Navigating search engines can be an exhausting process. Google, Bing, and other platforms are continuously updating their algorithms, forcing SEO experts to stay on their toes.
Out of all the things you need to do during search engine optimization, keyword research is one of the top priorities. Not only should you find phrases that are relevant to your business, but they also need to have enough organic traffic to justify the effort. This is why, before writing any piece of content, you need to find the ideal SEO focus keyword.
In this article, we’ll talk more about the concept and how it affects your marketing efforts.
What is focus keyword?
As the name indicates, the focus keyword (otherwise referred to as the main keyword) is the phrase your web page revolves around. When assessing a piece, Google’s algorithms have to connect the dots so they can present this article for relevant search queries. For example, if your article focuses on the phase “SaaS consultancy,” you can use a title such as “Everything you need to know about SaaS consultancy.”
Keep in mind that focus keywords and topics aren’t the same thing. While focus keywords can sometimes be used as titles, especially for question-type keywords, we commonly utilize these phrases as the basis to create topics. For example, “best movers” can be used for an article titled “How to find best movers in California?”
How do focus keywords relate to SEO?
Naturally, the main reason why we look for relevant keyword suggestions is so we can maximize website traffic. Each keyword serves as the basis for our content creation process, and each article has the potential to drive visitors. So, the more blog posts we create revolving around focus keywords, the more relevant traffic we can potentially accrue.
It’s also worth mentioning that your focus keyword should be spread throughout the content for your title, meta description, headings, and text’s body. You also need to use it for tools like SurferSEO and Market Muse. Here are a few reasons why focus keywords matter for SEO:
Drive right users
Your focus keyphrase needs to be related to your business. The last thing you need is to drive visitors to your site, which will never help promote the business or purchase from you. In other words, by finding the right focus keyword, you can scale your marketing efforts and set a basis for long-term development.
Nowadays, Google’s search engine pays lots of attention to user engagement. Metrics like bounce rate and recurring visits can push forward just about any piece of content on your site. If you’re missing the mark, whether due to inappropriate keywords, topics, or content, people won’t interact with the pages the way you want them to.
Build topical relevancy
Google wants to promote sites that focus on one specific area. The main logic behind this is that specialized blogs have a much better understanding of the underlying topics. Because of that, marketers usually choose one seed keyword and build an entire site by writing about related topics.
So, when you add multiple focus keywords, they should all be somewhat interrelated. Skipping from pet subjects to medical topics is a big no-no and is the best way to demote your entire site. Topical relevancy works on the site level, boosting future posts that revolve around similar subjects.
Topical relevancy has become even more prominent with EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). Generally speaking, the more your writers cover the same topics and the more they’re featured on related sites, the better your chances of ranking on top of Google.
Simplify link building
Similar to visitors, other bloggers are much more interested in industry-related topics. When they land on your site, they want to be certain that the piece of content is relevant to their query and provides them with new knowledge.
Ultimately, having a good focus and creating quality content is vital for link-building efforts. You need to satisfy influencers’ search intents so they can potentially share articles on their social media and blogs. Among others, bloggers are more likely to promote content from specialized sites instead of those that cover all sorts of topics.
How to maximize focus keywords?
Selecting the right focus keyword is done through several phases:
1. Get the right tools
Relying on keyword research tools to execute the process. If you’re a new business and haven’t accrued any user data, you should perform competition analysis with software like SEMRush or Ahrefs. Google Trends, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics can also come in handy for certain tasks.
Of course, we also suggest you install several plugins for your CMS. For example, you can add Yoast SEO plugin or Rank Math SEO plugin to your WordPress dashboard. Besides researching multiple keywords, almost every keyword research tool provides other functions that can come in handy during optimization.
This type of software is generally notorious for its high price. While most companies can use Ahrefs for a single research, marketing agencies generally need the programs on a daily basis. Because of that, we suggest you ask around for special offers and discounts that would cut the cost. Alternatively, you can share an account with another marketer or pay someone to perform research for you.
2. Determine seed keyword
Determining seed keywords is the basis of every keyword research process. Most notably, you need to pinpoint topics relevant to your business, and that would help you build topical authority.
Ideally, most of your focus keywords should stem from the same root keyword. For example, if you’re in the car rental industry, your seed keyword will be “car” or “car rental.” In most cases, the seed keyword will reflect your main product or service category.
Before committing to a specific root keyword for your future keyword research process, make sure that the derived phrases are beneficial to your business. Sometimes, a seed keyword might not be good for our business, even if it looks like a good fit.
