How Is Keyword Difficulty Measured & How Do We Prioritise the Keywords?

As we all know, the core of SEO lies in using keywords within your content or articles. This enables Google’s bots to understand the subject matter of your content and rank it in the search results. Consequently, users searching for those specific keywords can discover your website among the top-ranked results. With that in mind, the initial step in performing SEO is conducting keyword research to identify and analyse the most optimal keywords to increase your chances of achieving high rankings.

Some of you may wonder, “Can’t I just use any keyword I want?”. Unfortunately not! Each keyword has its own level of difficulty. By utilising various tools, we can determine whether a keyword is challenging or easy to rank for. The question then arises: how is keyword difficulty measured?

This article will help you understand how keyword difficulty is measured and how to choose good keywords so that you can prioritise them and effectively optimise your SEO!

What Are Keywords and Keyword Difficulty?

How to Measure Keyword Difficulty

Typically, keyword difficulty refers to the competitiveness of a particular keyword. So, when you use a keyword with a high search volume, the competition will be increased as well. On the other hand, if you use a keyword with a low search volume, the competition will be less.

Nevertheless, most SEO performers don’t like to use keywords with a very low search volume because although the competition is small, it also means fewer users search for that keyword. In contrast, a high-search volume keyword means there is a higher chance that users will use it when searching, yet it comes with competition from many other businesses in the same industry. This is the reason some businesses need to hire an SEO company to make their brand show on the first page of search results.

There are tools you can use to help with your keyword research. Read on to discover more about Moz and Google Keyword Planner – two popular tools among marketers.

Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Checker

The first company to use the term keyword difficulty was Moz, which has its own keyword research tool called Keyword Explorer.

Moz has set a scale from 1 to 100 to indicate the difficulty of ranking a keyword. The value of 1 signifies the easiest, while 100 represents the most difficult. Additionally, Moz’s keyword difficulty takes into account Page Authority (PA), Domain Authority (DA), and Click-Through Rate (CTR) per impression.

Therefore, no matter how good your keywords are, if your website is not popular, your domain isn’t reliable enough, and your click rate is low, there is a chance you will rank behind your competitors using the same keywords.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a keyword research tool that most SEO performers use. Everything displayed on the tool is customised by Google based on all the keyword data on the search engine.

If you’ve used the Google Keyword Planner, you would have noticed figures represented by two-digit decimals within the 0-1 range. The value of 1 indicates the highest level of difficulty, while 0 signifies the easiest level. Access to this tool requires a Google Ads account. Consequently, the metrics provided by Keyword Planner are related to Pay Per Click (PPC) and Cost Per Click (CPC) keywords.

Simply put, PPC involves advertising on the search results page via Google Ads, which means you buy an advertising space for your brand to be displayed at the top of the rankings. The word “Ad” will be shown in front of your website address to inform users that it’s an advertisement. You will pay Google every time users click to enter your website. For CPC, you can decide how much you will pay Google–those who pay more will get a higher ranking. The tricky thing is that you’ll never know how much other websites are paying Google. The Keyword Planner’s metrics will however imply which keywords are easy or hard to rank. The figure that you see will be an average CPC in dollars.

Types of Keywords

How to Choose Good Keywords

Now that you know how keyword difficulty is measured, let’s take a look at how to choose good keywords to optimise your SEO performance. 

Select Relevant Words

The most important thing is that your keywords should be relevant to your products and services, as well as your brand name, USPs and the problems your customers need addressing. The more relevant and specific a keyword is to your business, the more chance there is that your website visitors will become your customers.

Choose Common Words 

Imagine you use your business name as a keyword, it’s almost impossible for users who’ve never heard of your business before to search for your business name. That means those users will never be able to see your business on their search result page. The same goes for using low-competition keywords, as discussed earlier. Having less competition implies that people rarely search with those keywords. Simply summarised, you need to find out what words your target group uses to search for your products or services and then use them as your keywords.

Find Competitive Keywords

A good keyword must be competitive. Keyword competitiveness can be defined by the figures shown on the Keyword Research tool. If the results show that a keyword is hard to rank, then your website must be strong enough to compete with other websites using the same keyword (check your website authority on You can also buy ads for more keywords to rank or create backlinks to boost your website’s SEO score, so it will be able to compete with other websites with higher scores.

High Commercial Intent Keywords

High commercial intent keywords can help boost your sales. There are 2 types of high commercial intent keywords:

Buy Now Keywords 

Buy now keywords are the words used by those with purchasing power who need the product urgently. For example:

  • “Book a hotel in Koh Chang”
  • “Reserve table at XXX Restaurant”
  • “Second-hand sofas ready to ship”

Product Keywords

Product keywords refer to the words that directly identify the brand, model, and characteristics of the product or service. Despite having less potential than buy now keywords, product keywords should not be taken for granted as they’re often used by those already interested in your product or service. For example:

  • “Best SEO company in Thailand”
  • “Vitamin injections for skin at xxx clinic reviews”
  • “Cheap running shoes”



In summary, despite different tools using different metrics, keyword difficulty simply refers to how difficult it is to rank for a particular word. You can check the search volume of your target keyword, its competitiveness, and how possible it is to rank on the first page with that word. Knowing all this will help you decide your content format to maximise the chance that the target audience can discover your brand.

If you are having trouble with keyword research or seeking experts to assist you with SEO, Primal Digital Agency is the number one SEO agency in Thailand. We are delighted to provide guidance on all aspects of creating content that ranks. Contact us today.