Understanding keyword difficulty or why you (probably) can't outrank Nike

As we mentioned in the previous chapter, Keyword difficulty is the metric that represents how easy it would be to rank high organically for a specific keyword.

To rank high for a keyword, you must convince Google's algorithm that your web page is among the best possible results for a specific search term.

Imagine that you and Nike have the same content on your page, you both target the same keywords, and you both optimize your on-page SEO (a whole different topic we're not going to cover right now). Basically, from a content point of view, your page and Nike's page are the same.

Why would Google probably rank Nike's page above yours in the search results?

Because the Nike website has a greater domain authority.

Domain authority is a ranking metric that measures the quality and reliability of a website.
It was developed by MOZ, but many other SEO tools have a slightly different way of measuring it.

But what indicates that a website is of high quality and reliability? There are many factors, and the world of domain authority can be a guide in itself. We'll keep it short and say we don't REALLY know and that the website backlinks profile (i.e., how many other sites are linking to it) has a lot of effect on it.

Even without fancy calculations, you can think about it this way: Would you say Nike has authority in the fields of our example keyword "running shoes"? