Keyword Difficulty Analysis – Learn How To Find Easy To Rank Keywords!

Keyword research sets the tone for the success of your blog’s SEO.

There are many considerations when looking for the right keywords, but the big question is this:

What’s the difficulty of ranking on the first page of SERPs for a keyword?

That’s what we will solve in this article.

We’ll discuss the concept of keyword difficulty, how to calculate it, and the best tools for the job.

What is Keyword Difficulty?

Keyword difficulty is used to determine how easy or tough a keyword would be to rank for in search engines.

In most SEO tools, keyword difficulty is measured as a score between 1 to 100, 100 being the most difficult.

Below is a visual representation of keyword difficulty according to Mangools’ KWFinder:

KWFinder Keyword Difficulty Scale
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On their scale, keywords with a difficulty score of 50 and above are hard to compete against.

Keywords in the 10s or 20s, on the other hand, provide better ranking odds for the average website.

The takeaway here is simple, really.  

To increase your chances of ranking on top of organic search, go for keywords with low difficulty scores.

These are often long-tail keywords, which have three or more terms.

Some examples arewhat are SEO keywords,” “how to do keyword research,” andbest keyword research tools.” 

Why long-tail keywords?

Despite the low search volume of some long-tail keywords, they are still worth going after.

Remember, you can always optimize a single piece of content for multiple keywords and benefit from their cumulative traffic potential. Not to mention that long-tail keywords have more specific user intent.

Here’s a post where I thoroughly explained the idea behind keyword intent along with some general keyword research tips

Before we get technical, there’s one thing you need to know about keyword difficulty:

It doesn’t tell you the whole story!

Keyword difficulty is a very good metric to help you identify keywords you should target for your blog.

However, you shouldn’t simply look at keyword difficulty ratings and call it a day. To make the best decisions for your blog, you need to know how to look past the numbers. 

That’s why this next section is very important.

How Should You Interpret Keyword Difficulty?

The thing about keyword difficulty is, it’s calculated differently between keyword research tools. Hence, there’s no one way to interpret it. 

You should also consider your own website’s ranking potential when selecting a keyword difficulty range that’s viable to you.

For example, Moz’s difficulty score looks into the page authority and domain authority of first-page results, among other factors.

However, even with this definition, Rand Fishkin admits to variation in how keyword difficulty scores should be interpreted:

Rand Fishkin Keyword Difficulty Explanation
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How Do Tools Calculate Keyword Difficulty Anyway?

To understand how different tools calculate keyword difficulty, let’s use this formula by Long Tail Pro four years ago:

“Keyword Competitiveness (KC) = Page Authority (PA) +/- Page Title +/- Keywords in Domain +/- Length of Domain”

In the formula, there are four different factors involved:

Page Authority

Each site starts with a Page Authority number, which is where the KC number begins. 

Page Authority is essentially a number introduced by that tells you how “authoritative” a certain page is. It takes into account metrics like site age, domain authority, juice page links, social signals, and so on.

Page Title

If the target keyword is in the page’s title, this is a good relevancy signal to search engines.

It’s not as powerful as it once was as a ranking factor. Still, it’s up there as one of the 17 most prominent ones according to SEMrush:

SEMrush SEO Ranking Factors
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If lots of authoritative pages ranking in Google don’t have the keyword in their titles, keyword competitiveness goes down. 

There’s a possibility that you’ll outrank these authoritative pages if you target the exact keyword in your page title. 

Keywords in Domain

Just like with the page title, it used to be a big deal to have keywords in the domain name.

But since brandable domains have become so important, exact or partial match keyword domain names have become less important.

Domain Length

Long Tail Pro’s KC calculation adjusts the score down for domains that are too long.


Because long domain names often look spammy and unnatural, especially if they have keywords stuffed in them.

Again, this is just how Long Tail Pro used to calculate keyword difficulty.

Other similar tools may include or exclude other factors, which lead to different results.

Moving forward…

As you can see, some of the variables Long Tail Pro uses are no longer relevant.

Keep in mind that the KC formula equation was made public in 2015. The tool has recalibrated its formula a year after to reflect the algorithm changes.

Here’s a visual representation of Long Tail Pro’s keyword competitiveness score and the possibility of ranking high on SERPs:

Long Tail Pro Keyword Competitiveness
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In any case, the point I’m trying to make by explaining how keyword difficulty can be calculated is this:

Don’t just rely on the KD provided to you.

When looking at keyword difficulty, there are external and internal factors you need to take into account. 

Sadly, not all of these variables are factored in by the keyword research tool you’re using.

To be sure, use the KD as a barometer to determine the keywords to optimize.

Then, examine the SERPs of the low-competition keyword to help you decide if it’ll be easy to rank for these keywords or not!

We’ll see how to do this in a bit. 

In the meantime, let’s talk about the tools that make checking keyword difficulty a walk in the park.

Best Keyword Difficulty Tools

I’ve covered the best keyword research tools in the market before, so you may want to check it out first. It outlines not only the tools that check keyword difficulty, but also how they can generate profitable keyword ideas.

With that out of the way, below are the best tools on the internet that show precise keyword difficulty ratings:

1. Long Tail Pro

Long Tail Pro is an impressive keyword research tool that you can use to effortlessly find low competition keywords. 

The tool is specifically built for people doing search engine optimization as opposed to people running paid ads.

Long Tail Pro Homepage
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Sure, advertisers can still use it to find low-competition keywords for paid search. However, they won’t be able to take full advantage of Long Tail Pro’s comprehensive toolset.  

With Long Tail Pro, you’ll easily find keyword ideas in bulk based on your desired seed keywords.

Apart from returning several related keywords, the tool will also show you each keyword’s:

  • Monthly search volume
  • Keyword competitiveness
  • Number of words
  • Average advertiser bid
  • Estimated rank value

You can also export your keywords for later use.

Now, let’s quickly see how to find long-tail keywords using Long Tail Pro.

To get started, the first step is to enter your seed keyword and click ‘Retrieve.’

LTP will now generate for you hundreds of related keywords you could target on your blog. 

