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Keyword Difficulty is a metric that allows you to visualize how difficult it will be to position a website for a specific keyword phrase. Depending on the selected tool, such an indicator may range, for example, from 1 to 100, where a higher score means that you are more competitive for the given phrase. The Keyword Difficulty metric is used, among other things, when planning SEO strategies.
How Keyword Difficulty Affects SEO Planning Activities?
SEO specialists use the Keyword Difficulty indicator every day to plan positioning strategies for websites and online stores. The metric allows you to choose key phrases wisely. As a result, words begin to show better visibility, which in favorable conditions translates into greater organic traffic and a higher level of conversion. Keyword Difficulty is also used to analyze individual phrases while selecting them to check the competitiveness of a given phrase. Thanks to this, an SEO specialist – or the owner of a website – can check whether it is worth investing time in positioning a specific keyword phrase.A high Keyword Difficulty Index means that achieving a satisfactory position in the Google search engine will be more difficult due to high competition.
Source: Mangools.com – Keyword Difficulty scale for KWFinder tool.
In some industries, Google’s TOP 10 organic search results are occupied by extremely “strong” domains with a rich link profile, an extensive blog platform and a long history. Therefore, new websites have huge difficulties with beating such competition, especially in the initial phase of implementing SEO activities. In such a situation, it is worth focusing on long-tail words . These are key phrases with a so-called “long tail”. They are extensive and usually consist of three (or more) parts. Due to the level of complexity, the competitiveness of such expressions is usually low, so their positioning theoretically is slightly easier compared to the most popular phrases.
Although long-tail keywords tend to have low searchability, even new websites can plan SEO activities for many of these phrases. Then, positioning will cumulate the effects, which will have a positive effect on organic traffic. As you can easily deduce Keyword Difficulty for long-tail phrases is just low. In addition, these types of words have a higher conversion potential, which is confirmed by statistics .
Source : Neil Patel Blog – Average conversion achieved by long-tail phrases.
Where To Check Keyword Difficulty?
The Keyword Difficulty metric is available in many tools used by SEO specialists. The most popular – and at the same time reliable and accurate – indicators are found in software such as KWFinder, Ahrefs and Ubersuggest . While individual tools analyze the competitiveness of key phrases differently, they present similar results that are consistent with reality.
The KWFinder tool was developed by Mangools and is used, among other things, to measure the Keyword Difficulty Index (scale from 1 to 100). The software also allows you to see which domains are ranked highest for a specific keyword. Although the tool is paid – requires subscription – after registering an account, it allows you to perform several free analyzes. Indicator Keyword Difficulty is calculated on the basis of external measures, such as Domain Authority and Trust Flow. A person using the KWFinder tool can additionally analyze the LPS (Link Profile Strength) for domains with TOP 10. The higher the result has a website, the theoretically more difficult to compete with it in organic search results.
Source : KWFinder – Keyword Difficulty for the phrase “kitchen furniture” and related words.
Keyword Generator by Ahrefs is a tool used to select key phrases when planning SEO activities. The software displays not only the proposed words with monthly search terms, but also Keyword Difficulty on a scale from 1 to 100. To calculate the index, Ahrefs uses slightly different factors compared to KWFinder, therefore individual results may be different, but most often they are similar. While the overall Keyword Generator presents less information on key phrases compared to competing tools, it is completely free, which makes it popular with SEO professionals. In the free version, the software displays Keyword Difficulty for a dozen or so key phrases with the highest searchability.
Check : Ahrefs Keyword Generator – Keyword Difficulty for “kitchen furniture” and related words.
The competitiveness of the keyword phrase is also assessed by Ubersuggest through the SEO Difficulty Index (scale from 1 to 100). In addition, the tool shows the monthly searchability of a specific word, as well as the average CPC (cost per click – the cost of a click in a published Google Ads advertising campaign). The SEO Difficulty measure is developed on the basis of external linking and organic domain traffic data from the TOP 100 Google search results. For this reason, the indicator may deviate significantly from the statistics presented in Ahrefs or KWFinder. In the free version, Ubersuggest allows you to perform 3 analyzes a day, while all software functionalities are available after paying for the subscription.
Source : Ubersuggest – SEO Difficulty for “kitchen furniture” and related words.
