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What is a focus keyword in SEO

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Within the Yoast SEO plugin there is a field where you can insert a keyword or phrase for your page or post called the Focus Keyword Field. Once the keyword or search phrase has been added, Yoast SEO will then evaluate your content – including the SEO title, H1 tag, content, and other elements – to let you know how well you have optimized your page or post for search engine optimization. This is a tremendous tool and reference for small business SEO and lets you know when you are doing things right and more importantly when you are doing things wrong. Below is an example of what the focus keyword section looks like. 

What is a focus keyword

Understanding how to properly use this section of your website will ensure that your content is optimized correctly and that you are avoiding any search engine optimization penalities that might cause harm to your site. 

What is a focus keyword and what are it’s benefits?

Before we explain what is a focus keyword it is important that we discuss its objective. The focus keyword within Yoast SEO does not make your website page or post rank by itself. The purpose of this field is to help you (the author) focus on creating content around a certain keyword or search phrase that your business is trying to rank for. So how do you use it? 

Thankfully Yoast utilizes a color-coded system that shows you whether a page or post has been fully optimized. They call it their traffic light.

Green = Good or Optimized

Yellow/Orange = Okay or Partially Optimized

Red = Bad or Not Optimized

The focus keyword plays a major role in the color grade your content receives. Yoast SEO will even change the color of your page or page over time if you elect to use that same keyword in another piece of content. Below is an example of how a WordPress page or post can turn green in Yoast. 

Yoast SEO

What is a focus keyword in SEO? How To Choose The Right One

Just in case you need a reminder from Yoast about what is a focus keyword. Here it is directly from them.

The focus keyphrase is the phrase that you want your post or page to be found for in search engines. Sometimes, it is a single word, but it usually consists of a few words. That’s why we call it a keyphrase. For example, if you want your blog post to rank for ‘healthy snacks’, then optimize your post for that term. Your focus keyphrase can also be longer. For instance, you could write an article about healthy snacks specifically made for kids and optimize for ‘healthy snacks for kids’. Or a post about healthy snacks to eat after a workout, and optimize for ‘healthy snacks after workout’. 

Now the question becomes how do you choose the right focus keyword for your page or post? There are many different approaches a person can take, but the best strategy is to focus on longtail keywords. Let’s use an example to explain.

Think about how often the term “restaurant near me” is searched for. A lot! That also means that there are many companies and restaurants trying to optimize their website page or post for this search term. That makes it even harder to rank for. The trick is to focus on a longer or more specific keyword or search phrase that your website will rank for. So instead of focusing on the term “restaurant near me” you might try to optimize for “Chinese restaurant near me” or “Chinese Restaurant near Baltimore, MD”. they might get less search traffic, but if you are a Chinese restaurant in Baltimore, MD this is the kind of person you want coming to your website anyway. 

Conclusion: What is a Focus Keyword in SEO

As you can see the focus keyword within Yoast SEO is very important. Luckily though, choosing the perfect keyword or search phrase is not an exact science. Always aim to use a combination of search phrases that are used by your target audience. Select keywords and search phrases that have high search volume and are easier to rank for. If you have any questions regarding small business SEO please click on the button below to give us a call!