How to Use Long Tail Pro
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Take note that you can also set the number of suggestions per seed keyword. For now, let’s keep it at “20” to make Long Tail Pro pull in the necessary data faster. 

Look at the screenshot below as an example — I just entered “best running shoes” as my seed keyword:

Long Tail Pro Keyword Suggestions
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Your seed keywords could come from forums, Google Autocomplete suggestions, and Q&A sites like Quora. If you want, you may also pluck seed keywords from Amazon, other sites, and even alternate keyword research tools.

Other than long-tail keyword suggestions, Long Tail Pro also includes valuable keyword metrics for your research.

Of course, each keyword’s keyword difficulty or “Average Keyword Competitiveness” is also included.

Below are the keyword difficulty scores I got from Long Tail Pro:

Long Tail Pro Average Keyword Competitiveness
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You can also sort the results according to Average Keyword Competitiveness. This lets you immediately find the easiest long-tail keyword targets for organic SERP rankings. 

Long Tail Pro Sorting by Keyword Competitiveness
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As you can see, I already have a few long-tail keywords that are potentially not hard to rank for.

Getting distracted by a bunch of numbers? By clicking ‘Customize,’ you can choose which metrics to display and hide on the results page.

Long Tail Pro Customize Results
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Once you’re fully satisfied with the results, use the ‘Export’ button to download a copy of the selected keywords. They will be saved as a CSV file, which can be opened by spreadsheet applications like Excel or Google Sheets.

Long Tail Pro Export Results
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2. KWFinder

KWFinder is one of the best and modern keyword research tools in the market. It has everything you need to find the best keywords based on difficulty.

To use KWFinder, fill in your seed keyword and adjust the other search parameters as you see fit. This includes your target location and language.

How to Use KWFinder
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If you’d rather spy on the keyword strategy of a competitor, switch to the ‘Search by Domain’ tab. 

Instead of a seed keyword, you begin your search by providing the domain or URL of your competitor.

KWFinder Search by Domain
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I did a more in-depth exploration of KWFinder’s features in a previous post. Check it out and claim your 20% discount now — exclusive to Master Blogging readers!

To make our test fair and unbiased, let’s use the same seed keyword on KWFinder. 

Here’s what you’ll see when you enter “best running shoes”:

KWFinder Best Running Shoes
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In my opinion, KWFinder has one of the best user interfaces in the industry.

What I like most about KWFinder are the colorful data visualizations and presentation.  

Keywords are color-coded according to difficulty, which makes it easier to spot low-competition keywords. They also provide a small SERP overview and a detailed traffic pattern for the past years.

With the free plan, you will be able to perform three keyword research and three SERP lookups per day. Each free search is capable of fetching up to 50 related keyword suggestions.

To unlock the full features of KWFinder, you’ll have to upgrade to one of their paid plans.

Looking at the keyword suggestions, here are the keyword difficulty ratings for each idea: 

KWFinder Keyword Difficulty Column
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For more keyword ideas, you can switch your search from “Related Keywords” to “Autocomplete.” Simply click on the ‘Autocomplete’ button on the upper-right corner of the keywords list.

KWFinder Autocomplete Suggestions
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Still not getting the keyword suggestions you want?

In most cases, you need to perform extra steps to remove keyword ideas you don’t need. 

Let’s assume I’m working on an Amazon affiliate website. That means I don’t need keywords with terms like Target, Walmart, or GNC.

We can easily get them off the keyword suggestions using filters.

Simply enable the ‘Filter’ toggle and enter the terms you want to weed out into the “Excluded keywords” field. 

KWFinder Filter Results
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To make sure the results only contain long-tail keywords, set the minimum number of words to three. You can adjust this value in the “Number of words” section. 

KWFinder Minimum Words Filter
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This may be optional, but it can help you filter out some of the very competitive, less useful results.

From my search, I was able to pick a few less competitive keywords, judging by their KD:

  • running shoes for women
  • best trail running shoes
  • most comfortable running shoes
  • cheap running shoes

You can also use KWFinder to find some sweet informational articles that your audience is looking for.

These types of content help build your brand, build links as well as to share some link juice to your money articles.

First, let’s enter “running shoes” as our seed keyword.

Instead of looking at the “Related Keywords” or “Autocomplete” tab, simply click on the “Questions” tab.

KWFinder Questions Tab
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You may notice that the difficulty scores are not shown for to some of the keywords. 

Don’t worry — just click on the magnifying glass icon to get the updated keyword difficulty in a second. 

KWFinder Get Latest KD Score
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The “Questions” tab can also be used to find long-tail keywords with commercial intent. 

For instance, if I enter “best running shoes,” I’ll get a bunch of valuable results from the “Questions” tab like:

  • What’s the best running shoes for bad knees
  • What are best running shoes for plantar fasciitis
  • What’s the best running shoes to buy

Just like with Long Tail Pro, you can also download a copy of your keywords list for future use. You may also add it to a list, which will be saved directly within KWFinder. 

Either can be done by clicking on the ‘Export’ or ‘Add to list’ button under the keyword results.

KWFinder Export and Add to List Buttons
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3. Moz Keyword Explorer

If you’ve been in the SEO circle for some time now, you’ve probably heard someone mention Moz.

It has one of the most elaborate lineups of SEO tools in the industry. 

Yes, it includes a full-blown keyword research tool.

Moz SEO Tools
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Moz Keyword Explorer uses clickstream data, which is gathered through clickstream analysis — the flow of clicks web users make. It also assimilates data from the Google Keyword Planner, like the average search ranges per month and so on.

To use the Moz Keyword Explorer, enter a seed keyword and click the search button — it’s that easy. 

Moz Keyword Explorer Interface
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Similar to the previous tools, you can also get keyword suggestions by entering a domain or URL. Just select “root domain,” “subdomain,” or “exact page” from the drop-down menu on the left. 

Moz Keyword Explorer Options
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Here’s what I got when I searched for “best running shoes” on Moz Keyword Explorer:

Moz Keyword Explorer Results Page
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One thing I love about Moz is how they present their keyword data. It’s contemporary, visually attractive, and clear-cut – you won’t spend a long time figuring it out.

You’ll also notice that, apart from usual metrics like keyword difficulty and search volume, Moz shows a couple more numbers. 

