Go to Blog

Discovery Thursday: SEMrush Keyword Difficulty Tool

Mike Isaac
Discovery Thursday: SEMrush Keyword Difficulty Tool

Welcome to yet another edition of Discovery Thursday! Here is where we will show you various reports and features within SEMrush that you may not be taking advantage of.

One of the biggest problems digital marketers face is the determination of whether to target a keyword. This can ultimately make or break your campaign. If you choose keywords that are not within your target keyword range, you could be wasting your time. If the keyword is too authoritative or highly competitive, it will be much more difficult to compete for.

So when you find your list of possible keywords you want to target, how do you determine which ones you should focus on? Well if you aren’t familiar with it already, let me introduce you to the SEMrush Keyword Difficulty Tool!

The Keyword Difficulty tool is designed to provide you with the data you need to determine whether a keyword is worth your time. Located under Keyword Analytics, the Keyword Difficulty Tool allows you to view up to 100 keywords at a time.

Once you enter your list into SEMrush, you will be able to determine the Organic Difficulty of the keyword, the average monthly search volume, number of results for the keyword and the yearly trend of the keyword along with the SERP for each keyword.

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 3.51.18 PM

For each keyword entered into this tool, you can review their Keyword Overview report by simply clicking on the keyword itself. Another great feature of this report is the Difficulty %. When you are reviewing this metric for each keyword, you will want to click the difficulty % itself. In doing so, a popup will appear on your screen breaking down the domains ranking within the top 20 positions for the keyword.

Sorted by positioning for the keyword, the third column will reveal how high of a domain strength each domain truly has. This can help you when it comes to the auditing process of your potential keywords. This number goes up to 100.00. When reviewing this data, its important to understand that if multiple highly authoritative websites are ranking for the same keyword, it may not make sense for you to pursue the keyword. This situation will pertain mostly to those websites that are just starting their digital marketing strategies or are starting to work their way up.

The other metric to consider here is the search volume. A great practice to determine whether your website is ready to tackle a particular keyword is to first audit what you are currently ranking for. What keywords do you currently rank for? What are their search volumes? Once you analyze your current ranking situation you can then come up with some sort of target search volume range for your keywords.

Once you do so you can then apply it to the results that you find within the Keyword Difficulty tool. So when analyzing search volumes, you want to choose keywords that are close to what you are currently ranking for. Now don't get me wrong, you always want to shoot high when it comes to your keywords. However, you want to make sure that the keyword isn't too high out of your reach.

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 3.50.25 PMAnother great determinant for a keyword can be the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) itself. By clicking the icon listed for each keyword, another tab will open displaying what the SERP looks like for that keyword. If there are various features the SERP has such as knowledge graph, local results, news results, etc. it may help you in determining whether you should try to rank for the keyword based on your business.

The Keyword Difficulty Tool is great in order to help you in determining whether or not you should target specific keywords. With all of this data readily available at the click of a button, what do you have to lose? Try it out today!

Have you used the Keyword Difficulty tool before? Did you find other helpful uses for the Keyword Difficulty tool? Let us know in the comments below!

If you still have questions about any of this information, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Success Team at: (855) 814-4510 or by email at [email protected]. You can also contact us on Twitter by using the #semrushcare hashtag.

Like this post? Follow us on RSS and read more interesting posts:

Mike Isaac is the Customer Success Content Manager at SEMrush. He has been working at SEMrush for over 3 years and is constantly pushing out new content to keep users engaged. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
Share this post


2000 symbols remain
Can you speak to domain strength vs. the domain's ranking position? Your screenshot shoes stronger domains ranking in positions 2-4 compared to position 1.
Mike Isaac
Hey @disqus_1Hwsn8VkGM:disqus, thanks for commenting! Although a domain has a higher domain strength than another, this doesn't necessarily mean that they will always outrank them.

If this is the case, as you can see in the screenshot above, this simply means the higher ranking domain has optimized their landing page more than the domain ranking lower.

However, the lower ranking domain has better optimized their SEO overall, than the higher ranking domain.

I hope that makes sense! Please feel free to reach out with any other questions!
Mike Isaac
That's what I suspected, and I appreciate the confirmation; I wonder what it would be like if instead of domain, the actual ranking page (and strength, by whatever your proprietary measure(s) are) would look like. Or, what if the report showed both domain/strength, AND ranking page/strength... (?)
Mike Isaac
The best way to get this information would be to use SEmrush in conjunction with SEOquake. You would first want to find the landing page within SEMrush. Once you do so would want to go to the page itself and then open up SEOquake in your browser. This would then provide you with Google's Page Rank score for the landing page itself. This would be your best bet in getting this information. If you have not downloaded SEOquake, you can here:


I hope this helps! Please let me know if you need any more clarification!