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Serpstat updates 9 min read October 20, 2021

How Hard Is It to Rank for Your Desired Keyword? You Can Now Find Out With Serpstat Keyword Difficulty Tool

How Hard Is It to Rank for Your Desired Keyword? You Can Now Find Out With Our New KD Tool
Elena K
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.
Since we have more countries with available KD metric, we decided to remind you of its features :)

Keyword difficulty (hereinafter "KD") 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.
We've created the Serpstat Website SEO Checker which allows you to find out the key metrics of any site in just a few clicks.
To examine a domain, you don't need to open Serpstat in a new tab - all necessary data is available with one click directly on the site!
Click on the icon and you'll get multiple SEO metrics about a domain or page: visibility, traffic, keywords, top SEO competitors in the region, etc.
Read the post to learn about the benefits of the updated Serpstat checker.

What countries keyword difficulty is calculated for?

Keyword difficulty (KD) reflects the level of competition for a keyword in an organic search. Instead of wasting time tracking down highly competitive keywords that are difficult to rank for, focus on keywords that are guaranteed to bring a lot of traffic to your site. The indicator is calculated for the following Google databases:

  • Ukraine
  • USA
  • Russia
  • Great Britain
  • Sweden
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Mexico
  • Bulgaria
  • Belarus
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • India

But for other countries, the information is updated and pulled up as the Difficulty is calculated, and where you see N/A now, the KD value will appear. I am going to explain how this indicator works below.

    What is keyword difficulty in SEO?

    Keyword difficulty score 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.
    Keyword difficulty

    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?

    Most services calculate the KD based on how many backlinks in the top 10 of SERP websites have. That is, basically, makes Keywords difficulty relying on the number of referring domains and high rated by authority backlinks from competitors.

    We have developed a new algorithm that still contains backlinks, but not only them. The "new difficulty" takes into account other parameters:

    • how often a specific URL from the top is at the analyzed top of SERP for other keywords;
    • what type of keywords these are (commercial or non-commercial);
    • other parameters related to the page itself.
    First, we calculate the difficulty of the page, and then we calculate the difficulty of the keyword.

    For example, we began to take into account the "complexity of the URL," ranked by the purposeful keyword, i.e., how many keywords a page in the top 10 ranks for. If there are URLs at the top that have only a few keywords, then the top for this request is not competitive.

    We also take into account the type of keyword – whether it is commercial or not. When calculating, we use special coefficients to calculate the "commerciality" of the request.

    In total, our algorithm is based on a formula of three indicators:

    • number of backlinks;
    • URL complexity;
    • "commercial/noncommercial" types of requests.

    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.

    How to check keyword difficulty?

    To get the KD for the desired keyword, please use Serpstat's keyword difficulty tool search bar, and on the overview page you'll see the new KD metric:
    Overview in the Keywords report
    To see detailed info, go to Keyword Selection feature and click on the arrow at Keyword Difficulty column.
    Keyword selection, KD

    Ratio of difficult keywords to simple ones

    On the graph below, the ratio of the number of of the high difficulty SEO keywords to low difficulty 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).
    the ratio of the number of the high difficulty SEO keywords to low difficulty
    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:

    bank — 96.22

    insurance company — 96.02

    news online — 95.15

    children's hospital — 95.13

    jobs website — 93.29

    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 Keyword Difficulty and tracking keyword ranking:
    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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