A Simple Guide To Yoast’s Focus Keyword Feature

A Simple Guide To Yoast’s Focus Keyword Feature

How To Use Yoast’s Focus Keyword Feature Effectively To Get Your Articles Found on Search Engine

This is a part of my Simple SEO Guide For Writers And Content Producers series that comes out weekly. Stay tune to learn more about different aspects of SEO and what tools and tactics can help improve your content marketing strategies.


Yoast’s SEO plugin is a free and powerful SEO tool that if used properly can give your content a great boost of search engine performance. Search engine optimization is a very complex topic that requires consistent efforts from content planning/creation to technical stuff like on page SEO implementations, meta data manipulation, and external linking building, etc.. This week we will cover how to the Yoast SEO plugin to improve our articles’ on page SEO. The key to our success lies within a 2-word phrase: Focus Keyword.

1. What Is A Focus Keyword

When you want to find an answer to your question online, you would input a number of words in the search engine (say Google or Yahoo) to  pull up a page of hopefully relevant content links that would lead you closer to getting your question answered. The words that you type in the search engine is the search keyword that you have chosen to look for your desired content. A focus keyword is a search phrase that you, after some research and planning, have chosen to revolve your new content around in hope to get a good ranking in search results when a user input the chosen keyword in the search bar. There is no guarantee that your chosen keyword is going to land you a bunch of new visitors, but it offers you a greater chance to garner more exposure on search engines because it speaks to Google’s algorithm.

2. Tools That Help You Identify Your Next Focus Keyword

Yoast’s WordPres SEO Plugin

Take a quick look at the Yoast SEO box that has automatically been added to your post editing screen when the SEO plugin was installed.

Yoast SEO Plugin Screenshot

Notice that there is a Focus Keyword field that is awaiting to be filled in. Go ahead and type something in there. As depicted in the screenshot above, a drop down menu of keywords will soon appear for you to choose from. According to Yoast, the list of keywords are pulled directly from Google’s search data in the order of how many times those keywords have been used by users to look up stuff with on Google. This field is generally a good place to start with when coming up with your next post’s focus keyword.

Google Trends

Google Trends is another very cool place to find your focus keyword. Simply navigate to the website and begin exploring in the ocean of keywords trends. There you can see the most used keywords of the current moment in any specific country, most popular YouTube videos of the day in a country, and many other trending items. You can simply type in a search keyword that you are thinking of using and see their interest performance over the last decade and how Google predicts the keyword to perform based on the historical data of that keyword. You can also compare different keywords at once to help speed up your decision making process.

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Google AdWords’s Keyword Planner tool is yet another useful utility that can help with your process of coming up with the focus keyword. Keep in mind that the Keyword Planner is catered for paid advertising customers, so some of the data supplied on this platform is not accurate for organic search keyword predictions. Nonetheless, it’s a good tool to use when you are brainstorming potential focus keywords to use.

Ongoing Research

Your search for the perfect focus keyword can easily begin with the 3 tools named above, but you can extend that journey to places that you have not yet imagined. Reading on the topics of SEO, the industries that you mostly write on, what your competitors are producing, and so forth will also benefit your quest of identifying the best focus keywords to use for the next round of content that you will create.

3. What To Do With The Focus Keyword

   Focus Keyword & SEO Title/ Meta 

Now that you have gone through coming up with a perfect focus keyword for the new article, you can use the focus keyword as your guideline to improve the article’s SEO criteria. First of all, you want to make sure that your post title and meta description have incorporated the chosen focus keyword. Otherwise, the SEO plugin would not be pleased. Using the SEO Title field and the Meta Description field, you can test out how different titles and meta description will work with the chosen focus keyword. If your focus keyword appear in both field without any problem, then it’s obvious that your choice of topic and focus keyword compliment each other well enough. Otherwise, you will want to either change the focus keyword or the content that you are covering.

The immediate feedback will help you craft an optimized post title and summary for the article. You will likely want to 1)copy and paste the SEO title to your post’s title field and 2) add the meta description to the first line of your article and put it in tags as well just so search engines know that the description is very important. It will help website crawlers determine how relevant your content is going to be compared to your focus keyword. You also want to make sure that the focus keyword appear several times in your article in different ways without appearing to be too spammy. There is a fine line between not having enough appearance of a focus keyword and having too many.  The Page Analysis tab will offer you insights into finding that line.

4. Page Analysis

Once the article has been created and published, you will be able to see a basic analysis of the post in the Page Analysis tab. Depending on how highly Yoast thinks of your post’s SEO performance in varying criteria, you will see green, yellow, and red light symbols next to each criteria. Your goal in general would be to follow the instructions given and turn the red lights into yellow and green. It’s possible that in some cases you can’t have green lights for all of the criteria. It’s also possible that having all green lights wouldn’t give you a million visitors automatically. What we need to focus on is to use this analysis as an overall guide to get closer to your SEO goals.

Are you excited to test this baby out? Don’t be afraid of trying new things and testing what results different combinations of focus keyword would yield for your quest of creating search engine optimized content. See you in next week’s article on SEO.




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