What is a Focus Keyword?
A focus keyword, also known as a focus keyphrase, is a specific term or phrase that represents the primary topic or subject of a piece of content, such as a blog post or web page, for which you want your website to rank in search engine results.
Websites can enhance their chances of appearing higher in search results by targeting these specific keywords and optimizing their content accordingly.
Importance of focus keyword
A focus keyword is important because it serves as a guide for both search engines and readers.
When a search engine crawls a website, it looks for specific keywords to understand what the content is about.
By using a focus keyword, website owners can make it easier for search engines to find and categorize their content.
At the same time, a focus keyword also helps readers to understand the main topic of the content. When readers search for information online, they often use specific keywords to find what they are looking for.
In this way, a focus keyword enables readers to identify relevant content that aligns with their search queries.
Difference between some closely related terms
Keywords, search queries, topics, and focus keywords are related to search engine optimization (SEO) but they are not the same thing.
A keyword is a term that digital marketers or SEO professionals identify as significant for their business or industry.
Keywords are the terms or phrases that they believe people are most likely to use when searching for their products, services, or content.
They use these keywords to optimize their websites and content in hopes of attracting more traffic from search engines.
A focus keyword, on the other hand, is the main keyword that you want your page to rank for. While your content might include multiple keywords, the focus keyword is the one you consider most important.
It's the term or phrase you believe is most closely aligned with the content of your page and most likely to attract your target audience.
A search query, on the other hand, is the actual term or phrase that a user types into a search engine, such as Google or Bing. The search engine then uses that query to find relevant content and display it in the SERPs.
A topic is a general subject or theme that a piece of content is about. For example, "healthy eating" is a topic that could cover a wide range of subtopics and keywords.
How do focus keywords affect SEO?
Focus keywords can have a significant impact on search engine optimization by helping websites optimize their content and increase their visibility in SERPs.
Here are some of the ways focus keywords can affect SEO:
By using relevant focus keywords in their content, websites can improve their relevance to the search queries that people are using to find related content.
Search engines use complex algorithms to rank websites based on a variety of factors, including the relevance and quality of the content.
By optimizing content around relevant and targeted focus keywords, websites can increase their chances of ranking higher in the search results for those terms.
Click-through rate (CTR)
The click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who click on a website link when it appears in the search results for a specific keyword or phrase.
Websites can enhance their chances of getting more clicks by optimizing their content around targeted focus keywords.
Higher rankings and a higher CTR can lead to increased traffic to a website, which can be beneficial for SEO and other digital marketing efforts.
How to find a focus keyword and related keyphrases?
Identify your main topic
Start by identifying the main topic or subject of your content. This will help you narrow down potential keywords and phrases.
To identify your main topic, consider the purpose and main message of your content. What is it about? What are you trying to communicate to your audience? Is there a specific topic or theme that your content focuses on?
For example, if you are creating a blog post about healthy eating, the main topic or subject of your content is likely to be "healthy eating."
From there, you can start to brainstorm potential keywords and phrases that are related to this topic, such as "healthy eating tips", or "healthy vegan recipes".
Target long-tail keywords
Targeting long-tail keywords can be a great strategy for finding focus keywords for your content.
Long-tail keywords are more specific and targeted phrases that typically have lower search volume and competition than shorter, more general keywords.
By targeting long-tail keywords, you can create content that is more specific and tailored to the needs of your audience.
This can help you rank higher in search results for those specific keywords and attract more targeted traffic to your website.
Once you have identified some long-tail keywords that are relevant to your content and have a good balance of search volume and competition, choose one as your focus keyword.
Tools to get long-tail keywords
There are many tools available to help you find long-tail keywords for your content. Here are some popular options:
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a free tool offered by Google that helps you discover related keywords and phrases that are relevant to your primary topic.
By entering your main topic into the tool, it generates a list of associated keywords along with their respective search volumes and competition levels.
This information assists you in selecting a focus keyword that aligns with your content or advertising strategy.
Ahrefs is a powerful keyword research tool that provides a comprehensive analysis of related keywords, including search volume, keyword difficulty, and other important metrics.
It can help you find relevant long-tail keywords and phrases as focus keywords and identify opportunities for optimization.
SEMrush is another popular keyword research tool that provides insights into related long-tail keywords and phrases.
You can enter your focus keyword into the tool and it will provide a list of related keywords along with their search volume and competition levels.
Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz Keyword Explorer is a keyword research tool that can help you find related keywords and phrases that are related to your focus keyword.
It provides insights into keyword difficulty, search volume, and other important metrics.
Check the search volume
Checking the search volume for your keyword is an important step in keyword research. It helps you understand how many people are searching for a particular keyword or phrase and can help you determine the potential value of targeting that keyword.
To check the search volume for your keyword, you can use a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMrush.
These tools provide data on search volume, competition, and other metrics for a given keyword.
To use Google Keyword Planner to check search volume, follow these steps:
Go to the Google Keyword Planner website.
Sign in to your Google Ads account.
Click on "Discover new keywords" in the Keyword Planner toolbar.
Enter the keywords you want to research in the "Enter keywords or a website" field.
Click on "Get results".
The Keyword Planner will provide a list of related keywords.
Each keyword will include information such as search volume, competition, and cost per click (CPC).
To use Ahrefs or SEMrush to check search volume, follow these steps:
Sign in to your Ahrefs account. In the Ahrefs dashboard, click on the "Keywords Explorer" tool. Enter the keyword or phrase you want to check the search volume for in the search bar. Select the desired location or leave it as a global search.
