Focus Keyword Length and How it Can Help Your Rankings

You’ve heard of Long-tail Keywords, and you’re familiar with Short-Tail Keywords. But which should you focus on when you’re writing your website copy. It can be a delicate balancing act, but these are the reasons we believe you should focus on writing Short-Tail Keywords.

Keyword Length vs. Focus Keyword Length

Before writing your content, you should determine which Keyword you will focus on that page. While including a lot of long-tail keywords in your content can be extremely beneficial, your FOCUS keyword should remain short. Your focus keyword will likely be comprised of multiple words to rank for a specific search term. Multiple words make it more of a keyphrase than a keyword, but they act as the same.

Long-tail keyphrases are a great SEO strategy. The longer the Keyword, the more specific the audience will be. Specific audiences translate to less competition in Google rankings and a higher probability of getting on top. It’s also likely that the more accurate your audience is, the more likely they will be to convert into actual customers or subscribers.

So why does this matter if Long-tail keywords are a good thing?

What Makes a Focus Keyword Too Long

The Keyword you are focusing on might become too long when it begins to affect the quality of your content. Yes, it’s essential to include relevant search terms to what you are ranking for; however, Google also rates you on readability and sentence structure. You could also be penalized for keyword stuffing, or inserting too many of the same keywords into a paragraph to cheat the system.

Because Google will automatically pull the relevant terms from copy, it’s not essential to write your keyphrase precisely the same way each time it appears in your content.

Reducing your focus keywords, especially when using helpful plugins like Yoast or All in One can significantly improve your rankings. Using related keywords to your focus keyword will also help improve your content rankings and your search intent rankings. Search intent is what the user meant to look for vs. what they were searching.

Planning Out Your Keywords and Why it Matters

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While search engines are continually updating their search term algorithms, there’s one tried-and-true method for starting each blog post on your site: Keywords. Beginning with the keywords you’d like to rank for and then writing articles to match those topics is a sure-fire way to be found for those search terms.

Google has gotten smart… VERY smart. It’s no longer acceptable to insert as many keywords as you can into your content. That’s called Keyword Stuffing, and Google actively penalizes sites that are trying to cheat the system. Relevant content that is easy to read and related to the given keywords is an important ranking factor. Because Google’s Algorithm gets smarter every day, so must your content. You should research which keywords are most popular amongst your competitors, their search volume, and tailor your content around those keywords, so it is relevant.

What is User Intent, and why is it the newest factor in search ranking?

The content on your website is now graded on how relevant it is to the intent of the user searching for a particular keyword. Google is slowly and surely beginning to predict what users are looking for to deliver the content they need more accurately. As such, it’s more important than ever that you do not randomly insert non-topical keywords into your website. Your site needs to explain the context of the keyword.

Let’s take, for instance, the keyword “looking for dinner.” The user could be searching for a restaurant to try, or they could be searching for something to cook for dinner. If your content is only catering to people who are looking for restaurants, you need to verify the intent of the keyword before writing. The easiest way to determine a keywords attempt is to search for that keyword and see what content appears for that term.

The first step in writing your content should be to research and determine the most critical topics for your business. Identifying these topics will help in narrowing down a list of more specific keywords you would like to target in your content. These are the topics you will want to blog about most commonly.

Next, consider what questions customers may be searching for an answer to. This will lead you to the keywords and phrases that you will want to rank for. Go to and search for related keywords to the topics you have identified as being relevant to your business. By simply searching for those topics, other search terms will appear in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Pay close attention to the related searches at the bottom of the page. Also, consider the predictive search typing that comes after your search terms. These will provide you with good long-tail keywords to include throughout your website.

The difference between Long-Tail Keywords and Head Terms and why they matter.

Long-tail Keywords are phrases containing a string of three or more words. Whereas Head terms will typically be one to three words only. Including both of these in your content will ensure proper keyword balance on your website. Because Head Terms are more generalized, their competitiveness on search engines is very high. That means breaking into the top few spots for those terms will be very difficult.

Finally, check on how your competitors rank for the keywords you are targeting. Maybe your competitors aren’t ranking at all for specific keywords, which will give you a competitive advantage on Google. Perhaps they have a term that is very important to you, and you would like to bolster your ranking on.

Now that you have your solid list of topics and keywords to write content for, you should be able to quickly fill in the blanks throughout your website and gain the edge over your competitors. Call us today if you need help with planning keywords and writing content for your website, 337-223-3305.