This question pops up time and again: why can I only add one focus keyword to your SEO plugin? People seem to think they have to set several keywords for each post. This post explores the reasoning behind that, very deliberate, decision.

This is the input field I’m talking about:

focus keyword

The focus keyword is not the meta keywords tag

This is important to note, if you think the “focus keyword” field is where you fill your meta keywords: no it’s not. I have a very specific opinion about meta keywords, which I expressed in my post: meta keywords, why I don’t use them. Read that if you haven’t yet.

Focus on your focus keyword

Think of the focus keyword as the topic of your page or post. A good post doesn’t have multiple topics, it explores one topic. If you enter a focus keyword, the Page Analysis functionality will use that as input for its analysis of your post. It can only do this for one focus keyword at a time.

While that’s a technical reason, working around that wouldn’t be an issue. What is an issue, and also the main reason the functionality works as it does, is that we’ve found it’s already hard for most people to focus a page on one keyword. Optimizing a post for multiple keywords without spamming is actually very hard. So, try and optimize your pages for one keyword and do that well.

Determining a good focus keyword

The focus keyword input field has a bit of functionality to help you figure out what would be a good choice for that keyword. If you start typing, it opens a drop down with suggestions, these are loaded from Google Suggest and mimic what you’d see if you’d enter the search terms in a Google search field, compare this:

Focus Keyword Suggest box

With this:

Focus keyword from Google Suggest

If people are searching, they’ll almost always get a drop down like that now, so the contents of it should be something you take into account when determining your focus keyword.

When you’re thinking about keywords, it’s probably also a good idea to read this post about cornerstone content and my post about the basis of keyword research.

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