What to remember when choosing phrases for SEO activities?
Self-search for phrases based on monthly searches and the Keyword Difficulty Index is not everything. Keyword matching is the foundation of SEO and has a huge impact on the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Badly matched phrases can make it difficult to attract organic traffic and will not have a positive effect on visibility and conversion.
# 1 Avoid keyword cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization occurs when the Google search engine displays two subpages belonging to the same domain for one word. This phenomenon should be avoided as it may negatively affect the conversion. When cannibalization occurs, most often one of the displayed pages is not properly suited to the user’s needs – opening such a URL may increase the bounce rate, because the user will close the window without taking any action. John Mueller (Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google) points out that it is better to prepare one, solid page on a given topic, instead of creating several weaker ones. Not only does the phenomenon of cannibalization not occur then, but users can enjoy valuable content.
# 2 Always use specialized tools
There are many specialized SEO tools. Properly selected software is extremely important when implementing a positioning strategy. Such tools allow for the proper selection of key phrases, optimization or implementation of external linking from valuable domains. The most popular and useful solutions include:
- Ahrefs – the tool is primarily used to analyze the link profile of a website. It is useful during link building. It also allows you to track the position of key phrases. Although the monthly subscription compared to the competition is quite high, the software surprises with the number of available functionalities.
- Senuto – useful during content marketing and SEO activities. The tool presents the visibility history and allows you to compare your domain with the competition. It is perfect for selecting key phrases for positioning.
- SEMrush – a tool with a number of useful functions. It allows you to plan optimization activities, select key phrases and monitor visibility.
- SEMSTORM – an excellent proposition for websites that build visibility through content. The tool allows you to quickly select phrases and topics for subsequent content. It’s also a great solution for keyword rank analysis.
- Mangools – a practical all-in-one tool. The software includes KWFinder, SERP Checker, Link Miner and SiteProfiler. Thanks to this, the tool can be used both to develop a strategy, as well as to modify it and monitor the effects. Mangools comes in handy for on-site and off-site activities.
- ScreamingFrog – crawler used during optimization. It allows you to quickly analyze many subpages in terms of meta data, URL structure or broken links. It can also generate XML maps.
# 3 Keyword Difficulty is just a clue – not an oracle
While Keyword Difficulty is a useful and reliable metric, it is not an official indicator from Google. This is just a tip developed by external software that tries to make the work of SEO specialists and website owners easier. Individual software may present separate Keyword Difficulty datadepending on what factors are taken into account in the calculations. This indicator is extremely helpful, but it should not be treated as an oracle. This is just a guide to help you choose keywords better when planning your SEO strategy. The meter is useful in particularly competitive industries, because it allows you to select those phrases, the positioning of which may be easier. However, keywords should be selected in such a way that the traffic generated from them leads to conversion. Then SEO will bring not only better visibility, but also tangible benefits expected by the owner of the website.
The Keyword Difficulty metric allows you to develop an optimal SEO plan, the implementation of which will increase the visibility of the website on the web. Proper selection of key phrases is the absolute basis of any strategy, so it is worth spending some time on this issue. Then SEO activities will bring the expected results. Thanks to Keyword Difficulty, even website owners without any practical knowledge of SEO can try their hand at this segment of internet marketing. The indicator makes it much easier to select key phrases to select those phrases that can achieve high positions in organic Google search results in a relatively short time.
Appropriate website structure, errors on the page, correct URL addresses – such issues significantly affect the effectiveness of positioning, therefore the skillful creation of redirects on the website should be one of the important elements of the positioning strategy. However, you should remember about moderation – the lack of redirects is a serious problem, but their excess can also weaken the website. Correctness and optimization of implementation are important in developing User Experience. The smoother, more convenient and easier a given user browses a website, the more time he or she will spend on it and the more likely to return to it. Redirects affect not only website traffic, but conversion as well. Consider online stores – each time a potential customer encounters a 404 error, the chances of it being that he will decide to continue browsing the assortment and the final transaction. It is worth regularly monitoring the operation of the website and checking if all redirects are functioning flawlessly, then we increase our chances of quickly detecting any errors and fixing them before it has a negative impact on the operation and effectiveness of the website.
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