Keyword Difficulty Made Easy

Testing keyword difficulty has never been a straight forward task, what do you test with? Links in? Links to domain? Search Volume? Awords Competition?

The truth is that all of them contribute toward the ‘keyword difficulty’ factor.

This is another post when I am going to sing the praises of the SEOmoz crewe, since they stopped delivering SEO services I have noticed a huge investment in their tools, mostly in making linkscape data more reliable but also tweaking the current tool box.

A tool that was announced this week was the new keyword difficulty tool, it breaks down all the metrics for you, so if your an SEO professional there is no better visualisation tool for client proposals, in my opinion.

Just check out some of the features:-

Adwords Data

Not only does the tool give you a difficulty factor in the form of a percentage (the higher it is the harder it is to rank) but it also gives you the relevant Adwords search including broad and exact match.

keyword difficulty tool

This is all the information you really need when trying to determine the potential of target keywords however, it doesn’t stop there.

Page / Domain Authority Metrics

The tool nicely shows the page and domain authority of the top ten sites, letting you see exactly what you’re up against.

page and domain authority

Page authority is the SEO metric for the overall authority of any given page on the web based on link juice and authority, domain authority is based on the entire links to the domain as a whole.

Break Down Of Links

As we should know now, all links are not equal and we need to be aware of how many links our competition have, also how much authority those links are passing.

On top of that we now know that the amount of links to a domain is almost as strong a determining factor as the amount of links to a particular page.

links to domains

As we can see the tool nicely breaks down the link data showing how many unique domains are linking to each of the top ten results.

Now if you’re not an SEO or internet marketer your probably not going to pay for the tool, however if you are an SEO professional, in my opinion the tools are the best on the market.

This particular tool can be used for more than just helping clients visualise their competition within their niche, it can also be used for mass research on the SERPS for multiple keywords.


is the CEO of Branded3 a Search Marketing Agency in the UK. Tim has over a decade of experience in Search and regularly speaks at key events and conferences.

5 thoughts on “Keyword Difficulty Made Easy

  1. I do have website and I guess that so much of this is all new to me – I thank you for the information. I think that the problem many people have is getting motivated to believe that any approach will work that enables a site to get up the rankings! How can I possibly compete wit the ‘professionals’ – after all, there is only one first page on google!
    I think that the key is too want to learn and try and not become complacent!

  2. Hi Tony,

    I think you will find most professional outfits are doing pretty much everything you can read about online, I certainly publish everything I practice here and I rank page 1 for terms such as “seo consultant” “google seo” and “search engine optimisation”. Once you begin any SEO venture you have to keep going and consistency is key, if you want to compete you have to keep on top of what works and what does not and allow a good amount of time each week for SEO activities. If you don’t have the time then it is imperative in my opinion that you pay some one that does, unfortunately in this industry if cash is short you will struggle to find the quality you need in a consultant or agency, my advice would be unless you have £700 a month or more to spend on SEO services I would advise doing it yourself, of course a full blown agency campaign will set you back 4 -5k a month.

  3. If I don’t have access to the cool SEOmoz keyword difficulty tool, what’s the next best way to determine how competitive a keyword is?

    I can do intitle and inanchor searches to get a general idea, and I can search for the phrase in Google and see lots of data added to the Google search results from SEO Quake, but I’m somewhat overwhelmed by all the data points.

    Then I can drill down even more, looking at the actual links each site has. Some have quality links, others are supported by junk links.

    Now I have even more data to be overwhelmed by! : )

    I once heard Vanessa Fox say, People like recipes. That’s what I wish you would suggest. I’m looking for a few steps, a few ways of evaluating competition for a keyword, and I know that won’t be 100% accurate, just like the SEOmoz Keyword Competition tool just provides an estimate.

    Still, can you suggest a few things to look at to get a reasonable idea of competition? I’m sort of lost, looking at many keywords, not knowing how to narrow down the list so I can see which are reasonably easy, which are somewhat competitive and which are very competitive.

    Thanks for any approach you can offer. : )

  4. Hi Brian,

    It can be very tricky working out how competitive a keyword is to target, however if you head over to, you can download there free tool which is a SERP overlay, it gives you data on each of the listings on Google. Generally the more unique domains a page has linking to it the harder it will be to beat, obviously there are other variables such as anchor text and on page factors, however look for unique domains linking to a page, check the top ten, work out how far you are behind and whether it will be worth trying to make up the ground.

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