Including your focus keyphrase in your introduction
The Yoast SEO plugin checks whether you’ve included your focus keyphrase in the first paragraph of your text. That might feel rather logical but it’s easily forgotten! Why is this an aspect of our SEO check? And how do you solve this and turn your orange or red bullet green? Let’s look at the importance of your introduction for SEO.
The importance of using your focus keyphrase in your introduction
The first paragraph of a text is your introduction. That is a key location for both users and search engines. As said before, grabbing your reader’s attention right at the beginning is essential if you want them to stay on your page. Google also considers your first paragraph an important one. Including your focus keyphrase in your introduction is like giving search engines specific clues about your article. You should also know that sometimes, Google uses your first paragraph to create a meta description for your page itself. Make sure that your introduction accurately reflects what your text is about and include your focus keyphrase in there, and you should be fine. Remember: most people scan web pages rather than read them immediately. Make it easy for them by mentioning the actual subject of the page right at the start!
Passing the focus keyphrase in introduction check
We believe the use of your focus keyphrase in your introduction is important enough to have built a check for it, in our Yoast SEO plugin. Solving a red or orange bullet for this check might sound easy: just make sure you do use your focus keyphrase in your introduction text. But, it’s also easily forgotten. Let’s discuss some pointers that might help.
A good paragraph starts with a core sentence, after which you elaborate. This applies to your first paragraph, the introduction, too. Think of a core sentence that mentions your focus keyphrase, and move on from there. Elaborate and/or discuss what to expect from the rest of the text. You could decide to start with a short anecdote or example, to catch the attention of your reader. If you do so, follow that up with your focus keyphrase as soon as you can, so it’s clear what your page is about. Not just to your reader, but to search engines!
Why is the bullet orange or red?
Several things could trigger the “focus keyphrase in introduction” check in Yoast SEO. This might help you figure out what’s happening!
- You’ve mentioned your subject, but not your focus keyphrase;
- You’ve used an anecdote to attract attention, which doesn’t include your focus keyphrase;
- You have mentioned your keyphrase or its synonyms, but not within one sentence;
- You have mentioned a synonym for your keyphrase, but not told Yoast SEO Premium it is a synonym.
So, make sure the words you’ve entered as your focus keyphrase are mentioned in your first paragraph. And even more specific: they need to be within the same sentence. For search engines and readers to understand what your text is about quickly, you need to state the subject clearly. So even if you decide to start with an anecdote, for example, make sure to add a sentence that does clear up the subject of the text.
Learn more about this check in Yoast SEO in our explanation of the keyphrase in introduction assessment.
Your introduction is like a first impression
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This saying is true for both people and texts. If the first paragraph of your text is unclear, off-topic or just boring, people will lose interest. They will put the book aside or click away to another website. Especially with online readers: if the page doesn’t match their interest, they’re just a click away from millions of pages that could be more interesting. With that in mind, what could you do to make a potential reader stay on your page and read your entire text? How can you make a good first impression?
How do you write a good introduction?
We’ve covered the importance of using your focus keyword introduction. But how do you write a great introduction in general? You know your first paragraph is important to grab the reader’s attention. We’ll start with the basics: what elements should be present in your introduction?
Use your introduction paragraph to:
- Introduce your topic
Tell your reader what your text is about, preferably in the first sentence of your first paragraph. Keep it short and simple. Attention spans are very short online and you don’t want your reader to wander off. Consider using the inverted pyramid writing style. This method encourages you to get to the point immediately so you grab the attention. Some say the purpose of the first paragraph is to get your reader to read the second paragraph!
- Explain what your reader can expect
Take your reader by the hand. Tell them what they can expect from the rest of your text. Mention your purpose and explain your structure if this could help your reader decide whether this text would be useful for him. A lot of writers tend to forget that there are many ways to find a site. Your audience does not only consist of returning visitors that know your stories and products. Take the perspective of a new visitor, that lands on a specific blog post through the search results. Does the introduction of this post give the visitor enough clues to hold on to?
- Tempt your reader to read along
There are two ways to encourage your reader to read the rest of your article. The first one focuses on content. By introducing your topic and explaining what your reader can expect, you’re providing information. For some readers, this information alone could be enough to keep reading. Other readers might need a little push. You could use stylistic elements to trigger their interest some more.
Some last tips
If you’re still having a hard time making sure your focus keyphrase is in your introductory paragraph, here are some tips left that might help you.
First: the use of synonyms. In Yoast SEO Premium you can set synonyms and related keyphrases for your focus keyphrase. That enables you to write a less repetitive text, which is good for your readability. By entering the synonyms, Yoast SEO Premium takes them into account when analyzing for the different focus keyphrase checks. Including the check to see if your focus keyphrase is mentioned within a sentence of your introduction paragraph. Do think about this though, why would you use a synonym instead of the phrase you’ve decided is most important?
And here’s another tip that might help you if you’re struggling. Although it’s the first paragraph of your text, it’s definitely not set in stone that you should write it first! It might even be easier to write after you’ve finished the full post. You’ll have a better idea of the angle and content of the post, which might make it easier to write a great and enticing introduction that includes your focus keyphrase.