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My company has an issue with the Yoast SEO focus keyphrase. When we write our blog content on WordPress, there is a warning saying we use too the focus key phrase too much in our post. But we only a few words more than the recommended count.

Does this 2 or 3 extra words affect the SEO? If it does, how much?

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It's possible yes. But I don't think a black/white answer applies here and you can't really quantify it in advance. SEO is very much a test & learn approach. Yoast keyword tools are pretty old school in the sense that they tend to simplify what good SEO content looks like by not giving any insight or recommendations around things like topic, semantic keywords or a knowledge graph. Focusing on keyword % is really the last thing you should be doing, if at all, it is a result of not a cause of good content.

You're better to focus on what sub-topics exist within your content and making sure you encapsulate beneficial and inter-related (to users & google) sub-topics. Also, the word count should not be a target, just aim to explain the topic and all it's nested sub-topics etc. If it takes 300 words to do that - great, if it takes 3000 words great. Don't fluff up a 500 word deep article into a 1500 word piece, otherwise or anyone who reads it will instantly be put off and no-one will consider linking to it.

Clearscope (not affiliated with them, just like the tool) has an ok summary around how to do an approach like this https://www.clearscope.io/content-seo

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In short, yes, it does impact the SEO. It's hard to quantify how much but if you overdo your keywords, it might come off as stuffing and hurt your rankings.

There is a debate as to what's the best keyword density. Yoast recommends a density of 0.5%-3%. Many SEOs consider anything above 3% as stuffing.

However, search engines have gotten really good at understanding online content, so keyword density isn't a very big factor anymore. Instead of worrying about it, you should concentrate on creating content that is nice to consume for human readers. If using your keyphrase too often makes your text sound unnatural and spammy, don't do it.

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Today’s biggest search engines especially google favor sites that are full of user friendly content. If you are trying to maximize your seo and are stuck between getting all your keywords in and getting a gold star from an seo analytical site, the best thing to do is ask yourself what would the client want. The answer is - useful content. That’s most important for good SEO. These search engines are getting AI smart these days. They also want to get the correct site to the correct person.

You really do want to stay away from going over the recommended keyword amount. Keywords should come from the websites theme trending keywords. See what latest trending keywords people are searching for and compare them with your keyword list. This may help you to eliminate some.

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Honestly speaking, I host my blog and use RankMath, and still, my blogs rank much better than Yoast SEO.

The problem with Yoast SEO is that it creates problems which aren't there. I had a 5 years old domain ranked on around thousands on keywords and I used Yoast with it, but the moment I change it to RankMath or any other, the SEO was increased dramatically.

So I think you shouldn't be worried about this problem from Yoast, as they create issues out of nothing.

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