One thing that virtually every SEO plugin of note shares in common is that they only allow one focus keyword per piece. More than once, I’ve heard folks question the reason for this. Wouldn’t it be better in the case of a piece with a wide range of topics to add multiple focus keywords?
No, not really.
The focus keyword is quite literally the “focus” of a page. It represents the singular topic on which you’re writing, and the idea from which the rest of your post will inevitably grow. Determining this keyword before writing will help narrow down the scope of a piece, making it more concise and thus more valuable to the audience. Consequently, failing to determine a focus keyword before putting together an article is likely to lead to significant problems from both a creation and optimization perspective.
It’s a simple idea, really: writing without a topic in mind is poor form.
Ultimately, a well-written piece has only one core idea, while poorly-written articles tend jump aimlessly from topic to topic. As a result, using multiple focus keywords will either have you ignoring all but one of them, or putting together an eclectic mess of a page – particularly if you’re determining your keywords after you’ve already done everything else. In other words, you’ll have written something people aren’t really going to want to read.
So, how does one figure out what their focus keyword should be?
Simple: by brainstorming the primary message behind a piece. What is it saying to the audience, and why? What will the readers take away from it once they’re done reading? If the entire concept can’t fit under a single umbrella – for example, why one needs a vacuum cleaner or how to leverage Twitter to expand one’s readership – then it may not necessarily be a workable idea.
It’s also important to understand one’s audience.
Are they laymen interested in advanced computing? Customers of a large brand wanting information about a recently-released product? Novice marketing professionals seeking to understand new and unfamiliar concepts?
With a piece’s purpose and target demographic in mind, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to determine one’s focus keyword. Simply research the keyword the readers are likeliest to use in order to find the page. If the results of this research are overused (or highly competitive), consider whether or not there exists another means of describing the piece’s primary target.
An alternative means of determining a page’s focus keyword is to start with keyword research before even determining a topic. Seek out what the user wants and then put together a page which provides just that. Both are viable methods of content creation.
Almost every SEO plugin worth using only allows a single focus keyword per piece. Although some may question why, for anyone with a working knowledge of search engine optimization, the reason is clear. The focus keyword is the core of a page, the singular topic from which everything else in a piece inevitably grows. Just as a garden with too many plants will grow choked and hideous, a piece with more than one topic will be a morass of half-formed ideas and dead-end concepts.