How to Accurately Determine Keyword Competition in SEO?

Accurate keyword difficulty analysis is one of the most important skills to master when it comes to SEO. Choosing high competition keywords while creating content results in waste of time and money.

You may have heard thousands of times that always choose keywords with good search volume.

But what’s the use of keyword volume if the keyword is way too competitive to rank for?

While targeting any of the keywords for your blog post, it is important to know the keyword competition.

Many people just rely on the “competition” given by Google Keyword Planner. But the fact is that the competition displayed by Google Keyword Planner is that of PPC keywords not the organic competition.

In this blog post, I’ll guide you on how to determine the keyword competitive scores using tools like SEMRush and as well as manually.

How to come up the keywords of low competition?

Determine your competitors

In order to find the keywords that probably are of low competition, you need to first make a list of your competitor sites.

You can treat any site as your competitor, if:

  1. They are in the same niche as yours
  2. Have similar domain age
  3. Have more common keywords
  4. Have lower DA than you
Using SEMrush to find the Competitors

You can make use of SEMrush organic competitors section to figure who all your organic competitors are.

Do the competitive keyword research

Now in this step, you need to make use of tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs, to identify the keywords your competitors are ranking for.

Competitor keyword research by using tools

Once you enter in the URL of your competitor in SEMRush, it'll display you all the keywords that your competitors are ranking for.

You need to carefully pick the keywords that are topically relevant to your blog and your audience will find it useful.

I strongly suggest you not to go for keywords above the search volume of 700, if you have a blog of DA below 30. Because, with low DA in place, it's really hard for you to rank for high-volume keywords.

Best tools for keyword competition analysis

KWFinder keyword difficulty score

KWfinder Keyword Difficulty

KWfinder provides the most accurate keyword difficulty score I've ever come across.

It takes into account several factors like presence of the keyword in the title, backlinks according to Majestic, trust flow, the age of the domain and many others to determine the competition of the keywords.

KWFinder

According to KWfinder and also my experience, you need to find keywords that have competition score of below 30.

If you are looking for a very low competitive keyword for a brand new site, then you may consider keywords of scores below 20 or even 10 depending upon the niche you're in

Using SEMrush keyword difficulty tool

SEMrush Keyword Difficulty

The keyword difficulty score is in the scale of 0 to 100. Higher the score, difficult is to rank for that keyword.

SEMRush takes into account some of the factors like authority of the sites that are ranking for the keywords, backlinks and age of the sites ranking for the keywords for determining the difficulty scores for the keywords.

If you are using Ahrefs, it comes with a keyword difficulty checker. It calculates the difficulty score of the keywords. I found the difficulty score of Ahrefs to be pretty close to SEMrush due to it's good backlink index of various sites compared to other tools on the web.

The keyword difficulty scores of any tool are not accurate in every case. So, it is highly recommended to also do the manual keyword competition analysis.

Ahrefs keyword difficulty tool

Ahrefs is the tool which has the biggest backlink index, almost comparable to that of Majestic's. Due to its large backlink index, the difficulty scores presented by Ahrefs will be accurate.

Ahrefs Keyword Difficulty

I entered in the same set of keywords I entered in the case of KWFinder and SEMrush.

Here any keywords that are marked as green is good to go with.

You can notice that the difficulty scores have neat looking color grading similar to that of KWFinder. The scores are quite unreliable, as sometimes it shows as score as 1 – 5 even if the competition is fairly high.

Given the premium price that Ahrefs costs you, I expect the keyword difficuloty score to be more accurate.

Manual keyword competition analysis

Using Keyword Golden Ratio

Keyword Golden Ratio is a term coined by Doug Cunnington, and it’s a great way to find the keywords for which there’s a good demand for content but no supply.

In order to find the KGR score, first you need to pick a keyword in your niche.

Keyword Golden Ratio
  1. Find the local monthly search volume of the keyword (Volume should be less than 250/month)  
  2. Note down the number of results with the keyword in title

You can find the monthly search volume using tools like KeywordsEverywhere. For finding the number of results with keyword in title use the “allintitle:” search modifier.

Like – allintitle:keyword

Now you need to divide the number of results with keyword in the title by the total monthly search volume of the keyword.

The resulting score is called the Keyword Golden Ratio and it helps you to determine whether there’s a demand of content for a specific keyword.

