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What Is KD in SEO? How Is the Keywords Difficulty Score Calculated?

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What is KD or keyword difficulty in SEO?

KD or keyword difficulty is a metric used to gauge how difficult it would be to rank for a given SEO keyword in search engines.

keyword difficulty ahrefs

The difficulty of a keyword is determined by the number of linking domains to the current top 10 ranking pages and then calculating the result on a scale from 0-100. The resulting number provides an estimation of how many referring domains you need to rank in the top 10 for your target keyword.

How is the Keyword Difficulty Score calculated?

Ahrefs – keyword research tool

The Ahrefs keyword difficulty score is calculated based on a number of factors, including:

  • The number of referring domains to the top 10 pages ranking for the target keyword.
  • The average authority score of those domains.
  • The average number of backlinks pointing to those pages.
  • The average keyword difficulty score of the top 10 pages ranking for the target keyword.
what is kd in seo? check keyword difficulty with ahrefs

You can use the Ahrefs keyword difficulty score in a few different ways, including:

  • To help you decide which keywords to target. If a keyword has a high KD score, it may be more difficult to rank than a keyword with a lower KD score.
  • To help you track your progress over time. As you build more links and improve your website’s authority, you should see your KD scores improve as well.
  • To compare different keywords side-by-side. This can be helpful when you’re trying to decide which keywords are worth targeting and which ones aren’t worth your time and effort.

Semrush – keyword research tool

The Semrush keyword difficulty score is calculated based on the authority of the pages that are currently ranking for that keyword, the number of quality backlinks that they have (including both do-follow and no-follow backlinks), as well as other keyword-specific data.

example of keyword difficulty for content writing tools in semrush

Same as Ahrefs, you can use Semrush to check for your target keywords’ difficulty to make your decisions about your SEO content strategy.

Which factors determine the KD in SEO?

Competitors’ strength

Keyword difficulty is determined by the strength of your competitors in relation to how many keywords you are trying to rank for. If there are a lot of strong competitors, then it will be difficult to rank for those keywords.

Your websites domain authority

The domain authority is the number that determines how much weight a given keyword carries in relation to the competition. The higher this value, the harder it will be for your website to rank for that keyword in the SERPs. However, domain authority alone cannot tell you anything about how difficult a given keyword will be to rank for.

The quality of the content

The quality of the content determines the keyword difficulty. People searching for a very specific term are more likely to be found by your website if the content on your site is geared towards that specific term.

The search intent

The search intent is what a searcher is looking to achieve by typing in a query. It could be anything from finding out information to buying a product or completing a task.

The search intent is a metric that determines how hard the keyword difficulty will be for a particular keyword. It can determine whether or not it’s worth it to use your time and resources on a particular keyword.

How to use KD in SEO to find the right keywords?

Choose keywords with lower KD if you have a new site

Use keyword research tools like Ahrefs or Semrush to find keywords with a low KD score.

After you find relevant keywords with low keyword difficulty:

  • Target these keywords on your website and blog content.
  • Optimize your website for these keywords using on-page SEO techniques like title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags.
  • Build links to your website from other high-quality websites.

Target long tail keywords with low KD and high volume

Long tail keywords are usually less competitive than short, general keywords. They also tend to have higher conversion rates because they’re more specific and relevant to what people are actually searching for.

There are a few different ways to find long-tail keywords. One way is to use a keyword research tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner or KWFinder. Another way is to look at search results for your main keyword and see what related terms people are searching for.

FAQ about KD in SEO

Is lower KD a guarantee to rank higher on SERP?

The lower key difficulty is not a guarantee to rank higher on SERP. The more content you create and the better quality it is will help improve your ranking on search engine results pages.

What is the recommended KD in SEO to start ranking for?

0-14 KD = Very easy to rank for. These are the best opportunities to start ranking new web pages on Google as soon as possible without backlinks. 15-29 KD = Easy. These keywords have some competition but are still possible to rank for when you’re starting out.

Can I calculate KD for multiple countries?

This is not something that you can calculate for multiple countries, however, a number of tools do provide this type of data. You should use these tools to identify the difficulty and potential competition for keywords to get a better understanding of the keyword difficulty in different countries.

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