What is the Keyword SEO Difficulty?

Keyword difficulty (also known as keyword competition) is one of the most important metrics you should consider when looking for keywords. The higher is the keyword difficulty, the harder it is to rank on the 1st SERP due to a high competition of the ranking websites.

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 ranges

Screenshot 1: The SEO Keyword Difficulty in KWFinder

How is the Keyword SEO Difficulty calculated?

The calculation is based on the selected metrics by Moz, Majestic and our know-how, namely:

  • Domain Authority
  • Page Authority
  • Citation Flow
  • Trust Flow

The calculation consists of the following steps:

  1. We calculate the overall Link Profile Strength (LPS) for every website that ranks on the 1st Google SERP based on the selected Moz and Majestic metrics.
  2. Each metric has a different weight to make sure the results estimate how the real rankings evolve as much as possible.
  3. Finally, we take into account both high and low LPS values to calculate the overall Keyword SEO Difficulty.
  4. The final value estimated how hard it is to start ranking on the 1st SERP so it takes more than ever into consideration websites with low LPS.
  5. It’s absolutely alright when a low-authority website outranks high-authority websites and that’s exactly what Keyword Difficulty focuses on.
keyword difficulty gauge

Screenshot 2: Keyword SEO Difficulty gauge

What is a good value of the SEO difficulty?

The Keyword Difficulty is indicated on a scale from 0 to 100. The lower the value, the easier it is to rank for the keyword on the 1st SERP.

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


keyword difficulty ranges

Screenshot 3: Keyword SEO Difficulty ranges

Of course, keyword difficulty is not the only thing you should think about when looking for the best focus keyword.

Why KWFinder is the right choice?

KWFinder 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.

Keep in mind that the SEO Difficulty values in KWFinder are cached for up to 30 days. Hover over the values to see the exact date when it was updated. All difficulties that are older than 30 days have decreased opacity.

Research by Authority Website Income compared 8 tools and analyzed 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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