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Knowing what keyword difficulty score you can rank for is an important element of your SEO strategy.

Not only does it focus your efforts on getting results, it saves you loads of time from writing content about keyword phrases that might be too competitive for you to rank for.

By targeting keywords within a realistic range of competition for your site you’re only producing content that has the best chance of being seen on the first page of Google and clicked on by your target audience.

The quick and easy solution is to use Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool, which will tell you the level of keyword competition your site can confidently target as well as provide keyword recommendations.

But for this post, we’ll show you the step-by-step manual process to find the keyword difficulty score you should target.

Where to Start: Know the keyword difficulty of terms you’re already ranking for

Finding out what keyword difficulty score you should focus on starts with knowing what you’re already ranking for.

You can use Google Webmaster Tools to view your position for various keywords that you currently rank in the top 10 for (Page 1 of SERPs).

google websmaster tools dashboard view

In our list, we can see that Alexa ranks in approximately the 7th spot for seo best practices, with 3,205 impressions over the last month. We will use this phrase as an example in determining the keyword difficulty we should target.

partial list of alexa ranked keywords

Finding Keyword Difficulty

Next, we will take the keyword seo best practices and search for it in Alexa’s Keyword Research by Query tool.

Click on the Paid Traffic tab to view the Popularity, Competition, and Number of Advertisers for the keyword phrase.

alexa paid keyword stats for seo best practices

In this case, the most important stat we want to pay attention to is Competition. This index is an indication of how tough it is to rank for this keyword in SERPs.

The keyword difficulty of seo best practices is 23. We can use this score as a baseline when doing keyword research and developing great content. Sticking to search phrases at or below this level of competition will improve your chances of ranking on the first page in SERPs and directing more organic traffic to our site.

Try repeating this search for other keywords you’re ranking well for. And start an excel spreadsheet with the keyword difficulty scores you find so you can get a sense of the best range to target.

This will also help you keep track of changes in the level of keyword competition you can handle over time.

In doing so, your content should be more likely to drive organic traffic.

Want to learn more about efficient keyword research?

Read the guide: Discovering Keyword Opportunities