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.

Using SEMrush Keyword Difficulty Tool

SEMrush Keyword Difficulty Tool

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.

Apart from these, there are separate keyword difficulty checkers like Moz Keyword Difficulty.

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 is not accurate in every cases. So, it is highly recommended to also do the manual keyword competition analysis.

Recommended read: How I Increased Organic Traffic By 17% In 30 Days – SEMrush Case Study

Using Domain Authority 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 yours 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.

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.

  1. Find the local monthly search volume of the keyword (Volume should be less than 250/month)

  2. 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 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.

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,, Blogger, Hubpages, etc)
  • More than 5 low-quality YouTube videos with less likes-dislikes ratio
  • checkMore than 2 Social media posts – FB, Twitter or Google Plus pages
  • checkMore than 4 niche sites with DA<15 ranking for a keyword
  • checkMore than 3 irrelevant web pages ranking with no keyword presence in title.

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.

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.

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you click on one of the links and purchase an item, we may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). All opinions are our own and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

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21 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.


    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!


    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!

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