For example, if there are 50 results with the keyword in the title, and the keyword has 250/month search volume. Then the KGR is 50/250 = 0.20

If you have a niche blog, you need to always go for keywords with Keyword Golden Ratio of below 0.25.

This works especially well for Amazon affiliate sites.

Typically long-tail keywords have low KGR score as they are ultra-specific.

You may now be asking whether Keyword Golden Ratio is only suitable for keywords with volume of less than 250.

Yes.

Because for any affiliate niche site ranking for keywords with volume above 250 is quite difficult.

If you think that you can rank for the keywords even if their volume is above 250, then go for the keywords with allintitle results of less than 63 or preferably less than 50.

Lesser the allintitle results, the better it is to rank for the keyword.

Using D.A for determining keyword competition

When it comes to authority there are two things. Its domain and page authority. Page authority is the ranking power of a single page.

Domain authority is for the whole domain. D.A defines the ranking power of the entire domain, including all its pages.

By looking at the domain authority of any website you can easily make out of the ranking power of that specific domain.

In this section, I will be using domain authority to accurately find the keyword competition.

To carry out the process. First, you need to know the D.A of your own site. You need to visit Link Explorer. You may need to sign up for Moz account to access the tool.

Link Explorer

Now I got to know the domain authority of my site.

Go ahead, and carry out the keyword research process, and find up to 10 effective keywords that you are interested to blog upon. You need to accurately find the competition for those keywords.

For this, first you need to install MozBar for your browser. It displays the D.A, P.A, etc. for all the search results in SERPs.

Now search for the keyword which you need to find competition for.

If there are 4-5 sites ranking for the keyword with DA less than your site, then it means that you too can rank for that keyword.

Lesser DA

In other words, if your competitors with lesser DA than you are ranking for a keyword then you too can rank.

Similar to this, you can also make use of Ahrefs Toolbar to find the domains with “Domain ratings” less than yours or you can also make use of flow metrics like Citation and Trust flow from MajesticSEO.

Signs of low keyword competition

There are also some of the signs you can look at to determine whether a keyword is easy to rank for or not.

If you search for any keyword if there are shallow pages ranking for it, then the competition is low.

If any of these are present in the SERP for a keyword, then keyword competition is low.

  • More than 3 forum threads (Reddit, Quora, others)
  • More than 2 article directories (EzineArticles, Web 2.0s, WordPress.com, Blogger, Hubpages, etc)
  • More than 5 low-quality YouTube videos with less likes-dislikes ratio.
  • More than 2 Social media posts – FB, Twitter or Google Plus pages.
  • More than 4 niche sites with DA<15 ranking for a keyword.
  • More than 3 irrelevant web pages ranking with no keyword presence in title.
  • Lack of truly in-depth content on the topic.

The forum and social media content are crowdsourced content (untrustworthy) and Google displays them whenever it has got no properly written articles and blog posts to display.

This is a great way to say for sure that the keyword is of less competition to rank.

Apart from analyzing the keyword competition, the surefire way to rank high for the keywords is to identify the topics in which there's lack of quality content and create content that is better than any other similar content.
With this, Google will eventually rank your content higher as it's of high quality.

Filtering the keywords

Now you have a list of low competitive keywords. But, you need to determine whether it's actually worth targeting those keywords in your articles for increased traffic.

Some keywords, even if you manage to rank on high, will not drive you traffic.

You need to filter out:

Vague keywords: The keyword that you are targeting should communicate the search intent clearly. Is it valuable for you to rank for “diabetes” or “how to cure diabetes”? It is valuable to rank for the #2 keyword as the intent is clear. You need weed out the keywords whose intent is not clear and is vague.

Visual-intent keywords: With video content on rising, people like to watch videos instead of textual content in some niches. For example, let's take an example of a niche to say – “DSLR comparisons”. Even if the keywords like “sony a7 vs a7ii” have uber-low competition, you likely won't get the traffic you hope as people likely click on the video carousel.

Factual keywords: Dozens of micro-niches were gone when Google introduced knowledge graph. Why? For these factual keywords, the answer is typically for a single word or a paragraph that Google's AI can suffice. Even if those factual keywords have low keyword competition, targeting them will be worthless.

