What is the keyword SEO Difficulty?

Category: KWFinder

The SEO Difficulty is the major metric of a keyword when performing a keyword research in KWFinder. The higher the value, the harder is to compete with others on the market using that keyword.

It’s a critical metric of the keyword research alongside with exact monthly search volumes. It determines the selection of keywords that will help you to improve SEO of a website, blog, targeting the right keywords in PPC campaigns, and much more.

The SEO Difficulty is calculated in real-time when you request to analyze a keyword or click on one of the keyword suggestions. Many keywords have the SEO Difficulty cached from previous searches. If there’s no data, specifically for niche keywords, click on them to get a real-time value.

keyword difficulty keyword research

Screenshot 1: The SEO Difficulty of a keyword in KWFinder

How is the SEO Difficulty calculated?

It’s a combination of SEO metrics developed by Moz and our know-how, namely:

  • Domain Authority
  • Page Authority
  • MozRank
  • MozTrust

The calculation itself consists of the following steps:

  1. We calculate the SEO rank for every website featured on the first page of Google SERP.
  2. The SEO rank considers the quality of the website link profile. It’s based on a calculation of Moz metrics.
  3. We take into account the Domain Authority of each website.
  4. Finally, we generate an average of the mentioned above and this is the final value – the SEO Difficulty.
keyword seo difficulty chart

Screenshot 2: Keyword SEO Difficulty gauge

What is a good value of the SEO Difficulty?

The SEO Difficulty is indicated on a scale from 0 to 100. It shows the keyword difficulty based on a comparison of keywords on a market-wide basis. The lower the value, the easier it is to rank for the keyword.

Keep in mind that the “real” SEO difficulty may vary. It depends on your on-page and off-page SEO skills.


Screenshot 3: SEO Difficulty scale

Things to keep in mind

The SEO Difficulty isn’t the only metric on which you should base the keyword research.

Having a list of keywords relevant to your niche with low SEO Difficulty is great, however, it doesn’t indicate your job is done.

You should take into consideration other metrics such as search trends, average monthly search volumes, CPC and PPC competition, etc. These are situated in the left panel of KWFinder. Furthermore, you can expand the research with Google SERP thanks to SERPChecker add-on in the right panel.