Exploring the Question Does Keyword Difficulty Really Matter

Keyword difficulty is not a new concept: since the 1990s, marketers have been devising ways to measure the appeal and difficulty of keywords. For the longest time, keyword difficulty was based on higher-level metrics, such as estimated search volume and competition level. But as search engines gradually developed more sophisticated tools for identifying relevant terms and topics, alternative metrics were developed to help measure keyword difficulty.

The first milestone in the development of keyword difficulty was Google's PageRank algorithm, which was released in 1998. PageRank worked by assigning a numerical value to websites based on the number of inbound links they received. This enabled marketers to accurately gauge the difficulty of ranking for particular keywords.

In 2010, Google switched to the Hummingbird algorithm. Hummingbird introduced a more nuanced schema for ranking websites - specifically, it took into consideration the context and intent of queries in order to uncover more relevant and accurate results. This marked the beginning of the age of semantic search.

Today, keyword difficulty is determined by a combination of metrics, such as search volume, keyword competition, click-through rate, social media activity, and quality of the content. As a result, more sophisticated tools have become available to measure an individual keyword's difficulty.

One of the more popular keyword metrics today is Google's SERP Difficulty, which uses a combination of ranking difficulty, SEMrush keyword data, and Moz's Domain Authority to determine the difficulty of ranking for a particular keyword. Other tools, such as SEO PowerSuite's Ranking Difficulty, use a complex formula to calculate the difficulty of ranking for a particular keyword.

While these tools can be useful for helping identify potential keywords, they may be limited in terms of accuracy and reach. For example, a tool that relies only on metrics such as search volume or keyword competition may not take into consideration the quality of content or the relevance of the keyword to the page it's on.

Another potential problem is that these tools may not take into account any changes to the ranking environment, such as the introduction of a new algorithm or the emergence of a trend or development.

In conclusion, keyword difficulty can be a useful metric for helping identify potentially lucrative keywords and phrases. However, it's important to be aware of the limitations of this metric and how it can become outdated or irrelevant. Ultimately, the best practice is to use multiple sources of metrics and insights when making decisions about keywords.