Factual Keywords

You may need to make use of Ahrefs, “Keyword clicks” metric to effectively determine what number of people are actually clicking on the search results.

You need to go for keywords with click percentage of above 70%. You can notice that for factual keywords this percentage is below 20%.

Wrapping up

These are some of the ways to determine the competition of a keyword accurately.

As mentioned, there are many tools for you to determine the competition of the keyword. But doing manual keyword competition analysis is very essential.

And later, you can make use of keyword difficulty scores for cross-checking whether your manual analysis is accurate or not.

Did this post address what you are looking for?

Akshay Hallur

About me

Hi, I’m Akshay Hallur. The founder of this blog BloggingX and many other online ventures. 

I’m a professional full-time blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I’m here to help bloggers like you to create an outstanding blog and earn money from it.

One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to the blogging community. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media networks.
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40 thoughts on “How to Accurately Determine Keyword Competition in SEO?”

  1. Hi,

    This is great post.I like your articles and your articles are so easy to understand because it is written in so easy language .Very nice tutorial on how to accurately determine keyword competition in SEO. There are many webmasters who share this kind of tutorial but don’t share in a good manner. They make things complicated. I love your style how you shared everything in a good manner.

    Regards,

    Mazid Umar

  2. Hi,

    Wow nice post . I loved your ways how you shared everything step by step. I will share this post with my followers, hope they will love it.

    Thanks to share this useful post with us.

    Keep up your good work!

    Have a nice day!

    Regards,

    Arif Ansari

  3. Hi Akshay

    Season’s greetings and big congrats on writing such a comprehensive post on a very important topic.

    To analyze the competition it is must to keep vigil around the niche and never rely on guesses only.

    You very extensively covered the whole topic and elaborated the main points in very cleal terms.

    The biggest quality of a content is its feature of conveying the points to a layman of the topic. YOu did so well on this score.
    Thanks a lot for sharing.

    1. Thanks Muba for the words of encouragement. Hope you are enjoying the season!

      Smart keyword competition analysis is essential to be ranked above norms.
      By conveying the information in Layman terms, I can actually reach a wider audience, interested in my niche.

      Glad you heard my voice clear.

      Have a thorough-going, productive week ahead.

  4. Great post! I was looking for one such guide that which lead me to the selection of keywords more properly so that I can get some organic traffic from Google. It’s not only getting traffic, but ranking.

    I’ll try this method of keyword research the next time I write up anything on my blog. You really helped me bro! Thanks!

  5. Thanks for a great article. I have read many posts on the same subject. I found your post best because it has all the basic tips & tricks which are available for the new bloggers or SEO starters.

  6. Hello Akshay,

    First, if all I just want to say thank you so much for sharing this great content with us. And actually, keyword research and competition is one of the most important factors for any blog or blog posts to rank.

    You have mentioned “Signs Of Low Keyword Competition” which is one of the best tricks to know a low competition. And the way you have explain this article was really awesome and anyone can easily understand.

    Once again thank you so much.

  7. Hi Akshay Hallur
    Thanks for giving usefull information about this topic i have question on backlinks if i create 30 to 40 backlinks in one day can google give spam on my website ?

  8. Thanks for a great article. I have read many posts on the same subject. I found your post best because it has all the basic tips & tricks which are available for the new bloggers or SEO starters.

  9. Nice blog,it will be helpful for me and others.
    I’ll try this method of keyword research the next time I write up anything on my blog. You really helped me bro! Thanks!

  10. Hi Akshay,
    What a fantastic post! This is so chock full of useful information, can’t wait on utilizing the resources you have provided. I also provide the SEO services on my site and is gonna use this information on better use.

  11. Hi,
    Excellent post! Thanks for providing this amazing tips & tricks.I loved your ways how you shared everything step by step. I will share this post with my followers, definitely they will love it. Keep posting like this.
    Thanks again…………

  12. Very useful and comprehensive article, every bit of it shows one how to be a successful blogger, I will surely implement it.

  13. Hi, Akshay. I searched a lot on the internet and did not find a good answer. So I requested the answer to this question in Quora as well. Luckily you answered my question. Thank You very much.

  14. After reading multiples blogs on finding keyword competition, my search ends here. You have really cleared all my doubts regarding competition of the keyword. Well explained. Thanks a lot!

    Regards,
    Saumya

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