Understanding Keyword Difficulty and its Importance in SEO

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The method of assessing the difficulty of ranking for a specific phrase in Google SERP’s organic search results is known as keyword difficulty (sometimes referred to as “SEO difficulty” or “keyword competitiveness”). Internal and external factors, including your page’s potential and competitors’ pages, influence the keyword complexity level.

Understanding Keyword Difficulty (KD) as a Metric

It is rated from 0 to 100, with 100 being the most difficult to rank. However, many SEO experts use “keyword difficulty” to describe organizational difficulty rather than a specific statistic in a particular SEO tool. The values will change quite a bit when you check the KD of the exact keywords in various SEO tools.

Why is Keyword Metric Important?

Keyword complexity is crucial. Some people might use it to choose which keywords to target and which to ignore. Most of the time, it shouldn’t be a measure that decides whether or not you target a keyword. It is merely a statistic that informs you of the terms that will rank quickly.

This can be useful when deciding which keywords to optimize, especially if you’re looking for immediate results. It’s also a useful measure to consider when scheduling the time and resources required for the more challenging keywords.

How to Calculate Keyword Complexity OR Difficulty?

Several variables are used to estimate the keyword difficulty, such as the quantity and quality of backlinks, the caliber of the content, the domain authority, and the page authority. As a result, only one keyword tool can accurately forecast keyword complexity.

For “content marketing,” various keyword difficulties tools like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, Moz, KWFinder (Mangools), SEMRush, and Wordtracker offer varied results.

Yet, as backlinks alone significantly impact search rankings, most programs exclusively analyze referring domains (backlink profiles) to estimate keyword complexity. The keyword complexity increases with the number of referring domains on the first page of Google. Hence, whatever method you choose, be aware that backlink difficulty is primarily related to keyword difficulty.

Why is Keyword Difficulty Important to Marketers?

Effective Strategy for Higher Rankings

You must follow specific procedures to achieve your goal of ranking well for your target keywords. It should be a small component of your complete SEO plan.

Examines Several Factors

Many criteria are taken into account while determining keyword difficulty.

Although a variety of criteria determines a keyword’s difficulty, the following are the primary considerations:

  • Competitor strength
  • The searcher’s intent
  • Quality of website content
  • Your site’s domain authority

The keyword complexity approach explains how difficult it is to rank for a particular keyword using all these criteria and a comparative evaluation.

Essential for New Companies

The fact is that not all businesses should use the keyword difficulty method. If your company is well-known and ranks highly for several difficult keywords, you should emphasize search volume more.

You likely already score well for competitive keywords if your website is famous and has a high domain authority. It would help if you concentrated on getting in front of as many people as you can by choosing terms that generate the most searches. Yet, new and emerging companies need to pay more attention to keyword complexity or difficulty. It can be challenging to rank for highly competitive keywords if you’re a small business just starting.

In that situation, choosing low-complexity keywords to target is a wise choice. Experts also warn against paying heed to search traffic in this situation. Ranking well for keywords is essential to being well-known online and building your domain authority over time, even if the search volume is small.

Different tools to determine keyword Difficulty

The good news is that most premium keyword research programs offer free access to keyword difficulty.

You need one, too. But these are the top five ideas we have:

  • Search terms in Ahrefs (Free)
  • Search Engine Magic (Free)
  • Keyword Explorer for Moz (Free)
  • Ubersuggest (Free)
  • Keyword Finder by Mangools (Free)

What is a Decent Score for Keyword Difficulty?

You must first be familiar with your site to determine a suitable keyword difficulty score. Running a high-authority domain may allow you to win more challenging keywords quickly. It could be worthwhile to focus on high-stakes search phrases.

On the other hand, if you run a new website, you should provide more information before targeting the most challenging search terms. In some circumstances, it might be better to target more accessible keywords first, avoid the most challenging ones for the time being, and gradually increase your authority.

You can decide instead that it’s worthwhile to focus on the most challenging keywords, even if it takes longer to rank if they’re also essential to your business.


While looking for the ideal keywords to rank for, marketers should take keyword difficulty into account. It’s a statistic that lets them know how much SEO work could be required to rank well in the SERPs. I think the topic “keyword difficulty” should be clear now, but if there is any doubt related to keyword complexity or difficulty (in short we can say KD) then you may contact the My Learning Course website for content writing and SEO experts.