If you’re like most PPC veterans, you know the struggle of trying to find the “perfect” keyword. The one that has high traffic, low competition, and low cost. It’s a difficult task – one that requires knowledge, dedication, and a bit of luck. But what if there was a way to make finding the perfect keyword a bit easier?

Introducing the concept of “keyword difficulty”. As the name suggests, keyword difficulty is a measure of the competition for a given keyword. That is, how hard it is to rank for that keyword in the search results. It’s a valuable metric to consider when setting up a PPC campaign, as it can help you determine which keywords to target and how much to bid on them.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unlock the mystery behind keyword difficulty. We’ll explore how it’s calculated, what variables influence it, and, most importantly, how to make the most of it in your PPC campaign. So grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

Quick Summary

Keyword difficulty is a metric used to determine how difficult it would be to rank in the top 10 search results for a given keyword. It’s based on an analysis of several SEO factors, including the number of sites that rank for the keyword, the domain authority of sites that rank for the keyword, and more.

What is Keyword Difficulty?

Keyword difficulty is an important concept for SEO professionals to understand, as it can determine the success of their SEO campaigns. As its name suggests, keyword difficulty measures the level of difficulty one will face when trying to rank for a particular keyword phrase. It’s an essential element in any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and helps SEO marketers judge the competitive landscape of the chosen keywords. The higher the keyword difficulty, the more difficult it will be to achieve ranking success.

The keyword difficulty score is calculated using several measures such as keyword demand, competition, search volume, relevance and other factors. For example, a keyword with high search volume but low competition would likely have a lower keyword difficulty score than a keyword with low search volume and high competition. Additionally, relevance also plays an important role – if a searcher types in keywords that do not match up with your content, even if you outrank them in terms of overall search volume and competition, they will be more difficult to rank highly for due to relevancy concerns.

There are two sides of debate when it comes to determining what defines ‘difficulty’ in this context: a strategic approach or a technical approach. A strategic approach looks at all available resources such as competitor analysis and marketing budgets; while the technical approach focuses on things like on-page optimization and link building strategies. Ultimately, both perspectives are important for fully understanding what contributes to successful SEO rankings and thus should be taken into consideration when evaluating the difficulty of reaching keyword targets.

Identifying the most relevant keywords is key to unlocking any SEO mystery – understanding how best to identify them starts by firstly understanding keyword difficulty. With that in mind, let’s move on to exploring how to find the most pertinent keywords for your website in our next section: “Finding the Most Relevant Keywords”.

Crucial Summary Points

Keyword difficulty is an important concept to understand for SEO professionals, as it measures the level of difficulty when trying to rank for a particular keyword phrase. Keyword difficulty is determined by factors such as search volume, competition and relevance. There are two sides of debate when it comes to determining keyword difficulty: strategic and technical approaches. Finding the most relevant keywords starts by understanding keyword difficulty, which can help unlock any SEO mystery.

Finding the Most Relevant Keywords

Finding the Most Relevant Keywords is an essential element of effective keyword research. This process involves researching user intent, assessing competitive landscapes, and leveraging keyword tools to uncover suitable terms that target the desired audience.

The most effective keyword selection strategy begins with brainstorming potential terms that could be used by a customer to enter into a search engine. This can be done by considering what terms someone would use to find products or services in your industry, as well as researching any associated keywords that may be included in this query. Additionally, one should also consider variations or synonyms of the primary search terms for a more comprehensive understanding of customer needs and intents.

Once you have identified key words that describe the products or services being offered, it’s time to analyze the competition for those keywords. It is important to assess both direct and indirect competition – some companies may offer similar services but under different names. By evaluating competitors and the strength of their presence on various channels, businesses are better able to determine their level of competitiveness for each term.

Once you have determined which search terms have the greatest potential for success, it’s time to move onto analyzing the level of competition for those terms. That process will be discussed further in the next section.

  • Keyword difficulty (KD) is a metric used to measure the level of competition for a keyword in organic search.
  • KD is expressed on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being the least competitive and 100 being the most competitive.
  • According to data collected by BigCommerce, the average keyword difficulty across all keywords used in online searches is 19.9.

Analyzing the Level of Competition

When it comes to deciphering keyword difficulty, understanding the level of competition is essential. A keyword might have a low search volume, but if competition for that keyword is high, it could prove more difficult to rank for than a higher-volume keyword with lower competition. To determine this, take a look at who’s already ranking for the particular keyword you’re targeting. First, check the domain authority of these websites; if all or most of the top-ranking sites have high domain authorities, then due to their established presence it could be tougher for new and lesser-known sites to gain ground.

However, as we’ve discussed earlier in this guide, even when competitors are well established and appear unbeatable there may still be ways to find success. Consider doing your own research into the types of content they produce. Are they creating highly detailed blog posts while you are creating shorter guides? Are they using structured data on their pages while you are not? Taking note of such differences can reveal SEO opportunities down the line. Using structured data is one example where a newer website can outrank an older website simply by executing what was missing before.

