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How to Properly Use Focus Keyphrase in WordPress (Beginner’s Guide)

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Are you wondering how to properly use a focus keyphrase in WordPress to improve SEO?

The focus keyphrase is the primary topic of a specific piece of content. It is the phrase or keyword that you believe users will type in search engines to find that particular information.

In this article, we’ll show you how to properly use focus keyphrase in WordPress to improve your content and boost SEO rankings.

Using focus keyphrase to improve WordPress SEO

What is Focus Keyphrase in WordPress?

Focus Keyphrase is the keyword you want to rank for in search engines.

It is an important part of WordPress SEO best practices, and every website owner should apply it to their content creation process.

For instance, if you were writing an article about the best coffee shops in New York City, then your focus keyphrase could be ‘best coffee shops in New York City’.

You can also use variations of the keyphrase. For example, ‘coffee shops in NYC’ could be a good alternative to rank for.

Once you have a focus keyphrase in mind, you can focus on that particular topic and make it more comprehensive in order to improve your blog post for SEO.

All of the top WordPress SEO plugins can help you set a focus keyphrase when writing a post or page.

For instance, All in One SEO allows you to easily set a Focus Keyphrase for each post, page, product, and custom post types. The plugin then shows a TruSEO score with suggestions to improve your content.

All in One SEO focus Keyphrase

Similarly, Yoast SEO also comes with a Focus Keyphrase feature that helps you analyze your content.

Focus Keyphrase option in Yoast SEO

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How to Properly Use Focus Keyphrase in WordPress

For this tutorial, we’ll be using All in One SEO for WordPress which is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market. It’s used by over 3 million websites, and this is the plugin we use here on WPBeginner.

With that said, the basic concept is the same, and the tutorial would work for any other SEO plugin that supports the focus keyphrase feature.

One of the advantages of using All in One SEO for WordPress is that it supports multiple focus keyphrases.

Plus, you also get a free Semrush integration that helps you unlock additional keyword ideas to make your content more comprehensive.

First, you need to install and activate the All in One SEO for WordPress plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Note: There’s also a free version of AIOSEO plugin available that you can use as well, but for the sake of our screenshots, we’re using the Pro version.

Upon activation, the plugin will launch the setup wizard that will help you set up the plugin.

AIOSEO setup wizard

If you need help, see our tutorial on how to properly install and setup All in One SEO for WordPress.

Setting Focus Keyphrase in WordPress

After the setup, you can add a new blog post or page, or edit an existing one.

On the post edit screen, scroll down to the AIOSEO Settings section. From here, you’ll find the option to set a focus keyphrase for that particular post or page.

All in One SEO focus Keyphrase

Simply enter your focus keyphrase and click on the Add Focus Keyphrase button.

As soon as you set a focus keyphrase, All in One SEO will analyze your content for that particular keyphrase and will show you a score.

Focus keyphrase score

Improving Your Content for Focus Keyphrase

All in One SEO shows a score after you set your focus keyword with practical tips to improve your content for that particular keyphrase.

For instance, in the above screenshot the plugin is telling us to include the focus keyphrase in the SEO title.

Following all the recommendations will give your focus keyphrase the perfect score.

Perfect focus keyphrase score

Let’s break down these recommendations so that you have them in mind when writing your content.

1. Focus Keyphrase in SEO Title

The plugin recommends adding your primary focus keyphrase in the SEO title.

By default, All in One SEO uses your post title in the SEO title. That means that if you used focus keyword in the post title, then the SEO title will automatically include that.

You can also choose to have a custom SEO title and manually edit it in the AIOSEO settings for that particular post.

Focus keyword in post title

2. Focus Keyphrase in Meta Description

Meta description is the short SEO description for that particular content. By default, the plugin will pick it up from the post excerpt.

However, we recommend manually writing a meta description of no more than 160 characters for best results. This way you can creatively use your focus keyphrase in the meta description.

Adding focus keyphrase in meta description

For more information, take a look at our guide on SEO title, meta description and keywords.

3. Focus Keyphrase Length

All in One SEO recommends using a focus keyphrase no more than four words. However, you can use a longer focus keyphrase if you feel that you would be able to use it properly in your content.

4. Focus Keyphrase in URL

WordPress supports SEO friendly URL structures, which allows you to use meaningful URLs for your posts and pages.

This URL is usually automatically generated from your post title. If you have used your focus keyphrase in your post title, then it will also be included in the URL.

However, you can also manually edit the URL under the Permalink section in Post settings column.

Focus keyphrase in URL

5. Focus Keyphrase in Introduction

Adding your focus keyword in the introduction section of your article is highly recommended for SEO purposes.