I’m talking about the “Organic CTR” and “Priority” scores for your seed keyword.

Moz Keyword Explorer Extra Metrics
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Organic CTR” measures the likelihood of users to click on organic results. It factors in the presence of featured snippets and ads that inevitably steal attention away from organic listings. 

Priority,” on the other hand, is a metric that takes in everything else to measure a keyword’s overall importance. It looks at the keyword’s search volume, organic CTR, and keyword difficulty to calculate its score. 

Now — let’s look at the other keyword ideas Moz has in store for us. 

Clicking on the ‘See all suggestions’ link, you’ll see a bunch of keyword suggestions conceived from your seed keyword:

Moz See All Suggestions
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Users normally get up to 1,000 keyword ideas from the Moz Keyword Explorer. 

Here’s a peek at the keyword suggestions I got for “best running shoes”:

Moz Keyword Results
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Moz also allows you to filter your search and decide what and what not to include. You can also create keyword groups to reduce visual clutter and make your priority keywords easier to spot.

At the very least, set your preferred keyword traffic range to filter out irrelevant results.

Moz Basic Filters
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Below are the results I got when I selected the “are questions” option:

Moz Keyword Explorer Questions
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For specific terms to include or exclude, create an advanced filter while selecting the right option from the drop-down menu.

Moz Advanced Filters
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Once you’re satisfied with your keywords, you can also export them by clicking the ‘Export’ button.

4. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is one of the best SEO tools out there, and it’s become incredibly popular over the years. 

Like Moz, Ahrefs is an all-around platform that offers domain explorer, content explorer, rank tracker, site auditing tool, and more. 

In terms of digging up those super-low competition keywords, Ahrefs also has the right tools for the job.

The Keywords Explorer interface combines complex data with eye-catching visuals — without getting you overwhelmed. Its difficulty score is based on the number of links to Google’s top 10 pages.

To get started with Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, log into your Ahrefs account and navigate to the “Keyword Explorer” tab. 

There, you can start typing in the seed keywords you want to use in your search. You can also select the search platform you want to target — from Google to foreign search engines like Seznam

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
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So, how did Ahrefs evaluate the difficulty of our example keyword “best running shoes”?

Let’s take a look at Keyword Explorer’s analysis, shall we?

Ahrefs Keyword Research Results
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Apart from the actual keyword difficulty score, Ahrefs also threw in a hot tip right off the bat. 

It predicts that you need at least 47 referring domains to rank on Google’s first page for our keyword. 

This value is calculated from the number of backlinks that the top 10 results already have in their link profile.

Go ahead and scroll down a bit to see the keyword suggestions, which is actually what we’re after:

Ahrefs Keyword Results
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As you can see on the screenshot, we sure have a lot of keywords to analyze — ranging from keywords that:

  • Have the same term
  • Pertain to questions
  • Top domains also rank for
  • Are newly discovered

For the sake of this guide, we’re going to be focusing more on the “having the same terms” section. This will help you get lots of LSI keyword ideas.

We have a total of 21,142 keywords to look at in this section. Click on the ‘View all 21,142’ link to check them all out. 

Ahrefs Keyword List
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Like the other SEO tools we mentioned here, Ahrefs also allows you to filter the results. That’ll make it easier for you to find those jaw-dropping, long-tail keywords. 

As much as I love KWFinder’s filtering options, you have to admire the accessibility of Ahrefs’ filter tool.

Ahrefs Keyword Filters
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As shown above, you can filter by search volume, keyword difficulty, number of words, and SERP features. Of course, you can also set to include or exclude keywords that contain specific terms.

Let’s filter the results to only show keywords with 1,000 monthly searches and less with a maximum difficulty of 30.

And here’s what we’re now left with:

Ahrefs Keyword Filter Results
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We’re now left with a total of 1,514 low-competition keywords — much narrower than the pool of 21,142 keywords earlier. 

I was able to spot a few good ones immediately:

  • best running shoes for knee pain 
  • best lightweight running shoes 
  • best affordable running shoes 
  • best under armor running shoes 

Under the “Keyword Ideas” menu, click on the ‘Questions’ tab to see relevant questions your audience is asking. 

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer Question Suggestions
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5. SEMrush Keyword Difficulty

Unless you’re new in the industry, you’ve undeniably heard of SEMrush and maybe even tried it at some point.  

SEMrush is another all-in-one SEO and marketing analytics tool you can use for keyword research purposes. It even has a tool dedicated to checking the difficulty scores of potential keywords. 

Let me show you how it works. 

After logging into your account, expand the “Keyword Analytics” sub-menu and click ‘Keyword Difficulty.’ This will take you to a page where you enter your keywords and click one button to perform the analysis. 

Keyword Difficulty Tool SEMrush
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Wait a minute — what if you don’t have any keyword ideas to check? 

The good news is, SEMrush also comes equipped with a top-tier keyword research tool. 

This can be accessed by heading to the ‘Keyword Magic Tool’ from the “Keyword Analytics” sub-menu. 

When fully loaded, the next steps should be fairly straightforward. 

On the “Enter keyword” field, type in the seed keyword you want to use and click ‘Search.’ 

If you’re curious about the “New list” drop-down menu, I’ve explained it along with everything else in a previous post. Learn more by reading my ultimate SEMrush review for bloggers.

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
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It’s worth noting that SEMrush has been in the industry for more than a decade now.

As such, their keyword research tool has been a solid favorite of many affiliate marketers, bloggers, and SEOs for years. 

Plugging in “best running shoes,” here are the keyword suggestions that the Keyword Magic tool returned to me: 

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool Results
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Visually speaking, the interface is clean and well organized. It also gives a quick view of the pertinent metrics for each keyword suggestion, like:

  • Volume
  • Difficulty
  • Trends
  • SERP features

With these metrics, it won’t be difficult for you to find the low-competition keywords you’re looking for. 

If you need more data, you may want to visit the “Keyword Overview” page. 

Just enter your target keyword in the main search bar and click ‘Search.’ Be sure to select “Keyword Overview” on the drop-down menu to the left as you do so. 

