A Guide to Picking the Best SEO Focus Keyword

Did you know that SEO is really just the most modern way to do PR?

As with public relations, SEO has become absolutely necessary for all businesses. This how you make sure your business gets seen online by potential customers.

This new form of PR is all about content. The content that will boost your SEO effectively has to meet a few different requirements.

  • It needs to be valuable to readers, which often means being on the longer side.
  • It should be well-written and informative.
  • It needs to have keywords that will help readers find the article when it’s relevant to them.

In order to use keywords effectively, you need to know how to pick the right SEO focus keyword. With the wrong keywords, you can have tons of new content but never increase your search engine ranking.

But with the perfect SEO focus keyword, you’ll easily be able to nail your SEO strategy and get the traffic you’re hoping for.

Wondering what these keywords are and how to pick the right one? This essential guide will touch on everything you need to know to pick the keywords you need.

What is an SEO Focus Keyword?

The SEO focus keyword is just the specific keyword that you want the page to be ranked for.

Using this keyword means that when people conduct Google searches that use that word, your site is what they’ll find.

These are called “focus” keywords because they focus the content on that particular word or phrase, making it easier for people to find that page when they search.

Every page will have just one SEO focus keyword. So the key is finding the perfect one for that particular content.

How do you pick the best one? Let’s go over the top tips that will help you get the right keyword every time.

1. Never Guess

Guesswork is definitely not the right way to get the best keyword for a page of content.

Although it may seem like the keywords are obvious, there’s a lot that goes into picking the right word. It’s very unlikely that you will land on the right one when you guess.

Picking the perfect SEO focus keyword is about knowing the terms people are searching for and the terms your site can rank for. Some keywords are too competitive. Even if they would be a good fit, they won’t help if your site would never be ranked for those words.

2. Decide Before You Write

Keywords need to be decided on before the content is created. Every post should be strategically formatted around the perfect keyword.

It’s difficult or even impossible to go back to a post that’s been written and insert the keyword. The topic may be very different, depending on what keyword is chosen.

However, if you know what keywords you’re working with before you start writing, it’s easy to map out the perfect content based on that knowledge.

Where does that perfect keyword list come from? The next few tips will go over how to create it using strategic research.

3. Use Google’s Autocomplete Feature

This an excellent first step to knowing what words or phrases to optimize for.

Google Autocomplete works especially well for long-tail keywords. Those are longer, more specific phrases that will be the ideal keywords for your post.

You’ll need to use Google Chrome as your browser to do this research. Under search settings, make sure you select “Never show instant results.” That way, you’ll get more suggestions from the autocomplete feature.

Then, head to Google and write a word related to your product or service. Google will offer suggestions for how to complete your search. These are based on what other users have searched for, making this a great tool for deciding what to optimize for.

To reduce keyword competition, choose only phrases with three or more words to optimize for. Long-tail keywords have fewer sites optimizing for them, so it’s easier for yours to get ranked. However, leave out words like “good” or “best” that don’t actually help users in a search.

Don’t forget to adjust your search for the best results. Try plural versions of your search term, and other ways of beginning the phrase. See how switching up the word order changes things.

4. Optimize for Location

The location of your business will affect the SEO focus keyword you choose.

If you’re in a large, competitive city, you need a more specific keyword so that people will find your business and not your competitors. However, in a small town, local keyword optimization can be less specific because there’s less competition.

Long-tail keywords are ideal for large cities. Keywords for a small town business tend to be a bit shorter.

Of course, if your business is national, you need to get even more specific. Don’t forget to optimize locally for each location. Have a separate page for each store and optimize keywords according to that location.

5. Use Secondary Keywords

There’s really only one SEO focus keyword that you should optimize for on each page. However, synonyms for that words can also be used as secondary keywords.

Make sure your secondary keyword choice is an exact synonym. Then, you can add that secondary keyword to your post’s meta description, title, and SEO title.

You don’t want to look like you’re spamming the page with keywords, so only use a secondary keyword if it sounds natural. You can add it to the title as a partial match, instead of having two exact keyword matches there, which can sound awkward.

6. Offer Answers

Many people will phrase their searches as questions. They might do searches that start with “How to…” or “How do I…”

Using Google Autocomplete, you can find out what those questions are and use those phrases as your SEO focus keywords. Frame your content as answers to these frequently asked questions to attract new traffic.

This a great overall SEO tactic. You’ll be creating valuable content that doesn’t sound sales-y. You’ll be optimizing for a common search in your industry.

Finding the right keywords also becomes easy when you research common questions.

7. Work From a Keyword List

If you start your content strategy with just one keyword idea, you’ll quickly lose momentum.

It’s much easier to plan your content strategy using a list of keywords that you’ve thoroughly researched. You’ll be able to avoid posting about the same thing multiple times in a row while ensuring you optimize for the right keywords.

You’ll always need to target multiple keywords (using only one per post) in an ongoing strategy. Decide how to break down the tasks of research and writing so you can maintain your strategy in the long term.

8. Google Your List

One of the best ways to know that your keyword list is going to work is to Google it yourself — before you start writing.

After you’ve done some research, put your SEO focus keyword possibilities into Google and see what you find. Does your site fit well with the other sites that come up? Or do the search results show posts on a different subject?

You can even use the results as ideas for your own posts. Obviously, you shouldn’t repeat or copy another company’s post. However, you might find ideas for posts of your own that improve on what you find in the search.

9. Consider Search Volume

It helps to know if your chosen keyword is one that really gets searched for.

It’s hard to know the exact volume of a search term. However, you can use Google Trends to give you an idea.

You can take a couple of similar search terms and use Google Trends to see the volume of each term over a period of time.

This will help give you an idea of what terms are being searched for and how often. You can adjust the keyword ideas on your list according to the most popular searches out there.

You can even use this strategy on your own posts. Often, it’s a good idea to take old posts, delete them, and rewrite them as new posts using an updated keyword.

Google Trends allows you to look at the search volume of keywords in your old posts and compare it to the volume of the SEO focus keyword you plan to use in the new version. This ensures that the focus keywords you choose are the best ones.

Get Your SEO Keyword Strategy Right

Finding the right SEO focus keyword for each post is just one piece of your SEO strategy.

You also need to consider link building, social media, and more. This may seem like a lot, but the good news is that there are tools out there to help you.

Figuring SEO out on your own can be challenging, especially when you factor in keyword research. However, with the right service to help you, your SEO strategy becomes easy to execute.

Don’t forget these SEO focus keyword tips work best when combined with an overall strategy