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News 6 min read June 9, 2017

How Hard Is It to Rank for Your Desired Keyword? You Can Now Find Out With Our New KD Tool


Elena K.
Editor at Serpstat
You can easily collect a huuuge list of relevant keywords to optimize your website for organic search. But to come up with your perfect step-by-step SEO strategy, it's highly important to assess your chances of getting to the top of SERP for this or that keyword.
Keyword difficulty is a metric designed to give you an idea of how difficult the given keyword is to rank for. Focus on potential traffic you can easily achieve instead of chasing high-volume and high-competition keywords.

US is the first country KD is available for, other databases are coming soon. Keep reading to learn what keyword difficulty is and how do we calculate it.


What is keyword difficulty?

Keyword difficulty is a parameter that shows how difficult it is to rank high for the requested keyword. The higher the KD, the harder is to get to the Google top- 10. The level of KD varies from 0 to 100, where:

0–20 — easy;

21–40 — medium;

41–60 — difficult;

61–100 — very difficult.


How others calculate KD?

There are two common ways to calculate KD.

By analyzing backlinks of top domains

Within the first method, KD is an average value of the number of backlinks every domain in top 10 has. The main disadvantage here is that the entire domain is analyzed instead of a specific page. Thus if some not influential and not relevant page of such trustworthy domain as Wikipedia or Amazon, e.x. is in top-10 of Google SERP, the KD for this keyword will increase.

By analyzing backlinks of top URLs

The second method is based on the number of backlinks every page in top 10 has, where KD is an average value. Sure, backlinks are the crucial ranking factor, but not the only one. That's why this method cannot be considered as a perfect one.


How we calculate KD?

We used the second algorithm as a basis and added several additional metrics to improve its accuracy. Here are all the parameters we consider:

  • Referring Domains — shows the number of domains that refer to the pages of Google top 10;
  • External Backlinks — the number of backlinks pointing to the pages of Google top 10;
  • Serpstat Page Rank refers to the number of backlinks your site got;
  • Serpstat Trust Rank refers to the number of trustworthy and quality backlinks your site got;
  • Domains with the keyword in title — the number of domains that contain the requested keyword in title;
  • URLs with the keyword in title — the number of pages that contain the requested keyword in title;
  • Main pages in SERP — shows how many main pages are in top-10 of SERP.


How we set up the formula?

We took 2 sample groups of keywords (simple and difficult) and manually evaluated level of competition for them. Using machine learning, we assorted the best coefficients that give the most accurate results and match our samples. After that, we took other samples to test the gained results.


In action

To get the KD for the desired keyword, enter it to Serpstat's search bar, and on the overview page you'll see the new KD metric:
To see detailed info, go to Keyword Selection feature and click on the arrow at Keyword Difficulty column.
And here is the data you'll get. As you see all the metrics we use to calculate KD are displayed here:


Ratio of difficult keywords to simple ones

On the graph below, the ratio of the number of the complex keywords to simple ones is displayed. As you see, there are much more simple and low-competition keywords in our database, which is quite logically (the same works with long-tail keywords).
X stands for the KD
Y for the rate of keywords in our database


Examples of simple and difficult keywords

Here are some examples of the most difficult keywords and easiest keywords:
Difficult:

bank — 96.22

insurance company — 96.02

news online — 95.15

children's hospital — 95.13

jobs website — 93.29
Simple:

squid bikes — 0.91

what is a fire truck — 0.74

best place in orlando to live — 0.74

questions on a polygraph test — 0.82

1853 crimean war — 0.91
Here is a great video to help you learn more about this brand new update:
What countries do you want us to add KD metric next for? Share your thoughts in comments.

Don't hesitate to ask, if you have any questions.

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