SEMrush should supply you with more insights along with phrase match and related keywords: 

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
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Click on the ‘View full report’ button to reveal the keyword suggestions and their KD scores. 

Keyword Magic Tool KD Column
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At this point, we should now have enough keyword suggestions for the Keyword Difficulty tool.

Up to 100 keywords can be evaluated at a time, but let’s start nice and easy with just five.

Here are the keywords I’ve entered: 

  • running shoes
  • best running shoes
  • shoes for running
  • best running shoes for women
  • best shoes for running
SEMrush Keyword Difficulty Tool
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The results? 

Well, have a look for yourself: 

Keyword Difficulty Tool Results
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In the SERP Features section, you can easily see which features — if any — are triggered on your keywords’ results pages.

These details will help you to determine more opportunities of getting more organic traffic. Just consider the relevance of each SERP feature for your website before you start optimizing for them. 

Lastly, you can also export the result by clicking the ‘Export’ button. 

Click this link to experience SEMrush with a 30-day trial.

Verifying Keyword Difficulty Using SERPs

Let’s say you already have a list of low-hanging fruit keywords using your preferred keyword research tool.

Does that mean you’re ready to optimize for them on your blog?

Not quite.

As mentioned earlier, the keyword difficulty score only tells you half of the story.

To find out the other half, you have to get your hands dirty and scout out the competition yourself. 

Yes — that means inspecting the top 10 organic pages for your keyword.

Analyzing each page using different SEO metrics will help you uncover information that you won’t see just by looking at the keyword difficulty.

For instance, let’s say you have a keyword with a difficulty score of 50 and above. In which case, tools like Ahrefs may suggest building over a hundred links to rank on Google’s first page. 

Seems reasonable, right? 

If you check the top 10 results, you may find a domain or two with far fewer backlinks than the rest.

Allow me to elaborate with an example. 

Using Ahrefs to find “outlier” pages

Ahrefs is one of the most popular SEO tools and SEMrush alternatives online. It also has one of the most trusted keyword difficulty scoring systems, so let’s put that to the test.

Entering “how to write a blog post” on the search bar reveals that it has a KD score of 57.

Below this is Ahrefs clearly stating that you’ll need 113 referring domains to rank on the first page.

Ahrefs How to Write a Blog Post
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However, when you look at the SERP overview, things get a bit more interesting. 

The 4th organic listing, despite having less linking domains, ranks higher than the 5th and 6th pages.

Both of which have 95 and 147 referring domains, respectively — higher than the 4th page’s 28.

Also, the 7th organic page, despite having only 22 referring domains, still ranks on the first page. 

Ahrefs Organic Listings
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So as valuable as backlinks are for SEO, it doesn’t really show you the whole picture.

You may be thinking, those pages must have higher domain ratings than the rest.” 

Although each of these websites’ DR is within the same range, observe the 2nd organic page’s DR metric. 

Yep — it has the lowest of the top organic results. 

Nevertheless, it’s still ranking pretty high up there. 

Taking all factors into consideration, the 4th page from OptinMonster has the lowest metrics of the top organic results. 

If these numbers paint the whole picture, then why is OptinMonster ahead of the 5th, 6th, and 7th pages?

Ahrefs Organic Listings Metrics
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That makes the post the outlier of the SERP. So, it’s your duty to understand what makes this post works.

Check it out and look at its on-page elements, such as:

  • The content’s word count
  • Visual content (infographics, videos, animations, and so on)
  • Internal and outbound links
  • Keyword placement
  • LSI keywords
  • Meta data 
  • Page loading speed
  • Overall website’s design

By writing quality content that matches the top pages, you can get a fighting chance to reach Google’s first page. Just don’t reach too far and make sure your potential competitors’ domain ratings are in the same ballpark as yours.

Finally, check your would-be competitors’ backlink profiles.

Clicking on the value under the “Domains” column will take you to the referring domains page. 

Ahrefs Backlink Sources
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On the “Link type” drop-down menu, select “Dofollow” to display links that affect the page’s SEO rankings. You will see that OptinMonster’s page has links from very authoritative sites.

Ahrefs Dofollow Link Filter
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At the end of the day, it’s not about the quantity of backlinks — it’s more about the quality. 

That’s why keyword difficulty ratings from tools that rely on backlink count can be unreliable.

On your end, you have to determine whether or not you can acquire backlinks from the same sites. If not, find alternative sites with comparable domain authorities.

Using MozBar

MozBar is a free Chrome extension made by Moz that lets you extract valuable information from SERPs for your keywords.

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To use MozBar, all you need is a Moz account — just sign up, and you should be good to go.

Once you have the MozBar working, go to Google and search for your target keyword.

You should spot a couple of new things on the SERP. In addition to the organic listings, the MozBar extension also displays the number of backlinks for each page. 

Let’s do something different this time and search for “how to write a blog post”:

SERP with MozBar
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The information is limited given that you’re not subscribed to the paid version of Moz, but this should do. 

To help you compare the results much better, export the results into a CSV file. You can do this by clicking the ‘Export SERP Analysis to CSV’ button on the MozBar. 

MozBar Export Data
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After a few formatting changes, this is what your CSV file may look like: 

MozBar CSV Report
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To analyze the results, you need to check the following: “Page Authority, Domain Authority, and Backlinks.

According to the data, ThemeIsle has the lowest combined PA/DA out of the top pages for the keyword.

In fact, it has way fewer links compared to the top-ranking domains, namely HubSpot and WordStream. 

That means ThemeIsle must be doing something special to make its way into Google’s first page.

Going back to the SERP, click on ThemeIsle’s page and run the MozBar. From there, click on the ‘Page Analysis’ button to get a good look at the page’s on-page elements. 

MozBar Page Analysis
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Some of the elements you can inspect are the page’s meta description, keywords, image alt text tags, and so on. You can access more information like their page load time, DA, PA, and markup elements by navigating to different tabs. 

MozBar Additional Information
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Using MozBar is a good alternative to a keyword research tool if you don’t have the cash for premium ones.

Even if you have a paid keyword tool, adding MozBar should help you validate your keyword choices even further!

So, Does Keyword Difficulty Matter?

Short answer: heck yeah!

