What are They? How to Pick the Perfect One?

When it comes to increasing organic traffic, on-page optimization plays a crucial role.

You want to rank for one major keyword for every post you publish. Here’s where focus keywords come into play, which can be included in prominent places, such as;

  • Title tag
  • Heading
  • Image alt text
  • Subheadings, etc

Here’s the thing: include one PRIMARY focus keyword for each blog post you create. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss;

  • What are the focus keywords?
  • Focus keyword examples with best practices
  • Benefits of choosing focus keyphrases and more

Are you ready? Let’s jump into the details.

What is a Focus Keyword?

A focus keyword is the PRIMARY keyword phrase or topic you want your webpage to rank for in search engines like Google.

It is the single most important keyword around which your content should be optimized.

There are many optimization plugins, such as Rank Math SEO, Yoast SEO, All in One SEO, etc, that can help you write about a primary topic (i.e. Focus Keyphrase) as well as secondary terms (Additional Keyphrases).

Here’s what it looks like (in Rank Math);

focus keyword rankmathfocus keyword rankmath

Why choose focus keywords? 

So, what are the benefits of picking focus keywords for your blog posts? Here are a few;

  • Focus keyword phrases help search engines understand what your content is about
  • They can help you attract relevant search visitors to your site
  • Helps your content rank higher in search results for chosen keywords, ultimately increasing organic traffic
  • You can easily track the rankings of your focus keywords to track your success
  • You can save a lot of time by publishing relevant articles on topics that have traffic potential

Let’s now talk about choosing better focus keyword phrases for your website.

Pick the Perfect Focus Keyword: 5 Expert Tips You Can Use Today

focus keywordsfocus keywords

1. Use a long tail for your focus keyword

Most people often choose short-tail keywords while picking “focus keywords” for their blog posts or pages.

Unless you have a high domain authority website (over 75), it’s better to go for long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are much easier to rank for.

For example, a long-tail keyword like “SEO tools for website optimization 2024” is much easier to rank for than a short-tail keyword like “SEO tools.”

Here’s an excellent illustration from Semrush on long-tail keywords;

long tail searcheslong tail searches

As you can see from the above illustration, long-tail keywords often have fewer monthly searches but high conversion rates.

Here are some quick tips for finding long-tail focus keywords.

  • You can use Google autocomplete suggestions and platforms like Quora for long-tail keyword phrases.
  • Use long-tail variations. You can consider modifiers such as adding location, specific year, or user intent like “best,” “reviews,” or “how-to” to your primary keyword.
  • Look for your topic’s “People also ask” sections in Google. These answer boxes often provide valuable long-tail keyword ideas directly related to your main topic.
  • Above all, look at your Google Search Console data and find the “Search Queries” report to see what terms users are already using to find your site. Identify long-tail variations within these.

You can also use plugins like Rank Math SEO that can help you find long-tail keywords and content optimization. 

2. Research search volume & difficulty

You need to find out how many people search for your chosen keyword and how competitive it is. Here’s where search volume and keyword difficulty (KD) metrics are useful.

You can’t ignore these two things while choosing long-tail focus keywords.

  • Search volume: Choose keywords with enough searches. Make sure to avoid popular search terms with high competition. If you’re getting started, go for keywords with less than 200 to 500 searches.
  • Keyword difficulty: You must evaluate how hard it is to rank for your chosen focus keywords. You can use SEO tools like Ubersuggest or Semrush, as they can provide difficulty scores. 

Most keyword tools offer the above keyword metrics.

Have a look at Ubersuggest (which is a free tool);

keyword metricskeyword metrics

Similarly, for quick search rankings, you can use any tool to find focus keyphrases with less search volume and lesser keyword difficulty (less than 40).

Here’s what you need to remember: pick keywords with decent searches but less keyword difficulty scores. That’s how you can rank for your target keywords. Unless you have a higher authority domain (over 70 DA), don’t go for highly competitive keywords.

You can read our free guide on increasing your domain authority if you want to generate more search traffic.

3. Consider search intent

Analyze the search intent while picking a focus keyword for your individual blog posts.

Remember, users search online for different reasons.

They might be looking for more information or planning to purchase something. Knowing the intent helps you create the RIGHT content for them.

Why does user intent matter while picking focus keywords?

Here are a few reasons;

  • It helps you create relevant content that answers users’ actual questions
  • Google ALWAYS prioritize content that best satisfies user intent. Almost all the top-ranking pages on Google get top rankings because they satisfy the intent.
  • Targeting the right intent attracts the right audience, which ultimately helps you with better conversions and sales

The common types of keyword intent include;

  • Informational: People want to learn, understand, or research something (e.g., “best summer vacations in India”).
  • Transactional: Users are ready to buy something (e.g., “buy blue hiking boots”).
  • Navigational: Searchers know what they want and are looking for a specific website (e.g., “Amazon”).