3. Check basic data
Once you’re inside of a tool’s dash, you should first create a list of suggested phrases based on your seed keyword. Modern software has extensive data for each one of them, including:
- Search volume
- Keyword difficulty
- Cost-per click
- Parent topic
The great thing about modern keyword research tools is that they have a scoring metric. This KPI analyzes different parameters to determine whether a phrase is worth pursuing. That way, you find lucrative phrases without too much hassle.
Depending on your SEO process, it isn’t a bad idea to extract all the results in an Excel sheet. This would allow you to track content progress as you cover each focus keyword with a blog post.
4. Find low-hanging fruit
It’s worth noting that keyword difficulty and search volume go hand in hand. As the difficulty increases, volume tends to fall down and vice versa. However, there are a few cases where a focus keyword carries high potential traffic while having low difficulty. We refer to these phrases as low-hanging fruit.
Although you should eventually cover all the topics from your keyword list, we suggest you start with these ones. In most cases, low-hanging fruits are the easiest ones to optimize and provide the biggest benefits. Among others, this would mean they provide better returns for companies that invest heavily in link-building.
5. Check the first page results
Despite its high volume and low difficulty, there’s a good chance that a focus keyphrase won’t be good enough for your company. This is especially true for branded terms or other specialized phrases. There are also situations where queries are littered with videos, making it hard to penetrate the query with a regular article.
Because of that, it’s always recommended that you check the first-page results before pursuing a focus keyword. During this step, you can see all the competitors ranking in the top 10 and determine whether you can beat them. Ideally, you should click on each result to see what kind of content there’s on a page (video, forum page, social media thread, Quora answer, landing page, articles, etc.)
6. Determine search intent
Even if a focus keyword has good enough volume and difficulty, we still need to analyze some of its other aspects. Based on search intent, each phase can be placed in the following groups:
Each of these phrases carries specific benefits to your benefits. However, they’re not equally lucrative.
These types of keywords mainly serve to increase users’ knowledge. Perhaps the best focus keyword examples are “How to repair garage doors?” or “What is the biggest planet in the Solar System?” While these focus keywords rarely lead to sales, they usually have much higher traffic and are easier to rank.
Navigational keywords are a different name for branded keywords. These are all phrases that contain your brand name within them and are generally easy to rank. Nevertheless, when creating content for these pages, you still need your A game as they’re highly relevant to your business.
As you can tell by the name, commercial keywords have a commercial intent. They include product reviews, versus pages, and similar articles that help users learn more about specific products and services. Although commercial keywords might boost your sales, they have numerous similarities to informational keywords.
If you wish to boost your sales, your best bet is to pursue transactional keywords. These are phrases like “cheap suits” or “buy bicycles.” People use them during the final steps of the buying process when they’ve already determined to acquire a specific product or service.
While understanding different types of focus keywords won’t affect your decision to pursue them, it can help during content creation. Specifically, by understanding search intent, you can customize articles to increase their performance within search engines.
7. Create clusters
Even if a query seems hard to beat, there’s a chance to penetrate the search results by creating topic clusters. These are groups of articles that are, in one way or another, related to each other. By creating content for each focus keyword from this group and connecting them with internal links, you’re boosting the entire cluster.
Unfortunately, creating clusters is usually much harder than you might presume. If you’re writing about lots of similar topics, there’s a chance there will be a lot of crossing between topics. Nevertheless, with good planning and execution, you can pull it off.
It’s also worth noting that each piece within the cluster needs to be of a high quality. If there’s too much discrepancy between the articles, the cluster might not achieve the necessary results. Furthermore, it’s also recommended that all pieces get numerous quality links to further push their relevancy.
8. Create content
Once you have acquired enough data about a focus keyword, you can proceed by creating content. Even though keyword research gives you a good basis, the content quality and links are the reasons why certain pages rank. Here are a few rules you should abide by during the process:
- Answer the users’ questions and subquestions
- Provide information that can’t be found anywhere else
- Introduce a structure that makes the article easy to read
- Connect this page to other relevant pages
When creating articles, you need to focus on two major things. First, you need to implement the best practices that will ensure that a page ranks. Then, you need to add links to other sales pages that would actually lead to conversions.
Driving visitors to your site just so you can boost traffic is a fool’s errand. Instead, you need to maximize each user to boost future marketing and SEO efforts and increase sales numbers.
Each focus keyword should have a specific purpose. Not only should they serve as the basis for creating content and driving visitors, but they also need to be relevant to your business goals. Only by mixing the two together can you say that your SEO process was efficient.
If you ever have any questions about the process or you need free tips, contact MiroMind today!