The intro section is the first sentence or paragraph of your article. If possible, try to use the focus keyword as early as possible.

Using focus keyphrase in the intro

6. Focus Keyphrase in Subheadings

Subheadings are essential in making your content more readable. That’s why search engines consider them important.

Using your focus keyphrase in a subheading adds more weight to it.

Focus keyphrase in a subheading

7. Focus Keyphrase in Image Alt Attributes

Image SEO can help your content rank higher in search engines, since images play an important role in improving user experience as well as SEO.

The alt attribute is a meta tag that describes an image for visually impaired users, machine readers, and search engines.

Using your focus keyphrase in Alt attribute for an image

Make sure that you use your focus keyword at least once in the alt attribute for all images inside your article.

Using all the above mentioned tips for your primary focus keyword will give you a perfect focus keyphrase score.

Using Multiple Focus Keyphrases in WordPress

Search engines usually will look for more complete sources to show in search results, to make sure searchers get the information they’re searching for. That’s why longer blog posts often tend to rank better.

You can make your content more complete by trying to cover all the necessary information and keyphrase variations that a user may be looking for.

For instance, users looking for best coffee shops in NYC may also be looking for famous coffee shops in Brooklyn.

All in One SEO for WordPress allows you to optimize your content for multiple focus keyphrases.

After you have optimized your content for the primary keyphrase, you can add more keywords under ‘Additional Keyphrases’.

Using multiple keyphrases

All in One SEO for WordPress will show a score for each additional keyphrase that you add.

It will also show more recommendations for each keyphrase.

Additional keyphrase score

Now, it is important to understand that sometimes you may not be able to include a secondary keyphrase in meta description, intro, or post title.

Don’t sacrifice user experience for SEO and only apply these suggestions if you can do that without affecting readability and user experience.

Find More Focus Keyphrase Ideas

Now when it comes to keyword ideas, most beginners often rely on their own instincts to guess what users may be looking for.

However, it is not necessary to use guess work when you can get actual data.

All in One SEO for WordPress comes with built-in integration with Semrush to provide you with additional keyword ideas right inside the post editor. Semrush is the most comprehensive SEO tool on the market that helps you find smart insights with actual data.

Simply click on the Get Additional Keyphrases button under AIOSEO settings when writing a post.

Get additional keyword ideas

This will launch a popup wizard where you can either login to your Semrush account or sign up for a new free Semrush account.

Note: If you want to try the pro version, you can use our exclusive Semrush coupon code to get a free 30-day trial.

Connect your Semrush account

After that, you’ll be asked to give AIOSEO permission to connect to your Semrush account.

Click on the ‘Approve’ button to continue.

Approve access to Semrush

That’s it!

Once your site is connected to your Semrush account, the plugin will close the popup and fetch the additional keyword ideas.

Find additional keywords with AIOSEO and Semrush

You’ll see a list of keyphrases with volume and trend graph. Ideally, you would want to include keyphrases with more search volume and a growing trend.

Simply click on the ‘Add Keyphrase’ button to select a keyphrase and All in One SEO will show a keyphrase score right away.

Keyphrase score for secondary keyphrase

Tip: It is important that you need to write for humans first. Avoid changing your content unnecessarily just to stuff additional keyphrases.

Alternative: If you’re looking for an alternative to Semrush, you can use the free WPBeginner Keyword Generator. It will instantly generate 300+ keyword ideas from Google that you can use in your content.

We hope this article helped you learn how to properly use focus keyphrase in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to improve your organic click through rate to get more free traffic from search engines, and our comparison of the best SEO rank tracking tools that you can use to see how your website is performing.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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6 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Moinuddin Waheed says

    giving attention to focus key phrases is as important to include in the content as focus keywords.
    I have seen and have realised my self as well that whenever we make a search, we give key phrases to the Google search and that is what Google algorithms crawls for in its pages.
    Having said this, is focus key phrases same as that of long tail keywords concept?
    or they are different concepts?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      A keyphrase is normally the general concept and long tail keywords would be the very specific keyword but they can be used the same way if you knew the long tail keyword you wanted to target.


      • Moinuddin Waheed says

        Thanks wpbeginner for the reply and clarification of both the terms.
        I have confused both the terms for a long and didn’t know much about its difference or the similarities.
        in a way both serve the same purpose of targetting s specific keyword phrase which we specifically call as long tail keyword as we want to target pointedly that phrase.

  3. Denise says

    I cannot get past the first screen in the wizard, it just sits there and the dot at the bottom flashes. Been over 30 min since I hit save.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      It sounds like your site many be running into an error, if you reach out to the plugin’s support they should be able to help diagnose and assist.


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