Beyond exact keyword matching: optimize your text naturally

Feb 10, 2020 | WordPress News

Our green bullets are addictive. We get that. While these green bullets help people to optimize their texts for the search engines, we don’t want people chasing only our bullets and losing track of their texts. We do want to nudge them and help them get that text as SEO-friendly as possible. In this blog post, I’ll tell you about the most pressing frustration that our customers experience and the solution we developed for that problem.

“Yoast SEO does not recognize my focus keyphrase”

Imagine this: You’re trying to optimize your post for the term [guinea pig]. In your text, you’ll probably use guinea pig (singular) and guinea pigs (plural). However, if your focus keyword is the singular [guinea pig], the keyword density check does not recognize your plurals and will punish you with a red bullet! That’s so annoying and unfair!  

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beyond-exact-keyword-matching-optimize-your-text-naturally-2 Beyond exact keyword matching: optimize your text naturally
In this text snippet, I use guinea pigs three times and guinea pig only one time. That means I get a red bullet…

Yoast SEO Premium analysis

In the premium analysis, plurals and past tense are recognized as the same keyword and treated as such in our analysis. Also, when you use your keywords in a different order, like ballet shoes and shoes for ballet, our analysis still recognizes them as well. In the premium analysis, both guinea pigs and guinea pigs are highlighted:

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The premium analysis recognizes both the singular and plural versions of my keyword: no red bullet!

What does the premium analysis do? 

Our SEO analysis -in the premium version – automatically detects whether or not you use different word forms of your focus keyphrase. It’ll recognize singular and plurals, but also different tenses of verbs, and adjusts your keyword optimization scores accordingly. What’s more, it’ll find your keywords, even if a few function words separate them.

Let’s look at yet another example. If your focus keyphrase is [playing with your cats], it will recognize that keyphrase in the sentence ‘You can use toy mice to play with your cat‘. Or, if you want to optimize for [games for cats] it will recognize it the sentence, ‘Another game your cat will love …’ as well.

At Yoast, we have a team of linguists working on this functionality. As you can imagine, recognizing past tenses and plurals works very differently in different languages. The word form functionality is currently available in English and German. But we are working on Dutch and Spanish, too.

What about synonyms and related keywords?

Focusing on exact matching keyword feels a bit outdated. Google is able to recognize different word forms and synonyms too. We know that Google even understands related concepts. If you add synonyms and related keywords to your focus keyphrases, the Yoast premium analysis will take these into account as well. Read more about this in our post about how to use synonyms and related keywords.

Write naturally

The whole idea behind our premium analysis is that you can write naturally and still optimize for the search engines. Our plugin will give you little nudges to optimize your text a bit more, without tempting you to chase the green bullets with exact keyword matching. This means: no more awkwardly rewriting your sentences, so the SEO analysis picks up on your keyword. No more wondering if you really didn’t use your keyword often enough, or if the plugin simply doesn’t recognize every instance. 

Why is this a premium feature?

Recognizing plurals and past tense isn’t easy. And it’s different for all languages. It is a lot of work. That’s why we have an entire team of linguists working on it, making sure we’re adding more and more languages.

This does not mean that the free version is ‘wrong’ in any way. It’ll help you to focus on the correct focus keyphrases. However, it is not able to recognize the different word forms. Luckily, you are. So, if you’re using the free version, feel free to ignore the keyword density check if you’re mixing plurals and singulars of your keyword.

Read more: “Yoast SEO hates my writing style!”- 6 common misconceptions about Yoast SEO »

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