Longer answer: At best, keyword difficulty is a good measure to help you narrow down your target keyword pool.

Once you’ve extracted the keywords based on keyword difficulty, the next step is to manually examine the top 10 results. This will help you understand the kind of content you need along with the on-page elements you should include.

If you have any questions or suggestions based on what you read, feel free to leave a comment below. I’m looking forward to your input!

Keyword Difficulty Frequently Asked Questions

What is Keyword SEO Difficulty?

The SEO difficulty score measures how hard it is to rank for any given keyword. In most tools, keyword difficulty is measured on a scale of 1-100.

What is a good keyword difficulty score?

This depends on the overall ranking potential of your website and the tool you’re using. For example, if you use Mangools’ KWFinder, the highest keyword difficulty range new bloggers should go for is 30-49. SEMrush users, on the other hand, should target a maximum keyword difficulty of 60.

How to check keyword difficulty?

There are tools you can use to check a keyword’s difficulty rating like SEMrush, Serpstat, Ahrefs, KWFinder, SpyFu, and Keyword Revealer.

How to rank for competitive keywords on Google?

To rank for competitive keywords, focus on creating quality content, build high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites and make your blog’s technical SEO strong.

Keyword Difficulty
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  1. Wow! Ankit, what an awesome article you have put forward.

    I appreciate the fact that you’ve put in front of us an interesting new topic that most of us had no idea about.

    Really as a normal consumer, I thought Google as a site to search something we want, you just changed my perception by letting us know that it is a tool to analyse our competition.

    I’m very fond of both the other tools, Keyword Inspector and SEMRush… I’m more inclined towards using SEMRush as I can search in bulk for all my keywords.

    Would be glad if you could come up with such articles all the time.

    You’ve just raised the bar for Indian bloggers in term of researching a topic and writing such a detailed article.

    Have a great day!

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Hi Abhishek,

      Thanks a lot for your value adding comment. I really appreciate your kind words.

      Every blogger must know about the keyword competition and that’s why I tried to share my thoughts about it. I hope this article will help many other bloggers to do effective keyword research.

      We all use Google as search engine only but for blogger and internet marketers it’s a great tool which shows the details of our competitors. I really like Google suggestion feature which shows really profitable keywords in instant search and at the end of every search results too. I always include those keywords into my articles. It makes my content more keyword rich that helps in better ranking. What do you think about it?

      You said it right bro. Nothing can be better than SEMrush. All the tools it offers are incredible and I don’t hesitate to say that I’m happy SEMrush user. BTW, What you like the most about SEMrush?

      I’ll always try to come up with more interesting topics and helpful guides.

      Thanks for your appreciation and your presence here means a lot to me. Keep sharing your views bro.

      Have a great weekend.

      Best Regards,
      – Ankit

  2. Thanks for giving this useful info.

    I am using Google keyword planner and long tail pro to find better keyword for my articles.

    I want to know that how much density of keyword is needed into article for better SEO.

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Hi Krunal,

      I prefer to keep keyword density under 1-2% but it really doesn’t matter if you write naturally. Don’t think about keyword density much. You must focus on providing useful stuff to your audience and write the content naturally.

      Thanks for talking about Long tail pro. I heard a lot about this tool but haven’t tried it yet. Would you please share your experience of using Long tail pro for keyword research?

      Thanks for your comment.
      – Ankit

  3. Hi Ankit Bro,

    This was really a nice article !! Keyword selection is the most difficult work in the entire blogging process, this i feel. If you select the good keyword, your more than 60% works get done else this lead to failure too.

    You’ve mentioned few great tips here like use the chrome in Incognito mode and allintitle. These methods were new to me and i’ll definitely use those. I have bookmarked this article for further reading too.

    Thanks for sharing this.


    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Hi Ashutosh,

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your presence here.

      You are right about the keyword selection. If you don’t know how to find the profitable keywords for your business, then you really can’t expect success. If you have the information then you must also target the right keywords to reach that information to the right people. Whole Internet marketing is the game of effective keyword research only.

      Using chrome in incognito windows helps to get the exact search results without personalized results. I like to use allinurl and allintitle functions because it helps a lot in competition analysis.

      It seems that you have good knowledge about keyword research. I would really like to know from you how you find your targeted keywords? Please share your knowledge here.

      Thanks for all of your support. Keep visiting 🙂

      Best Regards!

  4. Hi Ankit,

    I can say no bigger a word than this that I have bookmarked the post for future references..Its a wonderful post with great insights to finding the keyword difficulty level with the free and perfect tool “the Google keyword planner”.

    I liked the way finding the best keywords by using special functions like allinurl and allintitle..this is an aspect I had not considered anytime soon and I guess most bloggers too will agree with me.

    This has been a easy tutorial to keyword difficulty analysis using keyword planner too tool.

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Hey Swadhin,

      Thanks so much for bookmarking the page. I really appreciate it.

      Google keyword planner can be used for various purposes like I mainly use it to find secondary keywords for my articles. It gives clear insight on what search terms people use to find a particular topic. I use those terms into my articles which helps me to reach my information to the people who are hungry for that.

      Allinurl and allintitle functions really help to do effective competition analyse. I always do it and also recommend others to use it. Do let me know which method you actually use to find your profitable keywords? Do you check keywords difficulty or not? If not, then start doing it from now 😉

      I’m glad that you liked this article. Thanks for being here.
      – Ankit

  5. Ankit, it worth giving your time to make such wonderful piece of good length will definately help newbies to follow the right path to take up their personal blogs 🙂

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Yes, it took a lot of time to craft this post and I’m glad that you liked it.

      BTW, how do you check keywords difficulty? Do let me know, Nitin.


  6. Great Analysis for keyword difficulty previously i was using keywordrevealer now just subscribed to semrush now i’ll also have premium gold keywords 😀

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Hey Shreya,

      Thanks for letting me know about KeywordRevealer. I have never used it before. Hopefully I’ll check it now.

      Would you please share your experience of using KeywordRevealer?

