What is Keyword Difficulty or KD?

Name: Keyword Difficulty

Referred to as: KD



In layman’s terms, Keyword Difficulty or KD is a metric used for measuring the effort that it might take for the content to get ranked on Google’s first page for any certain keyword. In case the keyword is difficult, it might need a lot of attention and time to see some results on your part. 

But it does not mean that you have to focus on the search terms with lower difficulty all the time. While selecting what to target, you need a smart strategy that considers search volume and keyword difficulty. 

It helps you to create a strategy that helps in balancing opportunity with ranking ease.  

Reasons to understand keyword difficulty:

Whether you are aware of this point or not, keyword difficulty will always impact your resource planning and strategy. In case you are able to understand it, you get to target some of the effective keywords for the website and ensure that the team has enough support needed to create successful content.

Keyword Difficulty will help you to further determine how realistic your current goal is for ranking on a new page. You are most welcome to use that knowledge to map out a content plan and then allocate the resources to support the same. However, there are some factors, which will help you to determine how difficult a keyword is. Those are:

Correct Use: n/a

Keyword Difficulty
KD = Keyword Difficulty

Our take:

Keyword Difficulty is pretty important in SEO. Very often, you will deal with Keyword Difficulty as the metric used in SEO tools that help to score the ranking difficulty of every keyword on a scale starting from 0 to 100. The working mechanism is pretty simple. If you get a higher score, that means it is quite difficult to rank for the keyword.

In some tools, the difficulty scores of the keywords are differentiated by using color to help navigate the keyword lists rather easily. 

While quantifying the keyword’s competition into metrics, there is one major website aspect to be taken into consideration and that is the backlink profile. Each web ranking in the 1st SERP is presented with a score, depending on the quantity and quality of the backlinks.

There are different ways to measure the authority of competitors. You can try looking for a Link profile Strength Metric to help establish the website’s link profile’s quality. The calculation is based on some selective metrics such as page authority, trust flow, and citation flow.

Later, the average score gets calculated to present the final value. It will help you to know how hard it might be for a website to break into 1st SERP for the said keyword.

Extra reading


  • Settle for the long-tail keywords:

You can start the process with the longer and low-ranking keywords, which have shorter ones within them. These long-tail keywords will turn out to be beneficial, mainly for niche websites or businesses, targeting clear or single user groups. They have lower Keyword Difficulty and make it easier to get higher ranks.

  • Start with the lower volume ones:

You need to aim for KWs with scores lower than 50. After that, try approaching a bit more nuanced and paced to rank for higher rated ones when you are quite sure of the site’s quality and that the content matches with the one offered by websites.

  • Know more about user intent:

Before you get any rank for a keyword, you must understand the audience of the website and their needs. They are the one that needs maximum convincing to come and reach out to your site. One way to understand more about your customers’ intentions is by targeting low-difficulty KWs, which have high relevance to chosen customer groups.


  • Not focusing on the strength of competitors is one biggest mistake that you must avoid while dealing with Keyword Difficulties. 
  • Furthermore, not focusing on quality content is another point that you should not do with Keyword Difficulty.


Nobody actually knows how Google ranks pages. But, you know the main things that matter the most for getting a top-notch rank. By analyzing those main things, you can get a solid idea of what it might take to get a better rank on Google for that given keyword. Some of those tips to follow are:

  • Figuring out the number of backlinks you might need
  • Reviewing the current authority of the competitors and on time
  • Investigating the search intent properly
  • Focusing on the current quality of content

For your question on what good Keyword Difficulty you should target, the answer is that it depends. The good Keyword Difficulty will depend on the website’s authority, the credibility of the given space, your power to acquire backlinks, and if you have the ability or the resources to cater to search intent.

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