The best way to understand the search intent behind a keyword is to analyze the SERP results and see what information is showing up.

For example, transactional keywords often return product or review pages, whereas informational queries return how-to guides or informative blog posts.

You can also look at the “People also ask” section to find out MORE about user intent variations.

Make sure to check our free guide on doing keyword research like a pro to find more details.

4. Analyze the SERP to create BETTER content

You need to analyze the competition in search results for your focus keywords. 

See what keywords your competitors rank for. That way, you can identify gaps you can fill while creating new content.

Remember to pay special attention to the top 10 results for your target keywords. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What type of content is ranking (blog posts, videos or product pages)?
  • What information do the top 10 results provide?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses? What’s missing?

Also, you can perform a content gap analysis to identify keywords your target audience is interested in but not yet covering on your blog.

Once you’re done analysing the search results for your focus keyword, it’s time to create better content.

Here are a few quick tips to create better content that fills the gaps:

  • Make it informative: Create 10x better content by offering detailed insights and unique angles.
  • Better optimized: Use relevant keywords naturally throughout the content but avoid keyword stuffing. Remember, most authority websites often ignore content optimization. So, you can fill that gap with proper usage of keywords.
  • More engaging: Use appealing images, tables, visuals, etc, to make your content more compelling.

5. Learn how to optimise your focus keyword

Finding relevant focus keywords is one thing, and optimising your content is another. 

If you want better rankings for focus keywords, you must learn how to optimize your content correctly. 

You must naturally include your target FOCUS keyword in your title, meta description, headings, and content. Make sure to prioritize READABILITY and user experience over anything.

There are tools like Rank Math or Yoast SEO that can help you optimize your blog posts for your focus keyword. We use and recommend the Rank Math SEO plugin, as it has a separate field to add focus keywords for your post or page.

Once you install and activate this WordPress plugin, go to the Post settings and enter your focus keyword in the Focus Keyword field.

Here’s what it looks like;

rank mathrank math

The best part about the Rank Math plugin is that, by default, it lets you add up to 5 focus keywords per post. If you have a Premium account, you can add unlimited keywords.

Also, Rank Math offers the Google Autocomplete feature to find more relevant focus keywords for your content.

While entering a focus keyword in the “Focus Keyword” field in Rank Math, it automatically suggests relevant LSI keywords.

Have a look;

lsi keywords rank mathlsi keywords rank math

As you can see above, once you start typing a keyword phrase in the Focus Keywords field, you’ll see a set of relevant keyword suggestions.

Once you’ve chosen focus keyword(s), Rank Math gives you a proper analysis of your content and suggests where to include your focus keyword for better rankings.

Have a look;

basic seobasic seo

If they are all green, you’ve correctly optimised your content.

Remember, these are only recommendations from Rank Math. However, you don’t ALWAYS need to get a green check on all the posts. Add keywords naturally to avoid keyword stuffing issues.

In fact, we’ve been using RankMath Pro for several years now, but we NEVER try to get a perfect green score. We use a combination of relevant keywords to optimize our posts (but never do over-optimization).

Frequently Asked Questions on Focus Keywords

Here are some commonly asked questions about focus keywords in SEO.

How do I find the focus keyword for SEO?

You can start brainstorming “seed keywords”. For example, “laptops” can be a seed keyword. You can then use keyword research tools like Semrush or Ubersuggest to come up with long-tail keyword phrases like “best laptops for writers”, which can be used as a focus keyword for your blog posts. 

How many focus keywords should a page include?

Each page should have one focus keyword, most preferably a long-tail keyword. Your focus keyword can be used as a primary keyword per page. There are plugins like Rank Math Pro that allows you to optimize your page for multiple keywords.

Why are focus keywords important?

If you want to help search engines understand what your content is about, you need to use a focus keyword for each page you create. Also, optimizing your content for chosen focus keywords can bring you more search traffic.

What metrics should be considered while picking a focus keyword?

Analyze search volume, competition level, and related keywords to identify better focus keywords for your website.

Can I change my focus keyword later?

Yes, you can update your focus keyword whenever you want. Just make sure the focus keyword’s “intent” matches the content you create. 

Should every page have a focus keyphrase?

Not every page needs a focus keyword. For example, you don’t have to worry about including a primary (or focus) keyword in your contact page or About page. However, include it whenever you want a page to rank for specific keywords in search results. 

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Final thoughts 

While picking focus keywords, make sure to analyze search volume, competition, and related keywords. Also, don’t focus on optimizing your pages TOO much with the same keywords. 

Use relevant keyword phrases along with long-tail keywords to make your content optimization natural. The key here is to use only those keywords that properly define the CONTEXT of the page. That’s how you can attract more search traffic.

Do you have any questions about focus keyphrases? Let us know in the comments. 

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