Keyword Difficulty

How Keyword Difficulty Has a Significant Role in SEO?

How does keyword difficulty matter in SEO? Keyword research is the spine of any successful SEO or content marketing campaign. It lays the groundwork for your content strategy and describes which keywords to focus on.

Any business owner or marketer that wants their website to rank strongly in search engine results needs to start by doing thorough keyword research. And, only after they have known what keywords to target can they start their SEO and content optimization initiatives.

And, two of the most important factors while choosing keywords are search volume and keyword difficulty. We all know that search volume refers to the number of users who searched for a keyword in a provided period. However, not everyone is completely aware of what keyword difficulty is and why it matters.

This post will tell you what the keyword difficulty score is and how you can use it to choose the best keywords.

What Is Keyword Difficulty
What Is Keyword Difficulty

What is the Keyword Difficulty? 

Keyword difficulty really means how much competition there is for that particular keyword. It includes how difficult it is for you to rank for that keyword. The more above the competition, the higher the keyword difficulty, and the more difficult it is to rank for that keyword.

Keyword difficulty is a vital metric to check while deciding which keywords to target. It would be best to target very high-competition keywords because it is challenging to rank for those terms. You also don’t want to go for highly low-competition keywords because those usually don’t have very high search volumes.

So, it is necessary to maintain a balance between search volume and keyword difficulty. Ideally, you would need to target moderate-competition or low-competition keywords with good search volumes.

What is the Keyword Difficulty Score, and Why Does it Matter?

The keyword difficulty score (KDS) is the metric you need to check to assess keyword difficulty. A lot of SEO analytics tools give this metric, but this is not an official Google metric.

The keyword difficulty score is a rate between one and a hundred. The greater the score, the more competitive the keyword.

Here is an extensive segmentation of keywords based on the keyword difficulty scores and what they mean.

KDS Above 70% – High Difficulty Keywords 

These are high-difficulty keywords that have extremely high competition. If you aim to target these keywords, then you will need to invest in extensive SEO and link-building over some time. These are not the kind of keywords that you can begin competing for and see immediate results.

You require to invest time and money to be able to compete for such high-difficulty keywords successfully.

KDS Between 30%-70% – Moderate Difficulty Keywords

Trying to rank for these keywords is relatively more realistic and profitable. These will usually have good search volumes (hence the difficulty) but not so much competition that it’s not feasible.

Thus, these are your best when choosing the right keywords as you have a realistic chance to compete for these. They also have a high search volume; it is worth your time to target these.

KDS Below 30% – Low Difficulty Keywords

These are the low-difficulty keywords that are the simplest to rank on. However, more often than not, these keywords don’t have high and calm search volumes. But, if you can identify low-difficulty keywords with decent search volumes, then you’ve caught the jackpot.

This is what buy xanax 1mg online niche businesses do. They look for a niche, usually long-tail keywords most relevant to their business, and target those. And because these are niche keywords, the competition is not really high on the SERP.

Keyword Difficulty Checker
Keyword Difficulty Checker

How is the Keyword Difficulty Calculated?

The exact formula that keyword research tools used to calculate the keyword difficulty scores varies from tool to tool. However, the key factors that contribute to the keyword difficulty score are the same.

As discussed first, keyword difficulty shows how easy or hard it is to rank for a particular keyword. So, the factors for calculating keyword difficulty are related to the search engine ranking factors. The factors that get a page to rank more important will have keywords that are difficult to compete on.

Here are the three key phases that are considered while calculating the keyword difficulty.

Page Content

This is one of the most essential search engine ranking factors and hence, is also considered while calculating keyword difficulty. Pages with high-quality, relevant content rank well because the final goal of search engines are to provide the users with the most valuable and relevant results.

So, the content of your page should be relevant to your objective audience, and the keyword that you target should also reflect the same.

Quality of Backlinks & Referring Domains

The number and quality of backlinks and the number of referring domains is another critical factor that contributes to a keyword’s difficulty score. Pages with diverse, high-quality backlinks rank well, and hence the keywords that these pages target will be examining to compete on.

Domain Authority

Domain authority is like a website’s reputation regarding how relevant and valuable its content is for a particular subject or industry. The higher the domain authority, the more a website is considered an expert content provider in the industry.

And, since websites with high domain authority rank higher for their target keywords, these keywords will have an increased difficulty score. So, while assessing the keyword difficulty score, the domain authority of websites that use that keyword is also taken into account.

Keyword Difficulty Tool
Keyword Difficulty Tool

How to Use Keyword Difficulty to Find the Best Keywords

Whenever you begin your keyword research, you will come across thousands or even millions of keywords, depending on your industry. Especially if you’re searching within a broader niche, your keyword research tool is bound to return a huge list.

This is where you can use keyword difficulty to sort through that extensive list of keywords. You can’t go through the entire list manually and then decide which keywords you can realistically target. It would be too time-consuming and useless because you can do the filtering automatically using search filters.

You can discover keywords within a particular range of keyword difficulty and filter out the rest. You can’t select a range with some tools, but there are still filtering options like “less than” or “more than” a particular difficulty score.


Keyword difficulty is an important metric to consider before selecting your target keywords. It tells you how easy or difficult it is for you to rank for that keyword. The higher the difficulty score, the more difficult it is to rank for that target keyword.

And, you can use the keyword difficulty score to sort and filter long keyword lists and then select the best keywords for your business.


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