SEO focus keyword is the term used in the Yoast SEO plugin to refer to the main keyword that your web page is targeting.
In this article I explain:
- What is an SEO focus keyword?
- Where to find SEO focus keywords?
- How to write an article around an SEO focus keyword
- How to optimize for your SEO focus keyword
Let’s dive in!
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’:
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:
Watch this Video: 'How To Choose Focus Keywords In Yoast's SEO Plugin' (24 mins: 36 secs)
3. How to Find SEO Focus Keywords
3.1 Start with Seed Words
Here’s the technique I use to find seed words:
And here's an example of how to extract the seed word from the keyword:
You’ll end up with a list of 100 to 150 seed words (roughly 1 seed word for every blog post title you collected).
3.2 Type Each Seed Word into a Keyword Research Tool
Here some free keyword research tools:
And here are some paid keyword research tools:
3.3 The Metrics of Good SEO Focus Keywords
Monthly Search Volume
If you’re a beginner, look for keywords that have a monthly search volume of 50 to 1000.
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’:
And here’s an example showing domain authority on Page #1 of Google for the keyword ‘content marketing for lawyers’:
In a nutshell:
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:
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:
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
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.
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:
You can often find even more more examples in the 'searches related to' section at the foot of the page:
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:
Copy and paste the URL of your new blog post:
Then click ‘Request Indexing’:
You should see your new blog post in the search results within 24 hours.
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.
- SEO for Blog Posts (23 Tips for Getting on Page #1 of Google)
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