Keyword Difficulty: How You Determine it to For SEO Strategy

If you are creating a page for organic traffic, there is nothing to lose. Do not target keywords that you don’t have a chance of ranking for.

Everybody has limited resources You should use your limited resources to create pages/content that “win” (aka are “prequalified”)

Beginner SEOs make the most common error of not selecting the right keywords to target. This is often quite easy.

This is about choosing keywords and content topics you don’t want to use.

Many SEOs make it easier to judge keyword difficulty by reducing it down to

  • How difficult it is to rank this keyword?
  • What’s the strength of pages that rank on Google’s first page?

These questions may be redundant or ineffective.

Instead, let’s look at the subtleties of keyword difficulty. This will enable you to rely less upon guesswork and automated tools, and more on professional judgment & process.

Use professional judgment and good processes to make your mark, instead of copying the same techniques everyone else uses.

Keep these Ideas in Mind

You are first targeting a particular theme of keywords. Google will want your content to rank highly in each theme. You need to identify your target keyword.

Picture yourself fishing with a large net. A goal will help you cover more areas.

Second: Don’t target a particular keyword with a webpage. Do not get too focused on one keyword rank.

Third-You don’t know how your page will rank until its life. It’s possible to reach your goals if the process is followed without worrying about being “correct”.

Your website can be updated with real data at any time.

Questions to Consider

This is a brief process we use to assess keyword difficulty when searching keywords.

One question will not make a decision. This will allow you to decide on your keyword, and give you an insight into the topic/audience of your website.

What are 3rd Party Metrics?

Many third-party tools can help you judge keyword difficulty. These tools place a lot of weight on the quality and quantity of links that point to the ranking pages.

We mix SEMrush (review), Mangools (budget option), and Ahrefs. These will be used in the examples.

The keyword difficulty score can be used to help you narrow down large lists of keywords. When keywords fall within the 30 range it is time for a more detailed analysis.

Don’t worry about all the data crunched by vendors. These terms are Ahrefs.

URL Rating is a score that measures the quality of the links that point to a particular URL. This is a measure of how competitive the SERPs are for a keyword.

Domain Rating (DR) is a score that measures the number of links pointing to a domain. This is similar to the “big brand bonus”. Even if the page isn’t perfect, it will rank high if it’s located on a respected domain like Wikipedia.

However, Domain Rating is not an indicator of competition like URL Rating. Google may rank pages that are less relevant from well-known domains if there’s little competition for a keyword. It cannot find better.

It is crucial to understand who your competition will be.

To instantly see stats for UR/DR, and Ahrefs, you can use the SERP overlay apps in Chrome.

Although these tools aren’t required, you can use them to keep track of the metrics and make guesses about Domain Rating results when you see more.

What’s the SERP Type?

Google has been removing its 10 blue links for years. Google is more advanced in showing different types of search results based on the search query.

You’ve probably seen different features in your search results. Google offers different types of SERPs based on what type of search you did.

Organic links will still be found in every result. You need to be aware of how your website is presented in search results.

  • Does your target keyword trigger a complete set of ads? What about an answer box?
  • Does it trigger the People Also Ask Box To what extent are people revising search results if so
  • Can news results be triggered? How about local results?
  • It’s possible to rank in another location if your organic results aren’t as good (like images or video)
  • What do the additional features tell you about your query? Do you know of any synonyms?

I don’t know how often I’ve found high-volume keywords in music videos or books. Your page should be suitable for the right SERP type.

What’s the Searcher’s Intent

Keywords represent the common factor between search engines and humans. Each query is a proxy for deeper and more complicated questions.

There may be thousands of searches for a keyword every month, but each one is unique.

Google is trying to provide results that answer the keyword query.

Partly, judging the difficulty of a keyword is a meta-exercise that helps you understand the question behind it.

1. Based upon keyword modifiers, and Google Instant, it is possible to determine the intent.

2. Learn what Google thinks the searcher’s intent is.

Tip: Google might show you a random selection of keywords if you enter a keyword that is too broad. This is based on different intents. For example, “gardening span>

3. Based upon your understanding of the searcher’s intent, determine whether current results offer the best results.

4 Using current competition, determine if your angle stands out.

Which is the preferred result type?

Google recognizes which keywords are more relevant for certain websites than others.

Search for patterns in search results.

The keyword won’t work if 9 of 10 results are university websites.

Google doesn’t care about the website type, only the content type that contains some keywords.

9 out of 10 results were educational content (not commercial), so you should target this term with an educational website and not a product webpage.

Videos, reviews, and help pages are all subject to the same rules. To find out if your website is competitive or needs to be replaced, categorize it.

What’s the Topic Type?

Google now understands broad topics better and how keywords fit within them. Google also has People Also Ask and Discover boxes that allow you to find similar results.

Pages that are related to a broad topic might show up in searches that include that keyword.

Searching for “how much does insurance cost for my car” will return pages called “How much does car insurance cost?” The #1 result is “Car Insurance Calculator span>

While it might not seem like a lot, it’s a significant improvement on traditional SEO. This tells Google that the query is treated as a topic and that the result matches that topic.

These clues show that there is more competition than you have. Using a keyword that is easier to find can help you “build up”, to a more topical, and competitive keyword.

Instead of targeting “car insurance”, why not target “how to get cheap car insurance for young motorists?” This keyword is less popular but still relevant to larger keywords like “cheap car insurance” or “car ins span>

What is your opinion?

Google is looking for results that are relevant to their users’ needs.

View search results as a disinterested person and then ask:

  • Are there results that you don’t want or are seriously lacking?
  • What does page 2 look like? Do you see any good results?

Also known as the Yahoo! Questions” test.

Yahoo! Yahoo!

Opportunities are indicated by Quora, pay-walled content and old forums, amateur websites, PDFs, and DOCs.

Can You provide historical performance and other relevant data?

Only website data can be viewed by SEO.

Your data can be used to learn, even if your site is being completely redesigned or updated.

  • Which pages do well? Which keywords are they using well?
  • What keywords could you use to be successful?

As an eCommerce company, you may notice that product-name terms perform well but not category-level terms.

This will inform you that some category-level terms might be too broad or competitive for your website.

Avoid using competitive keywords in judging category-level terms.

Similar data can be obtained (though not exact), from third-party tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Mangools if they have access.

Making the right decision

Once you have completed the process, you will be able to make a decision. Either you target the keyword or not.

Side note. This is a time-consuming process. It might only take a few minutes for a beginner to search for every keyword.

But don’t be too focused on just one keyword. Practice will help you find the perfect fit.

Use the Keyword

You are confident you can rank for a keyword.


Use your observations to create a more specific theme. Look at modifiers and topical terms.

Continue your keyword research.

Use a Different Keyword

A keyword you don’t think you can rank well for is too difficult.


Use your observations to help you choose the best course of action.

If you need it, this piece of content can be obtained.

  • Niche down-Is it possible for your keyword/idea to be even more specific? Can you trade volume potential with less competition?
  • Take a lateral leap. Use tools like Reddit or Semrush to get ideas.
  • Get rid of the idea/keyword
  • You can change your strategy/angle – Are there modifiers or angles that you could target? What can you do to make yourself more competitive? Do you have confidence in your promotion/link-building strategy to move this page up in difficult SERPs?

Next steps

SEO and organic traffic can help you win.

To determine keyword difficulty, a brief process is required. Next, narrow your search to keywords that you can win.

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