SEO

Focus Keywords – What To Do With Them

focus keywordIf you are familiar with the WP SEO plugin Yoast you’ll have a good idea of what a focus keyword is. These are the keywords or phrases that sum up your blog post, the ones that your target audience use when searching for information that your product or services can help them with. Tools like Yoast help you SEO your blog post, and with the right choice of focus keyword your post and your website can crawl up SERPS.

You don’t have to have Yoast installed to optimise your blog post using a focus keyword, although I would certainly recommend it. Follow the guidelines below and you too can get a green light for SEO on all your posts:

Choosing The Right Focus Keyword

Keyword research should inform your blog strategy so that your blog posts naturally use the keywords most relevant to your business. But you must also choose a focus keyword that reflects the content of the individual post; don’t use your primary business keyword if the content isn’t specifically about it. For example, my business is blogging and therefore much of my content reflects this. However this post is about “focus keywords” which form part of the services I offer clients. It would be misleading for me to optimise this post for “business blog”, cramming this keyword in unnecessarily. I would also miss out on a potentially convertible audience searching for information about using keywords.

Identifying exactly what your target audience is searching for is extremely important, as is identifying the words and phrases they use. Take the example of a dog grooming company, let’s say they are called Pampered Pooches and their strapline is “Because your dog deserves pampering too”. Their target audience are obviously dog owners with the kinds of breeds that require a haircut now and then, and owners who want to spoil their pets. The owners of the company really identify with the concept of pampering your dog and therefore want to use “dog pampering” in their blog content as much as possible. But a quick search on Google Adwords reveals that “dog pampering” has very low average monthly searches, just 40 p/m, compared to “dog grooming” that scores 12,100.

It is therefore pretty obvious that any blog posts Pampered Pooches write about dog pampering should incorporate the focus keyword “dog grooming” and be optimised with this in mind. This doesn’t mean they have to jettison “dog pampering” but achieve a balance between using the language that epitomises their brand, and the keywords customers search with.

How To Optimise Your Blog Post Using A Focus Keyword

For those of you who do not have access to Yoast, perhaps using a different blogging platform to WP, here’s the basics of how to optimise your blog post using a focus keyword.

Having selected your focus keyword ensure that it appears in the following parts of your post:

  • Post Title: if you can position it at the beginning of the title, so much the better. NB. sometimes you may not want to compromise on an attention grabbing title by including a boring old keyword in it, so if you can include it in the following areas, this will go someway to compensating for this:
  • Post URL: most blogs automatically use your post title to create the URL so if your focus keyword is present it should also appear in the URL. If not, edit it.
  • Headings: H2 and H3 headings not only help the readability of your post but are also a useful SEO tool.
  • Content: your post should use your focus keyword several times in the body of the text. It should be used naturally, overuse will make the post hard to read, and could set off a spam alert at Google HQ! Make sure you include the focus keyword in the first paragraph (search engines scan this first), and then throughout the text.
  • Alternative Text: if you include images in your blog post (and you should!), add the focus keyword to the alternative text field.

These simple steps will go someway to optimising your blog content for SERPS. If you have any questions about using keywords or need help with your blog strategy, leave a comment below.

photo credit: ihtatho via photopin cc

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