Ahrefs will display the search volume data for the keyword, along with other metrics like keyword difficulty and clicks data.
Log in to your SEMrush account. From the SEMrush dashboard, go to the "Keyword Analytics" section. Enter your target keyword in the search bar.
Choose the desired country or region for search volume data.
SEMrush will provide you with search volume information, as well as additional metrics like keyword difficulty, CPC, and more.
Check what is ranking well
Checking posts that already rank for good terms is a great way to gauge the potential traffic for your new post.
If you have older posts that are ranking well for specific keywords or phrases, you can use Google Trends to compare the search volume for those keywords with the focus keyphrase you have in mind for your new post.
Here's how you can use Google Trends to compare the search volume for your keyphrase with the focus keyphrases of older posts:
Go to Google Trends and enter the focus keywords/keyphrases from the older posts and your new keyphrase. This will show you the search volume trends for each key phrase over time.
Compare the search volume trends for the focus keyphrases of the older posts with your new keyphrase. If the search volume for your new keyphrase is similar to or higher than the focus keyphrases of the older posts, this could indicate good potential traffic for your new post.
One way to conduct keyword research is to Google your proposed focus keyword and check the search engine result pages to see what content appears for that keyword.
This can help you understand the competition level and what type of content you need to create to rank for that keyword.
Here's how to conduct this research:
Google your proposed focus keyword and analyze the top 10 organic search results. Take note of the type of content that appears (e.g. blog posts, product pages, videos, etc.) and the format of the content (e.g. listicles, how-to guides, case studies, etc.).
Review the content of the results pages and take note of any common themes or topics. This can help you understand what type of content is relevant to your keyword and what information your target audience is looking for.
Check out social media and forums related to your keyword. This can help you understand what questions people are asking and what topics are being discussed. Use this information to create content that addresses these questions and topics.
You should also repeat your research from time to time. Search engine algorithms and user behaviour can change over time, so it's important to periodically review your keyword research to ensure that you are still targeting the right keywords.
How to Use Focus Keywords in WordPress?
Here's a guide on how to use a focus keyword in WordPress:
Use focus keywords in WordPress using All-in-One SEO
The first step in using a focus keyword is to perform keyword research. This will help you identify the keywords and phrases that people are searching for related to your content.
Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to research potential keywords for your content.
Install All-in-One SEO
Install and activate the All-in-One SEO plugin in WordPress. This plugin will help you optimize your content for search engines.
Enter your focus keyword
In the All-in-One SEO plugin, enter your focus keyword in the Focus Keyphrase field. This should be a specific and targeted keyword or phrase that accurately represents the main topic of your content.
Make suggested SEO updates
The All-in-One SEO plugin will analyze your content and provide suggestions for how to optimize it for your focus keyphrase.
Follow these suggestions, which may include:
Using the focus keyphrase in the title, meta description, and URL of your content
Using the focus keyphrase in subheadings (H2, H3, etc.) throughout the content
Including the focus keyphrase in the first paragraph of your content
Using variations of the focus keyphrase throughout the content
Ensuring your content is of high quality and relevance to the focus keyphrase
Once you have made the suggested SEO updates, you can preview your content and see how it will appear on SERPs.
Use focus keywords in WordPress using the Yoast plugin
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use focus keywords in WordPress using the Yoast plugin:
Install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress site.
Create a new post or edit an existing one.
Scroll down to the Yoast SEO section below the post editor.
In the "SEO title" field, enter the title you want to appear in search engine results. This should include your focus keyword.
In the "Slug" field, make sure the URL includes your focus keyword.
In the "Meta description" field, write a brief description of your post that includes your focus keyword.
Under the "Focus keyphrase" tab, enter your focus keyword or phrase in the input field.
Yoast will analyze your post and provide feedback on how well you've optimized it for your focus keyword. Follow the suggestions to improve your optimization.
You can also use the Yoast plugin to analyze your overall site's SEO and identify areas for improvement.
Places to put your focus keywords
There are several places where you can use focus keywords to optimize your content for search engines:
Include your focus keyword in the title tag of your page or blog post. This is one of the most important on-page SEO elements and can help search engines understand the topic of your content.
Write a concise and compelling meta description that includes your focus keyword. This is the short blurb that appears in search engine results and can influence whether someone clicks through to your site.
Use your focus keyword in your headings (H1, H2, etc.) to break up your content and make it more scannable.
This can also help search engines understand the structure of your content.
Incorporate your focus keyword naturally throughout the body of your content. Be careful not to stuff your content with keywords, as this can hurt your SEO.
Image alt text
Add descriptive alt text to your images that include your focus keyword. This can help your images appear in Google Image search results.
Include your focus keyword in the URL of your page or post. This can also help search engines understand the topic of your content.
The best way to utilize a focus keyword
It's important to use your focus keyword or phrase naturally and avoid keyword stuffing, which can be seen as spammy and can harm your SEO.
Focus on creating high-quality, valuable content that satisfies the search intent of your audience, and use your focus keyword or phrase where it makes sense.
Also, keep in mind that your focus keyword or phrase should be relevant to the content on your page.
Using the same focus keyword on multiple pages of your site may not be effective, as it could create confusion for search engines and dilute the relevance of your content.
Focus keywords play a crucial role in optimizing your content for search engines and improving its visibility and ranking in search results pages.
By identifying relevant focus keywords and incorporating them into your content, you can increase the chances of your content being discovered by your target audience.
Additionally, you have to keep in mind that the goal of using focus keywords and related keywords is not to simply stuff your content with as many keywords as possible, but rather to optimize your content in a natural and user-friendly way that provides value to your audience.