      I’m glad to know that you subscribed to SEMrush. Make effective use of it and best of luck for everything 🙂

      Best Regards,
      – Ankit

  7. Harish Bali says:

    I agree with your point of view completely that a well thought out key word research strategy can do justice to ranking. Useful tips and methods shared by you for people like me and many others out there, who have AON of less than a year or 2 years.

    Appreciate your insight into the whole thing…

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Glad, you liked it 🙂

  8. Hey Ankit,
    Thanks for such an informative guide. I’m using SEMrush from last one month and all i can say, it’s amazing. It’s a must tool for every blogger. Thanks for Keyword Inspector, i just checked it and found I’m ranking Ist page of It’s very helpful to check ranking of keyword in a particular region.

    Keep doing the awesome work.


    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Hi Brian,

      I’m glad to know that you use SEMrush. Surely it’s a must tool for every serious blogger.

      It’s great that you are ranking well in search results. Keep doing your great work and best of luck for your future projects.

      Best Regards!
      – Ankit

  9. Hey Ankit !

    It’s first time I’m here and believe me you have got one more loyal reader. It was quite impressive and very informative post. I have used all of these three methods. Google Keyword Planner is no doubt best keyword research tool which offers many premium like features at the cost of nothing but one is required to have all those skills to use it effectively.

    However, I often have doubt over the authenticity of Keyword Inspector and I don’t think its worth your time. But when it comes to SEMRush, it is definitely one tool that can help you rule in SEO world.

    Coming back to post, all I can say that it was something of quality that I expect from many bloggers but rarely get it at other places.

    Thanks for sharing ! 🙂

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Hey Rahul,

      Welcome to my blog and I’m glad you liked the content.

      I’m also a great fan of Keyword Planner tool and I use it all the time for keyword research. You said it right that one must know how to make effective use of it. It’s always into my favorite tools list.

      I talked about keyword inspector to let my audience about the various possible methods to check keyword difficulty. However I always recommend SEMrush to every serious blogger or internet marketer. I’m personally using it and believe me it’s worth every penny.

      BTW, which of these 3 tools you use the most to check your keywords difficulty and what mainly you like about that particular tool? I prefer Keyword planner and SEMrush both. What about you?

      Thanks for your appreciation. Keep visiting 🙂
      – Ankit

  10. Reginald Chan says:

    Hi Ankit,

    Well done my friend. Okay I really dig into your method 1. Haha! Smart 🙂

    SEMrush is a no brainer for those who are serious in putting SEO in front. That’s period!

    Other than that, you should consider Scribe by CopyBlogger. It works like SEMrush but with a twist. It checks your whole website.

    Pros and cons.

    Other than that, good stuffs man!

  11. Gaurav Gupta says:

    Very informative Article … Great Analysis for Keyword . I want to ask one thing how to find High CPC keywords . any Tool ??

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Many great tools are there in the market but I found SEMrush the best.

  12. Hi Ankit, it was a nice and informative article. I really appreciate your effort in writing such a clean and detail article. Good Job, Keep it up !

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Thanks Mohammad. Keep visiting for more articles 🙂

  13. Hi Ankit

    Really learnt a lot. I have never heard of the concept called Keyword difficulty. You made the concept easy to grasp and the methods were so great.

    There are lot of keywords that are highly competitive and difficult for people to rank among the first to searches so this will be a good resource to use such tactics to rank well on google. Thanks for sharing

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Hi Ikechi,

      Welcome to my blog and I’m glad that you liked the article.

      Knowing keyword difficulty is very important for any online business. One can’t simply target any keyword without checking its difficulty first. This is the first and most important step of success for bloggers or internet marketers to rank high in search results.

      Thanks for your comment, Ikechi and keep visiting.

      – Ankit

  14. FINDING PERFECT KEYWORDS…these are the words a common blogger is asking to every SEO geek today. And even after explaining them correctly, their questions doesn’t end and from now, your guide is gonna be my prime reference. The simplicity with which you’ve presented these methods, I can say that you’re definitely the future Darren Rowse! 😛

    Hope my appreciation is admired!


    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Thanks for the honor Divyansh. It means a lot to me. 😀

  15. This is what I was trying to see some where on site, Today I find it out anyway on you site. Today I came to know about how to write good keyword. You talk about importance of keyword. How can you analyze the keyword for page using tools. This article help me in and out in writing the keyword for any web pages. Now I am good follower of your site. I am trying all your tips and trick to apply on my site.

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Glad, you liked the content. Keep visiting! 🙂

  16. Kidambi Badri says:

    OMG! What a tutorial Ankit. Simply superb. I have done this exercise several times in the past while helping a few corporate to find a domain name. At that time, they simply laughed at me and chose a domain name that satisfied their ego or decided on a name that was poetically beautiful but nonetheless not search engine optimized.

    This blog post should be seen by the so called SEO pros who have flashy websites but does not offer a single clue that they are SEO professionals. There are many such SEO companies in Nelson Manickam road in Chennai and several in Bangalore.

    Keep up your excellent blogging Ankit. Cheers.

  17. Hi Ankit,
    Really great article about Keyword Research, I was using Google Keyword Planner for this purpose.
    Thanks for writing and sharing such awesome and clean post.

    Thanks & Regards~
    ~Ajit Kumar~

  18. Idrees Khan says:

    Thanks Ankit Brother, Before i always used keywordrevealer and that shows very less results if we used keyword difficulty option. But now I will try keyword inspector of learn2rank. Thanks once again .

  19. Brilliant article @Ankit,

    By sharing this detailed article related to “Keyword Difficulty” you solved the problems of all bloggers who were facing the problem to find appropriate keyword to rank. Thanks a lot for sharing this awesome tutorial with us. Keep helping 🙂

  20. Hey bro,
    How do you make professional looking blog post images how do you add perfect arrows ??? What tool you use to make blog post images & add text ???

    Waiting for reply eagerly,

    Issac paul

  21. Apoorv Agrawal says:

    Hey! Ankit you got another cool yet useful stuff ! Well this was something unknown to me totally I’d no clue if this also exist never paid such heed while creating content but now I will for sure.

    Also the results in url title and text were far apart now i come to know how actually SEO works as this thing can also been seen in any of your article how smartly you make use of keywords and eliminate the difficulties !

