to the new Google Search Console and click on URL Inspection:

seo focus keyword

Copy and paste the URL of your new blog post:

seo focus keyword

Then click ‘Request Indexing’:

seo focus keyword

You should see your new blog post in the search results within 24 hours.

Conclusion

Your SEO focus keyword is the keyword that you want your article to rank for in Google.

In this article I’ve shown you:

  • Why your SEO focus keyword should be a long tail keyword
  • How to find your SEO focus keyword
  • How to research and write content around your SEO focus keyword
  • How to optimize your content for your SEO focus keyword
  • How to find variation of your seo focus keyword

Follow the steps in this article and you should start seeing your blog posts ranking on Page #1 of Google for your SEO focus keyword.

Related Articles

This post was most recently updated on July 4th, 2020

Rob Powell
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6 thoughts on “SEO Focus Keyword: 7 Powerful Secrets You Need To Know”

  1. Thanks, Rob For Sharing amazing article

    I have one quire!!! How can we find more focus keyword when all tools show different Keyword Metrics?

  2. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your comment, much appreciated!

    I wasn’t sure if I understood your question. It’s true that the keyword research tools all offer slightly different metrics. Even when they offer the same metric, it can be wildly different. For example, SEMrush’s Keyword Difficulty score is much tougher than KWFinder’s (i.e. the same keyword will have a much harder rating in SEMrush than in KWFinder).

    I have found that the best guide to whether you can rank on Page #1 of Google for a given keyword is to do a search on that keyword and see if any of the sites that rank on Page #1 has a Domain Authority (DA) close to yours. If so, then you have a good chance of ranking for that keyword. To check on the DA scores of sites that rank on Page #1 of Google, just install the MozBar Chrome Extension

    Hope this helps,
    Rob.

  3. Thanks for this informative post. After a long time I have found a nice and realistic content on keywords research and SEO. Many many thanks for your contribution. I have read a lot of articles on this topic. But I don’t find any simple and easy content about the topic. Please describe how I use Google search console . In your post it’s not clear to me .

    .

    .

  4. Hi Zahir,

    Thanks, it’s great to get a comment like that!

    And thanks also for your request – my next blog post will be about Google Search Console.

    Stay tuned 🙂

    Best, Rob.

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