One of the most powerful features of Long Tail Platinum is the Keyword Competitiveness calculation; this is the perfect tool if your are searching for how to check competition for keywords. This is a formula that will allow you to quickly analyze the top 10 results in Google to determine how difficult any keyword might be to rank for naturally. This is one of the features that separates LTP from many other keyword research software solutions out there.
We are always striving to improve the software, and as a result of launching version 3.0 of Long Tail Pro, we thought we should take another look at the Keyword Competitiveness (KC) calculation.
Search engines are constantly evolving and we want to make sure we give you the best tools for determining your ability to rank in those search engines.
When we launched version 3.0, we made some minor tweaks to the KC calculation. Because of this, you may see that some of your keywords are a few points higher or lower when comparing 2.0 to 3.0 KC numbers.
We strongly feel like the KC number is more accurate in version 3.0. Today I want to reveal a bit more of what goes into the KC number and what we have changed.
At a high level, here is how the KC number is calculated:
KC = Page Authority (PA) +/- Page Title Factor +/- Keywords in Domain Factor +/- Domain Length
PA = (Several Factors including: Domain Authority, Site Age, Page Links, Juice Page Links, Social Signals, and More)
Now, here is a more descriptive explanation of what goes into determining Keyword Competitiveness:
Page Authority: Each website starts with a Page Authority number; this is where the KC number starts. Page Authority is a number provided by Moz.com that in and of itself is a very complex calculation. Page Authority essentially tells you how “authoritative” a particular page is. Page Authority takes into account things like Domain Authority, site age, juice page links, social signals, and more.
We take this Page Authority number and then adjust it up or down depending on how well the Page Title, domain, etc. match the given keyword phrase.
Page Title: If the exact keyword is in the Title of the page, this is a very strong indicator to Google. As a result, depending on how closely the results in Google match the keyword in the title of their page, we will adjust the base Page Authority number down (if it doesn’t match keywords) or up (if it matches keywords exactly).
This is exactly how it should be when you check keyword competition. If several really authoritative pages are ranking, but they are not even targeting the keywords in the title of their page, this is a big sign of weakness. This means that if you simply target the exact keyword in your title, you might be able to outrank all these authoritative pages because they aren’t targeting the exact keyword.
The KC formula takes all of this into account and will adjust scores up or down based on how well the pages in Google are targeting the keyword in their titles. This is the largest factor that goes into determining KC; how well are the results targeting the keyword.
One of the changes we made in version 3 was to adjust the scores down or up a bit further for results that are not targeting the keyword. Based on our research, this makes the score even more accurate now.
Keywords in Domain: Having exact match keywords in the domain used to be a big deal. However, as brandable domains have grown in importance, exact match or partial match keyword domain names have grown much less important.
As a result, we’ve adjusted the Keyword Competitiveness score to no longer give very much weight to keywords in the domain name.
Length of Domain: A longer domain name, usually means spammy. The keyword competitiveness calculation takes this into account and adjust the score down for any domains that are too long.
The old version of the KC score did take this into account; however, the weight has been slightly adjusted so there is not too much weight given to this factor.
Overall, the new KC calculation is more accurate than it has ever been before. So, if you check what the new KC score is for any keywords compared to the old score; what you see now is the accurate number.
I would also like to re-iterate that the scale of how to tell if a keyword is competitive that I’ve always given is still the same:
- 0 to 10 – No competition
- 10 to 20 – Extremely low competition
- 20 to 30 – Low competition
- 30 to 40 – Moderate Competition
- 40 to 50 – Somewhat High Competition
- 50 to 60 – Very High Competition
- 60 to 70 – Extremely High Competition
- 70 to 100 – Don’t even think about it!
I personally avoid any keywords with a score over 35. And I prefer to never target keywords with a score over 30.
As a result of this adjusted calculation, many keywords have not changed at all in terms of competitiveness. The keywords score that have changed are ones that should have changed. The more competitive keywords are now MORE ACCURATELY showing a higher KC; while the lower competition keywords are now more accurately showing a lower KC score.
Example of the New KC Score in Action…
We don’t just talk about trying to find low competition keywords, we are actively finding and ranking for keywords ourselves all the time!
For example, we have been blogging quite a bit on the Long Tail Pro blog, and we are starting to see great results.
How do we come up with blog post ideas? How to check competition for keywords? We use Long Tail Pro of course! We generate keywords and then start looking closely at those with a low KC score.
We recently found the keyword “Weebly SEO” with a KC score of 21, and wrote a blog post on the subject.
Here’s a screenshot showing the KC score in version 3.0 of Long Tail Pro:
A 21 is a very low score. These are the kinds of keywords that we love!
So, after writing a blog post targeting “Weebly SEO”, we hit publish. We have not done any link building specifically to that page other than sharing on our social media pages.
This post has simply “aged” and moved up the ranks. Now we rank #7 for the keyword; all thanks to finding a great low competition keyword using the KC metric. We’ve done this with a number of our blog posts – for example, we compared Wix and Weebly, Weebly and Squarespace, and Weebly and WordPress – all these articles are on or near the first page of the SERPs – all thanks to LTP’s KC score.
We have repeated this process for many keywords on the Long Tail Pro blog (and other sites we own). Also, by finding one low competition keyword, we’ve taken inspiration for that keyword and also produced an article on Squarespace SEO as well as the best alternatives to WordPress.
The real “kicker” though, is that the traffic to this Weebly SEO page is generating sales. We can track that we are indeed selling a few copies of Long Tail Pro to people that have Googled “Weebly SEO”, read our article, and then go on to buy the software.
Bottom line is that the Keyword Competitiveness score is something that we actively use in our business and it works. If you don’t believe us, here’s another example – the keyword ‘profitable website ideas‘ has KC 21 (although it’s only a 40 search volume KW). We posted an article targeting that keyword and are ranking #5.
This strategy should work with all kinds of sites – including amazon affiliate sites (which tend to be popular as a starting point for a lot of people).
Again, many of you may not notice any changes with the new adjusted KC score in version 3.0. However, overall, you can now be more confident than ever that the Keyword Competitiveness score is the most accurate keyword difficulty score around.
In addition, as Google changes ranking factors in the future (which is of course going to happen), we will also adjust as needed the official KC calculation. You can rest assured that the numbers you see in Long Tail Platinum are based on current data and not yesterday’s best practices. All in all, we’re committed to making sure that Long Tail Pro is the best long tail keyword research software in the market.