Your focus keyphrase is the keyword(s) you want your post or page to rank for. If you’re particularly eager to rank for a specific keyword, you’ll probably be tempted to optimize many articles on your site for that keyphrase. But, that’s not what a focus keyphrase is for! You should only ever use a focus keyphrase once. But why? And what do you do if you desperately want to rank for that one particular keyphrase? Don’t despair: I’ll tell you all about it in this post.
Having an orange or red bullet for the previously used keyphrase check in Yoast SEO? Here’s what this check does and how to turn that bullet green.
Don’t compete with your own articles
The main reason why you shouldn’t use your focus keyphrase more than once is that you don’t want to compete with yourself for a position in Google. This phenomenon is called keyword cannibalization. If you optimize two different articles for the same focus keyphrase, you’re telling Google that both are suitable for people searching for that keyword, and you want both of them to appear in the search results. While that’s not necessarily impossible to do, you’ll find it very hard.
You need to have a site with quite a lot of authority to rank two articles in the top ten search results for the same query. If one of your articles already ranks with that term in the search results, you may have enough authority to try and rank with a second one. If you’re not already ranking for a focus keyword, never use it twice! Update and improve your original article and write another post that covers a slight variation of the keyword.
Do you think you might be cannibalizing your own content? Here’s how to fix keyword cannibalization.
Ranking for your desired keyphrase
What do you do if you want to rank for that particular keyphrase you’ve set your heart on? Imagine you’re starting an online store for horse feed. You probably want to rank for [horse feed], but as you’re just starting, that’ll be pretty hard. Optimizing all of your posts for [horse feed] is not the right strategy. So what should you do? Your keyword research will give you some ideas about which other terms to target.
Content for your blog
If you have a blog – which we’d advise! – you could write an awesome, long cornerstone article about all different aspects of feeding your horse well and optimize it for the term [feeding your horse] using our Yoast SEO plugin. Then mark this article as cornerstone content in our plugin.