Significance of Keyword Difficulty (KD)

by | Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Over the recent years, keyword difficulty has emerged as an important SEO metric. With billions of searches conducted daily across search engines like Google, Bing, Safari, etc., choosing the right keyword to get the audience’s attention has become essential.

To add to your knowledge, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. That’s why understanding keyword difficulty is essential to upgrading your SEO game.

The article delivers required information about keyword difficulty in a very straightforward manner. Let’s dive in to explore more about keyword difficulty and the importance of KD and further chalk out strategies to select the right keyword to help you reach your online goals.

About the Author

Hi. I am Navneet Singh, an SEO expert with 12+ years of experience in the SEO industry. Throughout my career, I have helped countless businesses grow by assisting them to rank their pages on SERPs. My journey of over a decade has taught me many things, including the importance of choosing the right keywords for a successful SEO campaign. In this article, I have tried to explain keyword difficulty to the best of my ability.

What Will You Take Home

After reading the blog, your keyword difficulty concept will be crystal clear. The article states the factors influencing keyword difficulty scores and offers tips to select the right keyword with a higher chance of ranking. 

What is Keyword Difficulty?

Keyword Difficulty measures how difficult it would be to rank organically for a particular keyword on page one of Google. This important SEO metric is expressed between 0-100, with 0 being the lowest and 100 the highest. 

The higher the difficulty score of the keyword, the harder it gets to rank for it.

Why Is It Important to Understand Keyword Difficulty?

Keyword difficulty is a crucial part of the keyword research process, and difficulty score is important to determine the keyword’s ranking potential. This analysis can help you prioritize your keywords accordingly and develop more effective content strategies for your SEO campaign.

How is Keyword Difficulty Calculated?

Each tool calculates keyword difficulty differently, considering separate parameters. Let me demonstrate it with an example. (You can try it yourself, too.) For example, I analyzed the keyword “keto diet” in different SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and Ubersuggest. The results were as follows:

Tool  SEMrush Ahrefs Moz Ubersuggest
Difficulty Score 100% 90 72 71

This happens because these different tools adopt different techniques for calculating the difficulty score.

What Factors Influence the Keyword Difficulty?

A few factors listed are responsible for the higher difficulty score of a keyword:

A keyword with many quality backlinks shows authority and trustworthiness to search engines. This, in turn, raises the keyword’s difficulty score, making it harder for new or lower-authority websites to compete effectively.


The number of websites and webpages already targeting the same keyword significantly impacts its difficulty. High competition often means ranking for the keyword is more challenging, which further increases the keyword difficulty.

Domain Authority

Simply put, domain authority affects keyword difficulty by influencing a website’s ability to rank for competitive keywords. Websites with high domain authority have a better chance of ranking, while those with lower authority may struggle to compete.

How to Choose a Good Keyword?

Besides keyword difficulty, other factors also play a vital role in helping you rank your article based on the target keyword. The trick is to find a sweet spot between keywords with low difficulty and comparatively higher search volume. 

 Sharing an expert tip, “If you consider only the keyword difficulty, you might rank your article on page one of SERPs, but you might not receive the target audience.”

So, rather than wasting all the time and effort, it is better to consider additional factors beforehand.

Search Intent

Keyword Search Intent is by far very crucial for selecting keywords with a fair ranking potential. In SEO, search intent is like figuring out why someone is searching. What are they trying to find or understand with their search? 

The intent is basically the reason someone searches your blog.

Search Volume

Search volume is defined as the number of times someone searches for a particular keyword. Search volume is important when selecting a keyword because what is the use of doing all that research and effort when nobody searches for that information.

Content Quality

A well-written, informative, and high-quality content is sure to boost a website’s overall authority, making ranking for keywords with higher difficulty scores easier. Therefore, the quality of your content will contribute to the overall keyword difficulty.

How to Check Keyword Difficulty?

There are plenty of keyword research tools present in the market that offer the feature to calculate keyword difficulty. Listing a few of them below:

  1. SEMrush
  2. Moz Pro
  3. Ahrefs 
  4. KWfinder
  6. Longtail Pro

Wrapping Up

To conclude, keyword difficulty plays an important role in ranking your content. Many factors influence keyword difficulty, including search volume, search intent, competitor sites, domain authority, etc. Implementing valuable strategies discussed in the article can help you select the right keyword with a higher chances of ranking.

Navneet Singh Final

A young enthusiast who is passionate about SEO, Internet Marketing, and most importantly providing tremendous value to businesses every day. Connect with him on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter: @nsvisibility

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