What is Keyword Difficulty in SEO?7 min read

What is keyword Difficulty?

Do you know what is Keyword Difficulty in SEO?

If you are looking for the answer, you are in the right place. 

Keyword research is an integral part of SEO and content marketing.

And there are different terms in keyword research- Keyword Difficulty is a popular one. 

But you may ask, how does keyword difficulty affect SEO? In 2024, does it matter? 

In this blog, we will answer all your questions.

We will discuss the keyword difficulty factors in detail and how they work. 

Before that, look at the overview of what keywords mean in SEO. 

What is Keyword in SEO?


As I’ve said, the keyword is one of the most used words in SEO, and let me start with an exciting factor.

As we discuss the keyword difficulty, let’s find out the difficulty of the word ” SEO Keyword.” 

Any Guess?

Let me give a hint. It’s challenging.

Well, let’s see the result now from SEMRush. 


Keyword difficulty example

Here is how SEMRush Described it: “The hardest keyword to compete for”.

We will discuss it more later. 

However, a keyword is a word or phrase that people search on the internet to ask any question or buy products.


Types of Keywords


As we will discuss the keyword difficulty, you need to know more about the types of keywords.

Considering the search content, we can divide the keywords into four categories : 


  • Informational Keywords
  • Navigation Keywords 
  • Commercial Keywords 
  • Transactional keywords 

There are more types of keywords, considering the length: 

  • Short Tail
  • Long-tail 


To understand keyword difficulty,  you need to understand the short tail and long-tail keywords.

It’s pretty straightforward; keywords with one or two words are considered short-tail keywords. For example – Digital Marketing

This is a perfect example of the short tail keyword. Do you want to see it quicker? 




Look, this type of keyword is called short-tailed keywords.

Targeting this type of keyword is quite tricky.

Should you target the short tail keyword? 

Usually, the answer will be no, but we will also give you some killer strategies to rank on short-tail keywords. 

Now let’s talk about the long-tailed keyword- the most important one.

Three or more words are considered long-tail keywords. 

Chris Anderson popularized the term “long tail” by publishing his book, The Long Tail.

Now let me give you an example: 

SEO strategy 2024 or Digital marketing for business 

Whether your target keyword is short or long, you can appear in the search result when you have a great process. 

There are more types of keywords you need to know. 

What is Focus Keyword? 


Focus keyword or target keyword is the keyword you target to rank in the search result.

When choosing a focus keyword, keyword difficulty is essential to consider.

Of course, you need to define your target keyword considering your topic, not how difficult to rank or keyword competition.

Yet if you do not consider it, the game becomes more challenging, and the chances of ranking decrease.

That’s why we emphasize calculating keyword difficulty.


What is the LSI keyword in SEO? 


LSI keywords or secondary keywords are essential for ranking.

You need to add relevant keywords for the content you are writing about.

Besides, you can also use the related content when you are writing in low volume and low complex content.

You can use the high search volume and serious difficulty keywords as your LSI keywords.

You may also use this pro tip to rank in high-difficulty keywords. 


What is the main purpose of using keywords in SEO? 


Do you know What is the main purpose of using keywords in SEO?

The answer is easy, yet you need deep analysis to understand all aspects.

Please read our article on the main purpose of using keywords in SEO to understand the keyword research process. 


What is Keyword Difficulty in SEO? 


How hard it is to rank a keyword is keyword difficulty in SEO.

To understand it, you have to learn about some phrases like keyword difficulty scores.

Here is the explanation: 

Keyword Difficulty Score 


Now you have understood what keyword difficulty score is.

We have a list of it that every keyword difficulty checker uses.

Check out the list of keyword difficulty scores: 

  • 0-20: Easy to rank

If your keyword difficulty is 0-20, the chances of getting a ranking in this keyword are pretty straightforward.

Usually, this type of keyword does not have much search volume, and of course, they are long-tailed.

Here is a perfect example of a long-tail low difficulty keyword: 

If you ask me What a good keyword difficulty is, I’ll suggest 0-20 because they are straightforward to rank.

However, the next one is also included in the excellent keyword difficulty. 

How to choose a makeup remover

Easy to rank keywords

According to SEMrush, the difficulty score of the keyword is 0, which means it’s the easiest to rank. 

  • 21-49: Medium Difficult 

That means it’s not that tricky; it’s not easy to rank but possible to rank.

To rank, you need good quality content.

Here is an example of it: 

Liquid makeup remover 

possible to rank keywords

According to SEMRush, you will need well-structured and unique content to rank in this keyword. Its difficulty is 45. 

  • 50-79: Difficult 

This type of keyword is hard to rank, and you need backlinks to get indexed along with high-quality content.

Besides this backlink profile, you need it from a high domain authority.

If you want your page ranked, you have to maintain all Ranking factors and lists of Keywords( focus + LSI). 

Facial cleanser 

Hard to rank keywords

Its difficulty is 71%, hard to rank, and you will need 84 high authority referring domains. 

  • 80-100: Very difficult 

These keywords are usually short-tail, and it has a high search volume.

But it’s challenging to rank.

You will need backlinks and high-quality pieces of content.

For example,

detox cleanse 

Very difficult to rank keywords

The Keyword difficulty is 87, which means it’s tough to rank.

It does not only need backlinks; it also needs on-page SEO and content promotion. 


Keyword difficulty Score Checker


You can use different score checkers, and most of them are accurate.

You can use the free tools to check how difficult it is to rank, but they may not always give you accurate data.

Especially when you are looking for a long tail low, competitive keyword, the chances are meager.

You may not find out long-tail keywords so easily.

However, the best free keyword difficulty checker tool is mentioned here: 

  • Google keyword planner 
  • Surfer SEO (Chrome Extension) 
  • Ubersuggest 

To understand keyword SEO difficulty, good SEO tools are a must.

There are good keyword difficulty score checkers, but keyword tools are paid for the accurate result.

It would be best if you used the excellent keyword difficulty checker tools like: 

  • SEMRush
  • Ahrefs 
  • Moz Pro 
  • Long-tail pro 
  • Spyfu

Wrapping Up – What is Keyword Difficulty in SEO?


Understanding SEO keyword difficulty helps a lot in finding a suitable keyword for you.

Some good keywords can be a game-changer for you because they help rank and make sales.

However, as I have mentioned, if you are confident enough that your information will be helpful for users and different, you can choose any keyword.

We suggest relying on keyword difficulty, search volume, and overall keyword competition, but not blindly.

So, don’t waste time calculating keyword difficulty; create quality content- that’s what will help you grow in 2024.

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Sifat Tasnim

Sifat Tasnim is an SEO specialist and Content Marketing Expert. She loves to explore the business and marketing industry and writes about different topics. She is also an undergraduate law student.