It’s also important to determine (based on search engine results) whether the competing websites contain some common traits that make them rank better in comparison to yours. Focusing on those areas can often result in better organic rankings for your website too. Additionally, smaller niche sites may be able to compete against larger domains because smaller sites tend to be more focused and relevant for particular keywords; this means that with fewer competitors vying for attention from search engines there’s more chance of securing high rankings in SERPs.

At any rate, analyzing the level of competition can provide valuable insights into how competitively you may need to approach achieving your own organic ranking goals. Understanding which techniques worked for past successes is key for determining what steps need to be taken strategically when attempting to make progress with your own website. What follows next is discovering what level of difficulty each keyword actually turns out to have – let’s take a look at what that involves now in our following section: “What are the Different Levels of Keyword Difficulty?”

What are the Different Levels of Keyword Difficulty?

Understanding the different levels of keyword difficulty can be an invaluable way to determine the efficacy of a potential SEO campaign. The levels of difficulty encompass several components, including search volume, competition, and other related factors. By assessing these variables, one can develop a detailed plan for optimizing website traffic and reaching target markets.

When it comes to search volume, the difficulty of a given keyword is closely related to the number of queries performed each month. Generally speaking, the more searches taking place on a particular keyword or set of keywords, the more difficult it is to rank well against them. This also means that if you are looking to rank your website for keywords with high monthly search volumes, there is likely to be much more competition than if you were targeting keywords with lower search volumes.

Another factor that affects keyword difficulty is how wide the net cast by the keyword is. Some keywords might only bear relevance to a very narrow portion of searches (e.g., “marketing tools”), while others might yield results from multiple avenues (e.g., “keyword research”). Targeting broad phrases can often result in significant amounts of competition and much higher difficulty levels than targeting narrower terms. On top of this, some industries and topics tend to have extremely high competition regardless, due to massive existing authority websites vying for rankings.

Moreover, when it comes to digital marketing efforts regarding SEO campaigns and keywords, there are many nuances at play in regard to how difficult specific words are to rank for as opposed to others. For instance, local keywords may have less competition than global ones—but they will still pose difficulties depending on how heavily they’re being targeted by other businesses competing in the same geographic area or niche industry. Regional keywords can also be tricky due to their limited appeal and focus towards users in specific locations.

Overall, keyword difficulty frequently requires careful consideration from all angles, taking into account search volume, competition level, relevancy factors, local- versus global-level relevance and penetration—all of which can vary greatly depending upon the industry and world region under analysis. To accurately assess keyword difficulty for any given field or domain requires time and effort: something that can be made easier with diligent use of robust tools intended for analyzing such metrics. With that in mind, let’s look at what types of tools we can use to analyze keyword difficulty in our next section.

What Tools Can I Use to Analyze Keyword Difficulty?

The process of analyzing keyword difficulty can be complex and time consuming, which is why many SEO professionals turn to tools that can help to measure a keyword’s competitiveness. Fortunately, there are numerous keyword difficulty tools on the market today that claim to help give you an accurate measure of how difficult it will be for you to rank for a given search term.

At one end of the spectrum are basic keyword analysis tools that focus primarily on metrics like search volume, cost per click (CPC) rate, Global Search Volume Index (GSVI), and others. These types of tools provide quick insights into what keywords are trending and how much potential financial benefit you could realize by targeting them.

On the other hand, there are more sophisticated keyword difficulty tools that use predictive algorithms to calculate certain indicators of a keyword’s competition level. For example, some keyword difficulty tools analyze factors such as the strength of competing websites, the number of backlinks pointing to pages ranked for a given query, and the average ranking positions achieved by top-ranking webpages in Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages).

Ultimately, each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Basic analysis tools may give you information quickly but can overlook key elements that would otherwise reveal a keyword’s competitive landscape. On the flip side, more advanced tools may require more time to analyze data points but could provide you with more meaningful insights into a query’s difficulty level.

One thing is certain: no matter which tool you choose, understanding a keyword’s difficulty level is essential if you want to increase your chances of ranking higher in organic search listings and ensuring your SEO campaigns deliver better results overall. With this in mind, let us move on to discuss how we can put such key findings into action in the next section: How Can I Use Keyword Difficulty to Boost my SEO?

How Can I Use Keyword Difficulty to Boost my SEO?

When it comes to boosting your SEO, keyword difficulty can be a valuable asset in helping you decide what topics and phrases to target. Many experts believe that targeting higher difficulty keywords can lead to better results because they typically have more long-term potential. However, pursuing very difficult keywords may not always be feasible or worthwhile.

In any case, it’s important to researching the search trends of difficult keywords before investing time and resources into them. This will give you an idea of whether the keyword is likely to be profitable despite its level of difficulty. In addition, you should take into consideration the current content landscape for each keyword you are targeting; if there are already numerous authoritative pages targeting that same keyword then achieving high rankings might prove particularly challenging.

