If you’re a Yoast SEO Premium user, you might have noticed that Premium now offers keyword synonyms. But we also have the multiple focus keyword functionality. So what exactly is the difference? And which of the two should you be using? In this post, I’ll explain what keyword synonyms are and what the difference is with multiple focus keywords. Also, I’ll give you some information about future development plans for Yoast SEO premium.

New to SEO? Learn the Basics of SEO in our Basic SEO course »

$199 – Buy now » Info

What are keyword synonyms?

You want to rank for a specific term. That term is your focus keyword. If you’ve done your keyword research properly, this will be the term that is used the most by your audience. But Google is able to recognize synonyms as well. So, if you’re aiming to rank for ‘bicycle’, Google will understand ‘bike’ as well. In the keyword synonyms field, you’ll be able to fill out synonyms. In optimizing your post, the Yoast SEO analysis will take these synonyms into account.

You can use keyword synonyms in order to take plurals into account as well. We’re currently working on making our analysis much smarter so that it will recognize plurals automatically.

Multiple focus keywords does not suffice anymore

The multiple focus keyword functionality has been a Premium feature in Yoast SEO for several years. We built it because our users wanted to optimize for various terms. In many cases, these terms were synonyms. But multiple focus keywords were also used in order to optimize for related keywords.

Google has become much smarter in analyzing texts. At Yoast, we felt that the multiple focus keyword functionality did not offer enough for our users to optimize their texts. That’s why we’re working on improving our functionality. The keyword synonyms functionality is the first of many features we’re planning to release. Read more about our roadmap in my blog post about synonyms and keyword distribution.

Use synonyms for synonyms

If you want to optimize your text for multiple synonyms of the same focus keyword, I would advise you to use the new keyword synonyms field. The synonyms functionality will be improved in the next few months. If you have any thoughts on how to improve it, feel free to leave your opinion in the comments.

Use related keywords for multiple focus keywords

It can be really wise to optimize your post for more than one keyword. Make sure your post stays focussed though. Always make sure that keywords are related. You cannot optimize a text for ballet shoes and Italian cuisine without writing a text that is really, really weird. Google understands related keywords, which is why using words that belong together, will help in your ranking.

The multiple focus keyword functionality will also be updated in the upcoming month. The new functionality will be called ‘related keywords’ and will be designed especially to optimize posts for related keywords.

Using synonyms in multiple focus keywords

If you’re used to optimizing your synonyms with our multiple focus keyword functionality, feel free to keep doing so – for now. Nothing has changed yet. But, keep in mind that we are going to replace the multiple focus keyword functionality with a related keyword functionality in one of our following updates.


The new keyword synonyms functionality is the first of many changes Yoast SEO Premium will make in the upcoming month. Next to synonyms, we’re going to add morphology recognition. We’ll be able to recognize your focus keyword in plural and singular, and you won’t have to use the words in a key phrase in the exact same order any more.

We’re in a bit of an in-between-phase now. The multiple focus keyword functionality will change, but we’re not quite there yet. However, we did not want to wait with rolling out the first step of our synonym functionality either. That’s why we chose to keep both functionalities intact, up until the related keyword functionality is finished.

Read on: ‘Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium’ »

The post What are keyword synonyms? appeared first on Yoast.