Keyword Difficulty Scores, What They Are, and How You Can Use Them to Your Advantage


Keyword difficulty score is a number that ranges from 1 to 100 based on how difficult it is to rank for that keyword. The higher the number, the more difficult it will be to rank for that keyword. If you are just starting out in SEO, then knowing which keywords are easier and harder can help you choose which ones to focus your efforts on first. These scores can also give insight into whether or not there is a strategy that would work better than others with this particular set of keywords.

Focusing on keywords with low keyword difficulty scores can achieve faster results with traffic from search engines. However, Keywords with a higher difficulty usually have much higher competition.

There are also keyword tools that will show you the keyword difficulty scores for each keyword. This way, if your goal is to rank as high and quickly as possible you can choose keywords with a low KD score to start off with. You might find it easier to rank in Google’s top ten results or first page of search.

Higher difficulty keywords are still achievable but on a more long-term approach. This process requires more time and effort, and a ton of multiple SEO measures will need to be put into place.

Keyword Difficulty tools have ways of determining how effective a keyword is based on three different aspects: keyword competitiveness, the search volume for that keyword, and how much advertising competition there is. Not every tool is the same, and it’s necessary to use keyword tools that will give you the best results possible.

The keyword difficulty score is a helpful metric

How SE Ranking’s Keyword Difficulty Platform Works

The SE Ranking tool is keyword difficulty score-based, and it takes into account the three aforementioned aspects. The keyword is presented with a ranking from one to 100, and the higher the number, the tougher it is to rank.

The SE Ranking keyword difficulty score system uses a formula based on on-page and off-page Search Engine Optimization factors to determine keyword difficulty.

Difficulty Ranges

  • 0-9 Surefire
  • 10-19 Effortless
  • 20-29 Elementary
  • 30-39 Easy
  • 40-54 Doable
  • 55-74 Difficult
  • 75-89 Challenging
  • 90-100 Impossible

If you are brand new go for low difficulty!

If your site is brand new, more than likely you don’t have the domain authority yet you need to win. So keep it simple, go for those low-hanging fruits and low keyword difficulty scores. You can also compare your domain authority to the sites that are currently ranking for your target keywords. If their site is higher, it’s going to take more than a good page to beat them out.

Competition Research with SE Ranking

When you’re using the SE Ranking Competitor research page tool, You can search a whole domain or the exact URL keyword. This will uncover your competitor’s keywords, what they are ranking for, the difficulty score, and even provide you with the traffic share based on keywords.


Do your research, don’t waste valuable time trying to rank for something hard that’s unachievable in the beginning for you. In the event, you are stuck, reach out to us and we’ll help you with competition research. If you want to rank in some of the toughest niches, competition research may be your best bet.

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