No matter how difficult a keyword might be, however, it can be beneficial if you focus on delivering quality-content that meets the specific needs of your readers. Quality content has a better chance of gaining organic visibility since search engine algorithms reward content that is helpful and interesting. Additionally, consider diversifying your efforts by also focusing on long-tail keywords related to the main one; this strategy helps widen the scope and potential reach of your efforts.

To sum up, properly assessing the difficulty of keywords can give you an edge when planning your SEO campaigns. Depending on the difficulty level and other important factors such as their potential profitability and content landscape, they can either prove highly effective or not worth pursuing at all. In conclusion: is high keyword difficulty worth it? We will explore that question further in the next section – Conclusion – Is High Keyword Difficulty Worth it?

Conclusion – Is High Keyword Difficulty Worth it?

When considering whether it’s worth taking on a high keyword difficulty, there are several things to keep in mind. Firstly, high keyword difficulty may be more difficult to rank for initially, but if tackled smartly and strategically, could help bring in more search engine traffic than low or mid difficulty keywords. Furthermore, ranking for these more competitive keywords can provide an edge over competitors that are targeting keywords of lower difficulty.

On the other hand, there is an element of risk with high keyword difficulty since it can be challenging to achieve a good ranking spot. With higher competition comes a greater need for a well-developed SEO strategy and quality content that should take into account topics such as relevance, originality, researchability and audience engagement. Failure to do this can result in wasted time and effort that could have been spent elsewhere.

Ultimately, it is up to businesses to decide which approach best suits their situation and ambitions – be that targeting highly competitive keywords ‘head-on’ or going after less competitive terms and growing organically through search engine optimization. What matters most is the success of the final outcome and SEO should always remain an ongoing process by regularly monitoring and adjusting tactics to ensure desired results are achieved.

Common Questions and Their Answers

What factors determine keyword difficulty?

Keyword difficulty is a measure of how much effort is needed to achieve a high ranking on the search engine results page (SERP) for a particular keyword. Several factors are used to determine the difficulty of a keyword, such as the level of competition and relevance, the number of websites targeting the same keyphrase, and the amount of search engine traffic for that keyphrase.

Competition is one of the major factors in determining keyword difficulty; if you are searching for a highly competitive keyword, you’re likely to face fierce competition from experienced SEO specialists who might have already optimized their website to rank well for that keyword. The relevance of the keyword or phrase is also important; keywords need to align with the content on your site, so selecting relevant keywords can make it easier to rank in search engines. Additionally, if there are lots of other websites targeting the same keyphrase, the chances of ranking for it decrease due to competition. Finally, search engine traffic can indicate how hard it might be to rank for a particular keyphrase; more visits resulting from searches related to that keyphrase can indicate more difficult keywords and increased competition.

How can I measure keyword difficulty when optimizing a website?

Measuring keyword difficulty when optimizing a website requires taking into account multiple factors. The two most important ones are search engine results page (SERP) competition and relevance of the keyword to the content of your website. To start, you should look at the SERP competition of the specific keyword by using tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer. These tools will tell you how many websites are competing for ranking in the search engine’s results. For example, a high-competition keyword is one that has thousands or even tens of thousands of sites already ranking for it. This should give you an initial impression of how difficult it might be to rank for that keyword.

After assessing the SERP competition, you should then analyze how relevant the keyword is to your website’s content and overall theme. Relevance is crucial, since search engines consider content relevancy as a major factor when displaying search results. You should aim to create content packed with keywords that support your website’s theme and also feature related long-tail variations of those same keywords. Longer tail variations can be much easier to rank for and can still bring valuable search traffic if done right.

Finally, once you have assessed both SERP competition and relevance, you can use tools like Ahrefs Rank Tracker or Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool to gauge how far those specific keywords should take you on search engine result pages (SERPs). This last component provides an estimate of how challenging is it to rank highly for each keyword—allowing you to deduce which phrases are more and less attainable according to your site authority.

Is there a reliable method for accurately assessing keyword difficulty?

Yes, there is a reliable method for accurately assessing keyword difficulty. This method generally involves looking at the keywords that your competitors are currently ranking for, and their overall search visibility, as well as other factors such as estimated monthly search volumes and competition levels. Additionally, certain tools can be used to estimate keyword difficulty scores, which take into account factors such as the domain authority of competing websites, the number of backlinks pointed towards them, and recent changes in search engine algorithms to provide an indication of how difficult it would be to rank for that keyword. Ultimately, the most reliable way to assess keyword difficulty is by combining all of this data to formulate an educated guess based on your own specific situation.

Last Updated on March 21, 2023

E-commerce SEO expert, with over 10 years of full-time experience analyzing and fixing online shopping websites. Hands-on experience with Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, Magento, and other CMS.
Need SEO help? Email me for more info, at info@matt-jackson.com