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Search Engine Optimization-SEO

How to choose the right focus keyword

In the  SEO , you’ll find a focus keyphrase input field for every page on your site. Here, you can enter the keyword or keyphrase you’d like the page to rank for in Google. If you do so,  SEO will run a check on the content of that page to see if search engines will recognize what your page is about.

What is a focus keyword?

The focus keyword or keyphrase is the search term that you want a page or post to rank for most. When people search for that phrase, they should find you. If you set a focus keyphrase for a page our SEO evaluates the page’s content and provides feedback on how to improve the content to rank higher for that search term. You’ll find the feedback to improve your content in the SEO analysis tab. If you amend your page with this feedback, it will be easier for search engines to recognize what your post or page is about.

Check out this video to see how it works:

Why a focus keyphrase?

Regularly adding quality content to your website or blog is a good SEO strategy. Google sees that your website is active because new information is added and you increase the volume of your content.

But randomly adding content to your site isn’t very useful. You have to craft a keyword strategy and based on that strategy you should create high-quality content your audience is looking for. When you write those articles, it’s important to optimize them for the keyphrases you’re aiming at. And that’s what Yoast SEO helps you with.

How to choose a focus keyphrase

In our view, there are at least three things you should do to determine which keywords you should optimize your blog posts for:

  1. Find a focus keyword people search for
  2. Research the search volume
  3. Google your keyphrase

Let’s elaborate on these steps a bit:

1. Find a focus keyword people search for

As we mentioned above, your keyword strategy  should have given you some idea of what you want to write about. If you don’t have a keyword strategy, you should really create one.

Long-tail keywords

If you want a post or page to rank, you can increase your chance of succes by aiming for Long tailed keywords . On those keywords, there’s less competition and the chances to convert are usually higher. Read all about them in this guide on content SEO.

Tools that help you find keyphrases

SEO  helps you to optimize your post for your chosen focus keyphrase. One of the tools you can use to find – related – keywords is our SEO suggest tool. This tool uses the same data as Google Suggest to find the first ten keywords and then expands on that. This is the same as what you’d see when you type the search term into a Google search box.

The terms you will find in Suggest are terms and combinations of words that are logical and used by actual people to search on the web. This tool can be beneficial in giving you some first ideas about the search behavior of people in the area you want to write about.

Remember that these search suggestions change all the time. The suggestions will often be tuned to what you’ve been searching for before. When we searched for the term “focus keyword” some time ago, this was the suggest output:

Later on, the output showed this:

focus keyword search november 2014

Suggest changes based on the problems people have, so monitoring it for important keywords makes sense. New results can give you input for your post or other, but related posts.

2. Research the search volume for your keyphrase

Once you have found a long-tail search term you want to rank for, you should put some effort into discovering whether or not there are many searches for that keyword or phrase – the search volume.

We will be the first to admit; Google has made this really hard. The only way to know for sure how often a search term is used is to have an active AdWords account and bid on the search term of your choice. We understand this is a bit too difficult and expensive for most of you (we hardly ever do this ourselves).

Google Trends

Not to worry, using Google Trends should give you at least some idea, in a creative way, about search volume. Google Trends allows you to compare the search volume between two search terms over a certain time. This will give some insight into the volume of the search terms people use, relative to other terms.

Check your posts that already rank

If you already have some (blog) posts that rank well for good terms, you will know how many visitors these posts attract. Using Google Trends to compare the focus keyphrases of older posts (which you can view the statistics for) with the focus keyphrase you have in mind for your new post, could give you some idea about the potential traffic this new keyphrase could bring. Make sure to choose older posts that are most similar to the post you’re planning to write: if you’re planning to choose a long-tail keyword, compare posts with long-tail keywords as well.