    Happy Blogging 🙂

  22. I don’t do Keyword research Much but I target the future keywords which are going to be Searched. So prediction of keywords is also an importan factor in Keyword research.

  23. Hey Ankit!

    Thanks for this superb and helpful post.

    You mentioned almost every way to find the perfect keyword: beginners, intermediate and for professionals. I loved semrush, but can’t use it due to lack of money. But loved the finding the perfect keywords from Google, will try on that.

    Thanks bro.

  24. Hi Ankit,

    Great post on keyword research. I personally used SEMRush for a while and I’m impressed with their statistics for finding profitable keywords.

    My main tip is to focus on finding LSI keywords to outrank your competitors instead of finding keywords that are really difficult to rank for. You’ve crafted the post perfectly for newbies.

  25. Thanks for the great post Ankit, My all doubts for keyword Difficulties are clear now..
    I was using SEMRush premium Subscription but renewed this time, as even without any Paid soft one can find his exact Ranking keyword by your given Guide.

    Keep it Up bro 🙂

  26. i have lots of confusion about keyword research and how to effieciently use them for your website article. you cleared all of my doubts.
    Thanks so much.

  27. Yes, you are right . sometime keywords are really create confusion in Google adwords. Last month i am getting leads through some basic health keywords but this month there is huge competition. Is there is any method to back in the market or high bid is the only option for this?

  28. Hey! undoubtedly this one is a perfect post to understand keyword difficulty! Pleasure to read the entire article!

  29. I am really struggling to filter the low competition keywords but, it takes time even sometimes, I use high competition keywords because of time. Right now, You have introduced a new tool keyword inspector, which saves time of mine and help to find more low competition keywords.

    thanks for your sharing.

  30. It’s a perfect blog that Defines How to Do Keyword Search for your Organic Rank

  31. Syed Mushahid Hussain says:

    dear bro this is very helpful info for new bloggers most of new bloggers don’t know these things thank you for this.

    Bro my question is that I am new blogger and which of these methods should I use?

    Syed Mushahid

    1. Ankit Singla says:

      Kindly follow the complete tutorial to get best results.

  32. Tonmoy Parves says:

    Hello Ankit Bro,

    Thanks a lot for this great article. Really by reading your this one article just the learn points about keywords research. Honestly as a newbie blogger before read your this article i was just trying to target only the high search volume keywords and i never check anything like this That’s why i never rank with keywords.

    BTW, Have you checked Long Tail Pro? I read an article about Long Tail Pro that if the KC (Keywords competitor) less then 30 , then we can able to rank the keywords easily.. I am trying to doing Affiliate niche blogging that’s why asking this question. Hope, you will answer

    Happy Blogging. Have a Good Week End

  33. Hi Ankit,

    Very informative article, just what I was trying to find for hours on google, now I got a idea what is this all about. I was completely unknown to all this thing. I am new to blogging, having least idea of keyword research and keyword difficulty level. I made a complete blog with 91 articles without keyword re-searching a single keyword and was wondering why website is not ranking.
    This blog in very informative.
    I have not purchased any tool like SEMRUSH or any SEO tool, but if things workout, I will buy. I have bookmarked your blog and will read more often.
    Hope will learn more things and I must say you are doing a great thing by helping new bloggers.

  34. Hey Ankit,

    I must say this is the most elaborate and the best article about finding long tail keywords. I have been struggling a lot with Long tail keywords as everyone out there was trying to push SEMrush and for most newbies with budget constraint that is not always the perfect idea

    Many bloggers did point out about Google Auto Suggest feature, however, those were not as elaborate as yours.

    I usually do not write such long comments. But yes i had to really thank you for this article.

    Thanks a lot.

  35. Hi Ankit,

    Thanks a lot for this lovely article. However i have a question for you. In this era of competition there’s most popular keywords are too competitive for beginners to rank for. So what should be an ideal strategy for Beginners? Use the lesser popular keywords with very less searches per month or select a popular keyword and use other techniques to drive traffic?

  36. This blog post should be seen by the so called SEO pros who have flashy websites but does not offer a single clue that they are SEO professionals. There are many such SEO companies in Nelson Manickam road in Chennai and several in Bangalore.

  37. Great post @Ankit!

    I am actually looking for a reliable keyword difficulty tool that can be used to bulk check a large number of keywords.

    Moz does offer one but it cost quite a bit and has 200 words daily limit.

    Do you happen to know a good alternative?

  38. Hi Ankit,

    I must say it’s a very informative post and worth the time. The way you explained and presented the keyword difficulty process is quite appreciable.

    I mostly use the first method which is a manual method because it help me to do in-depth research of keyword difficulty. Though I’m using Semrush too but you can’t figure much about Keyword difficulty.

    If you’re using Senrush regularly, you find out the problem with it accuracy. I mean, if manual method result out any keyword as difficult then you’ll find those keyword in SemRush as easy.

    More importantly, you won’t find detail of most long tail keyword in Semrush. I’ve struggled a lot in researching such metrics.

    While,Keyword Inspector is concern, it’s bit slow, you can take a cup of coffee till the result is out. But, you can’t expect much from free tool. Here, also I found problem with its accuracy.

    I also want to add one more thing to an article, that is title competition or difficulty which you can get by using exact search. It’s also one of the factor to rank an article.

    Have you tried any other tools for keyword difficulty or come up with any other research, please let me know

    Thanks for your wonderful article!


  39. SEMrush is too expensive for me. Any idea about Kwfinder and its performance and accuracy?

  40. Hello Ankit,

    Thanks for this post. Very informative and useful. As some of the have already commented, I wasn’t that aware of the importance of keywords but this post has really helped me understand that. Just so that you know that I have bookmarked this page for future reference.

    On the other hand I signed in with Learn2Rank and tried the keyword inspector but on clicking submit button nothing comes up. I tried with many keywords but nothing came up. Initially I thought it might be the browser problem so tried with IE, Chrome and Firefox but got the same result. Any idea why?

  41. Also so that you know, looks like SEMrush don’t give 30 day free trial anymore. I registered but only got to do 10 keywords and then it prompts for the pay option 🙁

  42. I’d suggest to not try for a keyword where ‘Results with allintext’ is 50% more than the ‘Total Results’. In our case the percentage is 460%, so it’s better to avoid working on this keyword.

