What are function words?

Function words are words that don’t have intrinsic meaning when used on their own. For instance, articles like ‘a’ or ‘an’ and pronouns like ‘everyone’ or ‘someone’ are function words. Yoast SEO will give you a warning if your focus keyphrase consists only of function words. It does that because if you optimize your content for words that don’t carry meaning, search engines will have a hard time understanding and ranking it.

Got a gray bullet? Here’s how to fix it!

Check if you made a mistake when typing in your keyphrase. For instance, you could have typed [the best] instead of [the best comedy movies]. So, all you need to do is edit the keyphrase, and you’re all set!

In rare cases, you might want to rank for a phrase that consists only of function words. For instance, you may be writing a post about the old meme “Why would you do that?”. In exceptional cases like this, you can avoid getting a warning by adding a double quote before and after your keyphrase. That will enable Yoast SEO to look for the exact match of the phrase, and the warning will disappear.

Are you using meaningful words in your keyphrase?

Well done! Search engines will be able to make sense of your content and increase your chance to rank!