Understanding Keyword Difficulty: An Important SEO Trick to Learn
The mere fact that you’ve clicked on this article shows that you realize the vital role that search engine optimization (SEO) plays in your company’s success.
Hats off to you for recognizing that… you are a true titan of business!
One of the most important factors in optimizing your online presence is the use of keywords that are relevant to your niche.
However, it’s not as simple as flooding your content with words associated with your industry. It takes more strategy than that. That’s where keyword difficulty factors in.
Here’s a guide on the SEO trick that is known as keyword difficulty and why you should prioritize it.
What is “Keyword Difficulty”?
As if you didn’t already have enough to worry about… you’re already focusing on keywords, internal links, external links, and high-quality content. What makes keyword difficulty so important to your SEO tactics?
To put it simply: it shows you the keywords that would be the hardest and easiest to rank highly in for your niche.
The common misconception people have with this is that they think “keyword difficulty” is the same thing as “competition”. Not so much…
A “competition” metric for keyword research only refers to the paid search results. Not an organic search, which is what you’re shooting for.
You’re already dedicating a lot of hard work and time towards the keywords you’re placing into your content, don’t let that effort be for naught.
Use the best backlink checker on the internet to find crucial keywords and study their keyword difficulty. This will give you a higher chance of winding up on Google’s top search results for that particular topic.
What Qualifies as an Eligible Keyword Difficulty Level?
Now that you understand the “why” behind taking the time to prioritize and research the difficulty in all the keywords you use, it’s time to figure out the “what”.
In other words: what keyword difficulty level should you be aiming for?
That’s a loaded question. But you can gauge the level that you’re wanting to aim for by simply understanding how the score works on a backlink checker like SEMrush.
The score itself varies from 0 to 100. Obviously, a score of “zero” is the least amount of difficulty and “100” is the most difficult to rank in.
Now, there are 3 different ranges that SEMrush suggests that you go by:
If the level is a score of 80 or higher, then it will be highly difficult to ever rank in. You would need to place a ton of your marketing budget into your SEO ventures. Why do that when you can spend less and have a higher chance at a lower difficulty level?
If the level has a score between 60 to 80, then they consider it to be a “medium difficulty” to place in. In other words, it will take time and effort, but it’s doable.
Lastly, if the score is 60 or below, then SEMrush considers it to have a low difficulty to rank in. It bears repeating, that the lower the score is from 60, the easier it will be for your content to reach the top search ranks on Google.
Be warned, however, that if you’re just starting out on your SEO venture or building up a new website, you’ll only want to use primary keywords that are 50 or less.
As your SEO rankings start to rise up, you can start to incorporate more keywords with a higher keyword difficulty score.
For now, as you’re introducing your site to the world, focus on directing people to your content that has fewer sites to choose from.
How Is Keyword Difficulty Calculated?
This is probably the main reason you clicked on this article, to figure out 1) what keyword difficulty is and 2) how its score is even determined in the first place.
There are three main factors that tools like SEMrush use to determine the keyword difficulty.
These reasons are the relevancy of content, searcher motives, external links. Here’s a brief description of each.
This factor should come as no surprise. Everything in SEO surrounds the quality of a page’s content.
So how do they gauge that? You need to be placing your primary keyword into the title, URL, headline, and first few lines of your content’s body.
Think of it as a checklist that Google uses. You need to check all the boxes to end up on the top search results for that keyword.
The searcher’s motives are the intent that a customer has when they type in their question into the Google search engine.
In other words: why are they typing in that specific keyword into Google? Does your content provide the solution for that “why”?
The main reasons are when they want to know an answer, they want to buy, they want to go somewhere, or they want to accomplish something.
Used as an External Link (from Other Sites)
Anytime your content is used as an external link for another site’s content, Google views that as a credit to your content’s quality.
The more times your content is used as such, the higher up you’ll go in Google’s top search results. Period.
This aspect is a bit out of your control, but you can still use it when you link back to it for a guest post on another site or request a site to use your content.
Use Keyword Difficulty as Your Main SEO Trick
Now that you understand the reasoning behind prioritizing keyword difficulty, it’s time to use that as an SEO trick for all your content.
Doing so will help you gain an advantage against all your competition both locally and beyond.
Be sure to read our other articles that pertain to both this topic and other topics that are just like it.