What is Keyword Difficulty and How to Use in Your Content Strategy

Proven methods for appropriately calculating a keyword difficulty score and applying it to overall SEO efforts.

Keyword Difficulty

Choosing the right keywords to target is just as important as designing eye-catching photos or coming up with a catchy URL if you want to run a successful website. Webmasters employ a variety of tools and strategies to determine which keywords are worth targeting and which are not. The keyword difficulty score is by far the most prominent of these. It is critical that you choose just low-scoring keywords, because the greater the rating, the more difficult it is to target and exploit that particular keyword efficiently.

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What exactly keyword difficulty is, and why should you be concerned about it?

When it comes to SEO metrics, keyword difficulty is one of the most fundamental — a rating that tells you how difficult it would be to target and optimize your webpage for a given keyword. In other words, the higher the score, the more difficult it would be to obtain respectable results while concentrating on a specific keyword. This also indicates that it would be more difficult for you to triumph against the competition and attract new customers to try out your items. As a result, when executing an SEO campaign, you should aim to target the keywords with the lowest search volume.

But why is this so?

A high-ranking keyword indicates that a large number of your competitors are actively attempting to rank for that keyword, which indicates that achieving decent results for a smaller, independent website would be difficult due to intense competition and the fact that opponents may very well have better SEO teams. However, ranking for a highly-rated keyword may be advantageous in the future, when you have established domain authority and your site appears in a respectable place in the Google Search Results rankings, but it is not recommended for novices to do so. Instead, strive to rank for lower-rated alternatives that nonetheless offer adequate skills and can keep you in the top positions for a longer length of time. In due course, you’ll be able to concentrate on more complex, higher-rated keywords, and if all goes according to plan, you’ll be able to enter the big leagues and try your hand at ranking for the highest-rated, most sought-after keywords currently available.

There are a variety of methods to exploit keyword difficulty to your advantage, but I’ll focus on the five most essential ones in this article.

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1. Search for long-tail keywords

Begin by focusing on lower-ranking, lengthier keywords that may contain the shorter one in their content. Despite the fact that such long-tail keywords receive a smaller amount of searches, they can still be incredibly advantageous, particularly for specialized firms or websites that cater to a specific and identifiable user demographic. It will also be easier to rank for them because they have a lower keyword difficulty than the other keywords.

It will be difficult for your website to simply rank for popular, “hot” keywords unless it has established the required authority. Attempting to rank for long-tail keywords that contain higher-rated phrases within them, on the other hand, may yield positive results. This will result in a much increased likelihood of converting those who are randomly browsing your website into repeat consumers.

2. Start with lower-volume options

As a starting point, look for terms with difficulty ratings less than 50. Make your approach a little more paced and subtle, and only attempt to rank for the higher-rated keywords when you are confident that the quality of your site content equals the quality supplied by the websites that are normally targeting the large keywords.

Of course, each website is unique, but the Internet is today so densely filled with websites on virtually every subject imaginable that you simply cannot expect yours to skyrocket in popularity simply because you selected a popular search term. As a matter of fact, the sheer amount of more recognizable options would almost certainly cause users to completely disregard your site. As a result, devote the first few months to creating its most important parts, ensuring that it corresponds to your vision, and refraining from being overly aggressive when selecting new keywords to target. Rather than fully disappearing into the unending emptiness of previously undiscovered sites, it is preferable to achieve moderate but consistent expansion over the long term.

3. Keep the user’s intent in mind at all times.

Before attempting to rank for any particular keyword, it’s critical to gain a thorough understanding of your website’s audience and its requirements — at least well enough to be reasonably confident that you understand what they are searching for, even if their meaning is not immediately apparent. One effective approach of accomplishing this is to target low-difficulty keywords that are also highly relevant to your target audience.

Consider the following scenario: a person searches for “dog snacks” on Google. At first glance, that appears to be far too broad and difficult to target. In that situation, you can attempt to estimate the user purpose behind the query; but, you need be familiar with your consumers to be able to do so confidently. Consider the following scenario: your company manufactures dog treats that are specifically designed for smaller kinds of dogs. Consider the following: Wouldn’t it be wiser to choose a long-tail term such as “little dog nibbles,” even if it has a lower search volume? The owners of Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and other smaller breeds (i.e., your potential customer base) would have fewer difficulties finding your website, whereas the owners of German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and other large breeds (i.e., your competitor’s customer base) would be unlikely to be interested in your services, regardless of the keyword you chose.

4. Hub for difficult keywords

Is there a specific high-ranking term that you want to make an effort to target no matter what happens? In that case, you should consider developing a hub page on your website, which will assist you in organizing and gathering the necessary information that you will be able to provide users searching for a specific high-ranking keyword in the future on your site. As much information as possible should be included on the hub page, and outbound links to other, more authoritative sites should also be included. It goes without saying that you should also build inbound links to your own sub-pages that may be of interest to those who are searching for a particular keyword.

5. Don’t forget other aspects of SEO

To be sure, keyword difficulty is an important consideration, but there are other factors to examine before choosing whether or not a certain keyword is worth targeting. Even though the keyword difficulty is high, it is possible that targeting it is worthwhile if the return on investment is appealing enough and the anticipated conversion rate is adequate. Alternatively, even if a given term has a low difficulty rating, is it really worth targeting if the return on investment suggests that there is little possibility for profit and the keyword is rarely searched for and used?

One final point to keep in mind: proper SEO optimization is a marathon, and it will take time for its full potential to be realized.

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