What is the keyword SEO Difficulty?

Category: KWFinder

The keyword SEO difficulty or keyword competition is a major keyword metric when doing a keyword research. The higher the value, the harder is to compete with others on the market using that keyword.

It’s a critical metric alongside with exact monthly search volumes and SERP analysis. It determines a selection of keywords that will help you to improve SEO, bid on keywords in PPC campaigns, and much more.

keyword difficulty

Screenshot 1: The SEO Difficulty of a keyword in KWFinder

How is the SEO Difficulty calculated?

We’ve combined selected 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 overall Link Profile Strength (LPS) 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 difficulty metric

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

Why KWFinder is the right choice?

KWFinder’s keyword SEO difficulty is one of the most accurate on the market. As we calculate the difficulty score in real-time, it is always good to click on the keyword to get the most accurate and up-to-date value.

A research by Authority Website Income compared 8 tools and analysed the correlation between keyword difficulty and the higher ranking in Google. KWFinder ended up to be the most accurate keyword difficulty tool.

most accurate keyword difficulty tool

“The tool provides to have the highest correlation of any tools researched and remains true across various search volumes. This tool is the absolute leader of all analyzed.”

Authority Website Income

Another review by Authority Hacker rated KWFinder’s keyword difficulty metric with 5 stars:

most accurate keyword difficulty tool

Not only is it easy on the eyes, but I also found KWFinder’s keyword difficulty metric to be surprisingly accurate.”

– Authority Hacker

Things to keep in mind

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

You’re on the good track once you created a list of keywords relevant to your niche with low SEO Difficulty. 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. You’ll find them in the left panel of KWFinder. Furthermore, you can expand the research with Google SERP thanks to results from SERPChecker in the right panel.

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  • my website keyword seo difficulty is 34.
    can you tell me this good and bad

    • Hi Shaikh,

      Thank you for the question. Unfortunately, it’s a bit unclear what exactly you asked about. Can you please drop us an email to info@mangools.com with more details so I can answer correctly? Thanks


  • Paul Foulkes

    ive set filters for kw diff to max 35 but im still getting lots of higher kw diff scores left in – how can i sort this if the filters arent working

    • Hi Paul,

      I guess that you are talking about keywords with no seo difficulty which after check get higher seo difficulty as you have set up in filter. There is no way how we can filter it out before it is checked. However, it will instantly filter this keywords out of results if you have set up filter.

      If you are still having troubles with anything, please reach us via email or chat.


  • Yurii

    Could you please tell me what formula do you use to calculate the keyword difficulty? What exact calculations do you perform to find it out? And what is the sequence?
    Thank you in advance

    • Hello Yurii,

      The formula of calculation is listed in the post, including steps so you can see the what we count first, second, etc. and we get the final value. Some things behind the calculation are our know-how.



  • Tatiana Resende


    Could you give me the link to the article that teaches you how to analyze the TOP 10 URLs?


    • Hey Tatiana,

      There’s no such article on our blog. As I mentioned in our earlier discussion, the 1st SERP isn’t alwasy made of Top 10 URLs, it can be less.

      To analyze the SERP, read the metrics. If you plan to do an in-depth analysis, open the results in SERPChecker directly from KWFinder. There’s the “Analyze SERP” button right below the table.

      Hope this helps!


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  • Ankit Chandwada

    Hello admin i have a website allinone tricks whose DA is 22 and PA 28 can i rank a keyword of 30-39 difficulty ??

  • Hasanuzzaman Sattar

    Thank you for this nice article. Can you please state the exact mathematical calculations of “Keyword Difficulty”. Most seo company looking for this metrics.

    Hasanuzzaman Sattar

    • Hello Hasanuzzaman,

      The exact calculation of the SEO difficulty is a valuable part of our know-how. Our keyword difficulty is one of the most accurate on the market. Each tool has its own recipe for calculating metrics and keeps it secret.


      • Hasanuzzaman Sattar

        Hello Team,

        Do you provide free keyword difficulty tool? Or the tool is fully paid? If so is there any annual subscriptions?

        Hasanuzzaman Sattar

        • Hello Hasanuzzaman,

          Yes, we offer time-unlimited free plan with 5 lookups per 24 hours and 50 keyword suggestions per search.

          All paid plans come with option to pay monthly or annually, you’ll find them in the pricing section: https://mangools.com/plans-and-pricing


          • Hasanuzzaman Sattar

            Sure, I will give it a try.

  • Ajay kumar

    Thanks for this article i learn a lot of help in my SEO job blog is very helpful clear all my doubt my website score in this keyword 23 – seo expert in noida and my website name abhiseo.com

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  • Thanks you for this great post. All time when I saw the work keyword difficulty I am confused what is that. But after reading your articles, my doubts are cleared. Looking more useful post like that.

    • Hi Param,

      That’s great to hear! I’m happy you find the information useful so you know exactly what the metric is about and how it’s calculated.


  • Upon filtering for keywords in the 0-9 DIFF range my results is NULL. According to the KWFinder guide it searches SERP results in ‘real time’ subsequently resulting in unknown keyword DIFF ranges. On average, for every keyword you search for with 200 results including the keyword only ~100 of the results will actually provide a SERP ranking difficulty score.

    • Hi Brennan, thanks a lot for your mini-review 😉

      Regarding the difficulty score – as you said, it is calculated in real-time based on the results from the first SERP. This allows us to bring really accurate difficulty score (the most accurate actually, as analysed by Authority Website Income: http://bit.ly/2xd03i7). If we wanted to do this with hundreds of keywords, we would be forced to increase our prices dramatically, as we would need to cover the additional costs.

      We believe that one does not actually need to see the difficulty score for the keywords that are irrelevant. On the other hand, the ones that are relevant and have good search volume can be clicked on and analysed more closely. We decided to focus on quality rather that quantity while maintaining the reasonable prices.

  • Vivek Darji

    My blog traffic and rank day to day loss how can i increase that and improve that?

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