Keyword difficulty (KD) is just an estimation because Google doesn’t recognize this metric. Many years ago, Google had a similar metric, PR (Page Rank), which showed authority for pages. However, Google eventually changed the policy and hid this metric.
Many SEO experts have differing opinions about the real impact of KD on ranking positions. A few studies show that pages with high KD have more traffic than those with low. It’s up to you whether you believe it or not because there’s no right or wrong answer. Something that works for you might not work for others.
I know webmasters with over a million in traffic who don’t know anything about KD and don’t care about link building that can help increase it, but many webmasters check it out and consider it in their strategies. For me, personally, I check it before creating my content plan. Here is why.
Most websites have limited resources and cover a tiny percent of all relevant keywords. So why not choose keywords with low KD which will definitely improve rankings, rather than focus on the impact of high KD on the ranking positions?
Let me share more about this metric.
Many tools have their estimation of this metric that is related to keyword difficulty or page authority. Moz, Ahrefs, Semrush, Ubersuggest, Majectis, Serpstat, Seranking, and so on provide their measurement and name them differently. You can analyze a few tools if you want, but I usually check out Ahrefs, which many experts list as the most accurate.
KD estimates from 0 to 100, where 0 is the absence of competition and 100 is highly competitive.
I like to put on my content plan keywords from 0 to 20 KD because it doesn’t require aggressive link building, and sometimes it’s not even necessary. Great content, sharing on social media, and interlinking are more than enough for some content. But, of course, a website needs to have some authority to get the impact of internal links.
I’m also always looking to combine low keyword difficulty and high CPC (Cost-per-click) to monetize these keywords.
Prominent and popular websites usually earn backlinks naturally and get these high levels of authority because of interlinking and a loyal audience that shares new pieces of content. Therefore, if the benchmark is strong, then taking keywords from 20 to 50 authority works well for these websites without link building.
It’s tough to get ranking positions for keywords from 50 to 90 and almost impossible from 90 to 100. However, as I mentioned in the beginning, SEO experts have their own views on how it works or doesn’t. Calibrate your KD to what you think would be suitable for your content to satisfy users’ intent.
KD is an estimation of how hard it is to promote keywords. Analyze this metric on most multifunctional SEO tools and check out manually in the top 10; if some websites have low authority but have great content, then that might give you a niche you can fill with your high-quality content.