What is a focus keyphrase? – Yoast SEO for WordPress training

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This video is all about the focus keyphrase. I’ll explain what it is and why it’s important. In addition, I will tell you more about the factors you should take into account when choosing a focus keyphrase. And finally I’ll explain the difference between head keyphrases and long tail keyphrases. So, what is a focus keyphrase? The focus keyphrase is the phrase you’d like your post to rank for. If people search for this phrase in Google, you want your post or page to pop up. In the past, we used to call this the focus keyword. But, since the internet grew bigger, and more and more content is out there, it’s getting harder to rank on just one word. This doesn’t mean a focus keyphrase can’t consist of just one word, it means it usually consists of multiple words. Let’s consider an example. Imagine you have a dog training school in Bakersfield, California. You might think: I’d like to rank for the focus keyword [dogs]. But ranking for this focus keyword will be very hard, or even impossible, as it’s a highly competitive term. Lots of websites will be trying to rank for this term.

In this case, it’s more realistic to try to rank for, for instance, [dog-friendly puppy training in Bakersfield]. As you can see, this is a focus keyphrase, consisting of multiple words. It will give you a much higher chance of ranking, because there will be fewer websites trying to rank for this phrase. Also, people searching for this phrase, are more likely to be searching for the service you offer. So, why is the focus keyphrase important? When you’re optimizing for a specific term, you want people to actually search for that keyphrase. Choosing the right focus keyphrase is important because otherwise, you will do all that hard work for nothing. However, it can be really hard to choose the right focus keyphrase. While choosing a focus keyphrase, you should consider two things: your audience and your competition. So, first of all, you should consider your audience: what are they looking for, what are they searching for? Which words are they using? You should get inside the heads of your audience and try to figure this out. You can use tools like Google Trends to analyze which words people are using.

With Google Trends, you can compare keyphrases to see which one people search for most often. For example, if we compare [puppy training] with [dog training], it’s clear that people search for [dog training] more often. So, for the dog training school in Bakersfield, it could be a good idea to optimize for [dog training] instead of [puppy training]. But you should also consider the competition. If you’re focusing on keyphrases that are rather competitive, then you will have a hard time ranking. You can imagine that it could be difficult to rank for a keyphrase like [dog] or even [dog training] because you are definitely not the only one trying to rank for that term.

If you want to analyze your competition, the best thing you can do is google your keyphrase. Check the first two pages of the search results and see whether the post you want to write would stand out between those results. How big are the companies that show up here? Does your site have enough authority to stand out between them? Is your post able to rank between those search results? Finally, it’s very important to use a focus keyphrase only once. If you have optimized a post for a specific focus keyphrase, you want that post to be found when people are searching for that phrase. If you have optimized two posts for the exact same focus keyphrase, Google won’t know which one to show in the search results, and they will both rank lower.

If you optimize two posts for the same keyphrase, you’re basically competing with yourself – rather than other websites. That’s why you should use a focus keyphrase only once. Of course, you can have multiple articles about similar topics, but try to optimize them for different aspects of one term. So, if you’re writing about puppy training, you can have one article optimized for [the benefits of puppy training], one for [what to expect from a puppy training class], and another one for [when do you take your puppy to training classes].

Now, let’s go into the different kinds of keyphrases. Some keyphrases are rather generic, others are more specific. We distinguish three kinds of keyphrases: head keyphrases, mid tail keyphrases, and long tail keyphrases. Head keyphrases are the most competitive keyphrases. They are very generic, and a lot of people search for them. They’re also the hardest to rank for. A head keyphrase could be [puppy training]. Mid tail keyphrases are more specific, derived from the head keyphrase they tie into. For this particular head keyphrase, mid tail keyphrases could be something like [dog-friendly puppy training] or [the benefits of puppy training]. Long tail keyphrases are very specific and they have very little search traffic. An example of a long tail keyphrase could be [what to expect from a dog-friendly puppy training in Bakersfield].

But although long tail keyphrases get less search traffic, they usually have a higher conversion value, as they focus more on a specific product or topic. Whether you should go after long tail keyphrases or after head terms largely depends on your competition. If the competition in your niche is high, you’ll have a hard time ranking on competitive head terms and you should probably focus on longer tail keyphrases. If you have little competition, you might be able to rank for head terms. So, what are the key takeaways for this lesson? We’ve seen that the focus keyphrase is the word that you are optimizing your text for. Choosing your focus keyphrase depends on the search volume, the words your audience is using, and your competition.

It’s also important to think about whether you want to focus on head, mid tail or long tail keyphrases. In the next video, we’ll explain how the Yoast SEO plugin can help you with optimizing your text for the focus keyphrase you’ve chosen..