    IN the above statement using google operators ….how to calculate the percentage of allintext results with total results.

  43. Loved that you mentioned LSI words. They are becoming more and more important for good on-page SEO and so many people don’t even think about them. I also wanted to mention there are other free plugins like Moz bar which will show you link and URL metrics for the 1st page Google results which will also help asses the difficulty. All in all great read!

  44. Method 1 was really useful and realistic… Since method 2 is also free, it would be easy for every one to have a try. Since, most good tools are premium, I was in confusion which tool to select for this, because, once bought, then if it is not giving result, we ended with loosing everything. So far, I was just using SPYFU. Thanks for the article.

  45. Hi Ankit,

    Thanks for this info it is really helpful, I don’t know much about keyword Research but recently I Published an article related to “Flipkart EID Offers” for few hours it stayed in the first page but after some time it is drop down to second page. Can u give me any suggestions for this..?

    Thanks again.. 🙂

  46. Hi Ankit,
    Here really nice article with keyword difficulty. I have one doubt from the third method you just mentioned about SEMRush tool right. Within that how can i access without furnishing details of my credit card and all.??Because i wanna to check within that how much efficient was that.

    And you told also Keyword Difficulty, Keyword Research, Competitors Analysis and helps finding Backlink Opportunities. How can you tell that the backlink opportunities. Can you please explain me….

  47. With all those paid software’s in the market doing just this, these methods
    (Google) seems to be the best way to search for relevant keyword giving more information compared to any paid software.

    Great post Ankit, you are the first one to be offering such important and useful trade secrets in SEO which most tend to hide from everyone. Thanks will keep try all the methods and update you with the results.


    Hi Ankit,
    Nice article for new bloggers lots of information on keyword Analysis. I am also a blogger, i am searching for these type of post to get my blog to give better performance. Can you tell me how to get backlinks to my website.

    Thank you very very much………………

  49. Jagadish Prasad B says:

    Hello ankit, Here its jagadish. I am been searching for keyword analysis from few days back. Finallye reached your blog, i will try as you says. but i have one question, i recently added my website to self-hosted wordpress site, but i dont know how to add subdomain in it. So , please help me if you know the solution. Thanks a lot for your support.

  50. Gaurav Saini says:

    Hello Ankit

    I’m searching for the same and thankfully it’s a free method so new bloggers like me take some advantage from this article without investing money in their starting phase. I’m always struggling for the low competition keyword let’s see if this method works for me.

    Thanks for sharing with us…..

  51. Thanks a lot Ankit. For past few days, I was trying hard to find a proper method to determine the keyword difficulty of a keyword and finally landed on this page. Thanks for writing such detailed article. It solves so many doubts I had in my mind.

  52. Hi Ankit,

    As you said that in your article

    “I’d suggest to not try for a keyword where ‘Results with allintext’ is 50% more than the ‘Total Results’. In our case, the percentage is 460%, so it’s better to avoid working on this keyword.”

    But i tried so many keyword in “allintext” . All the search results are 400-500% than total results. What to do plz advice.

  53. Hi Ankit
    Great post

    Question regarding this part:

    According to my experience, keywords with than or nearby ‘Total Results’ of 1,000,000 has good possibility for ranking on the 1st Page.

    If ‘Results with allinurl’ and ‘Results with allintitle’ are less than or nearby 1000 then you have high chances of ranking on the 1st page with a 2000+ words in-depth blog post

    So to clarify, if a keyword’s ‘results withallinurl’ and ‘results withallintitle’ are less than 1000 but total results are well over 1,000,000 then I should probably not target that key word right?

  54. Very informative post.
    I was not aware of this concept of “keyword difficulty.” But, you have explained the topic in detail and easy to understand language.
    I personally feel this post is going to be of great help to me for my future posts.
    Thanks for sharing.

  55. Hi Ankit

    Thanks for sharing the valuable content. DO you think there is data discrepancy with tools that shows keyword difficulty score i.e semrush and ahref has different data?

    which tool you prefer according to your experience?

  56. Hi Ankit,

    Great post!

    I really liked the tips for using Google search operators to determine keyword difficulty.

    SEMrush is a great tool as you have mentioned but not everyone can afford it.

    What is the method you personally like the most out of the 3 you have mentioned in your post?

  57. Hey Ankit,

    Great stuff man. Finding an easy to rank keywords isn’t that difficult but for finding it we need the right tool for it like SEMrush and Ahrefs. I prefer to go with LSI keywords as they are specific and more selective that really helps in ranking easily on the SERPs.

    By the way, in your post, I have found some amazing tips on finding easy to rank keywords.
    Thanks for sharing this post.

  58. Keyword difficulty is a real thing and I use KWfinder and Ahrefs to find the keyword difficulty and currently working on some long tail keywords with 20-40 difficulty.

  59. Hi Ankit thank you so much you cleared my mind about keyword difficulty earlier I was bit confused between kc and keyword difficulty by ahrefs and I really like that formula.

  60. “Amazing” is the word that describes this piece. Loaded with lots of information and tips.

    I personally use Mozbar bit with the free account. I will appreciate that you consider writing some thigh for me around this tool.

  61. Thanks for this useful information about keyword analysis.

  62. Hello, Ankit thanks to you now I can search keyword easily and correctly, thanks for sharing this informative article, keep sharing

  63. Hello Ankit and congratulations, i believe you have covered most of the techniques and tools for this use. Personally i have used only Moz and Google Keyword planner, for this purpose, but will gladly try out some of the tools you have highlighted here. Thank you for another high quality post!

  64. Hey,
    This is a Great Article. Thanks For Sharing This Information.

  65. Thanks for your nice post.

    DO you think there is data discrepancy with tools that shows keyword difficulty score i.e semrush and ahref has different data?

    which tool you prefer according to your experience?

  66. Thanks a lot Ankit. For past few days, I was trying hard to find a proper method to determine the keyword difficulty of a keyword and finally landed on this page. Thanks for writing such detailed article. It solves so many doubts I had in my mind.