Keyword Difficulty: Key Principles When Examining Keywords

March 28, 2020 Website Promotions

Keywords are the words that give your site visibility on search results to rank higher than your competition. Appling strategies when examining keyword difficulty will help you make better choices. Prominence on the first page of a search engine gives you more chances of getting clicks.

Keywords difficulty is the phrase we like to utilize to describe the degree of effort needed to rank a site organically for its target keyword.

I am going to attempt to clarify how Key phrase Problem influences on-page SEO initiatives and also how to find keyword phrases that have a much lower difficulty.

Sites that successfully enhance the top 100 search phrases in their sector stand an excellent possibility to strengthen their presence in a Google search for those top keyword phrases.

The possibility to appear the top 10 listings on the SERPs has ended up being a hard fight. As a result, these competitive keyword phrases face an exceptionally high keyword difficulty. Choosing a keyword you want to rank well for will require a new strategy.

There is no magic or secrets to this process. Anyone can do it if they are willing to invest the time and effort in doing the research. Posting relevant content on the web using keywords will give you more visibility.

Keyword Difficulty Important Guidelines To Remember

Do not waste your time and efforts chasing keywords you will never be able to rank for. Educating yourself on the fundamentals of keyword difficulty will help you to choose which queries or keywords to compete for, dust avoiding wasting time and money chasing keywords that are hard to rank for both now and in the future. It boils down to four essential factors.

1. Understanding your website domain authority will save you from making bad choices. If your website is not as strong as your competitors’ site, chances are you are not going to be able to compete for some of the same keywords that your competitors are doing well with.

2. You’re Competition. The number of pages that shows up on your search for your query or phrase you would like to rank. View the pages that currently rank for each term. Those websites are considered your competition.

3. Competitors Domain Authority (DA). The strength of a web page as determined by the link profile, both quantity and quality, social signals and, other page promotions. MOZ has a free tool that will help you determine you’re (DA).

4. Keyword Relevance. Google quality score on how useful page content matches your search phrase. It includes both on-page ranking factors like keyword presence and off-page signals like anchor text.

Keyword Difficulty Investigate Your Competitors

Your best investigation comes from viewing your competitor’s pages to see how they are optimized. Look for different signals and note the placement of the keyword.


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  • Is it in the title or at the beginning of the piece?
  • How often is the keyword used in the copy?
  • Is the keyword in the image alt text?
  • Is it in the domain name?
  • How much content is on the page and is it quality text?
  • How many backlinks does the domain have?

Do not over-analyze. Rank each domain based on your general impression. You’re up close, and personal review will enhance your understanding of how the top ten sites invest in their rankings.

This level of research requires a lot of concentrated effort, so you should have your list of keywords edited down to a manageable size. Remember that this is not scientific. You are attempting to quantify a qualitative assessment. Different people will come away with different opinions.

As you do your research, you will begin to understand your keyword landscape. For a high-level overview, coordinate the averages and your competitors’ numbers. This process will allow you to filter and sort the results in a way that reveals the best keywords for your site.

When selecting keywords, use that information to create three lists:
1. short term keyword targets
2. Medium-term keyword targets that will take time to become effective
3. Long term keyword targets that will prove successful after a period of concentrated effort.

Tools To Analyze Keyword Research

You will need to research competitive analysis metrics if you want to unseat your competitors from their sought-after top ten spots.

If you can afford them, there are lots of online tools that can take the guesswork out of doing your research. Tools that can tell you precisely what keyword your competitors are using, how and where they are using them, and the ranking position on Google for each keyword.
Tools like SEMrushSpyfuMOZpro, SEO PowerSuit, just to name a few.

Develop a strategy around your most competitive keywords by making a list of them and exporting them into a metrics-rich CSV file for easy tracking and reporting.

Developing an understanding of what makes a page rank in search is the first step in strategizing your own successful keywords.

To determine keyword difficulty, you will want to know the top ten search results and how many competing web pages there are. Calculate how many external links are in these pages and the number of links that point to the domain page. Each page should be analyzed individually to determine the level of optimization.

A good indicator of competition is learning how many pages are relevant for a successful query. You can run a search to see how many pages are indexed.

Boolean Searches


A more accurate number can be obtained using boolean searches. Boolean searches are an advanced search operator allowing users to combine keywords with operators (or modifiers) such as AND, NOT, and OR to produce more relevant results further. For example, a Boolean search could be “hotel” AND “New York.” This search would limit the results to only those documents containing the two keywords.

Let me give you a heads-up warning. Google will interrupt your search every once in a while and force you to fill out a Captcha. Google wants to ensure sure the boolean searches are coming from humans.

Remember that just ten(10) sites with better ranking will keep you from being on the first page, but don’t be distracted by the number of competitors. There are more important factors to weigh. Use them to calculate the keyword difficulty metrics.

Your research should be non-personalized and be sure to ignore universal “fillers” such as images, local searches, and news links. Search engines make it challenging to find non-personalized results, and there is currently no perfect trick for depersonalizing results.

What Keywords Should You Search For?

If you’re new to all of this and you would like to build your domain authority, you should start by picking the low hanging fruit. By this, I mean keywords with a more moderate SEO difficulty.

It will give you a better chance to rank in search. Start your keyword journey by choosing long-tail keywords. In general, long-tail keywords are easier to rank for, especially if you’re new to the world of keyword research.

Your objective while doing your keyword research is to find high traffic keywords with a reasonable conversion rate and the potential to rank somewhere on the first or second page in search. If you’re new to all of this, you shouldn’t be too concerned about ranking in the top ten of a Google search.

Pages that rank in Google’s top ten for a particular keyword will usually have a good page and domain authority and other external sites linking to them. If your website doesn’t have authority, including backlinks pointing to your content, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to out-rank your top ten competitors.

At that point, it’s time for you to move along to your next keyword. Look for sites with fewer link exchanges, if possible, when looking for your keyword possibilities. Another good option for you to explore is the possibility of ranking for long-tail keywords.


Backlinks from other sites and domains do affect the ranking of a website, but it is inconsistent. A few high-quality links can supersede a website with many low-quality links. Page Authority and Domain Authority are measured on both the quantity and the quality of backlinks, plus some other factors. The free program, Open site Explorer, can help you determine the strength of your domain or any domain.

If a page achieves high Page Authority with fewer links than others in the top ten, it could mean that the external links pointing to that page is stronger.

This is particularly the case if the Domain Authority is lower than the Page Authority. High Domain Authority and a low link count is an indicator that the page ranking is affected positively by strong internal links.

You can refer back to this research over time as you build your web presence. It will help you assign keywords effectively as you improve your existing pages and create new ones. Over time, and with sustained effort, you may find yourself on that valuable first page.

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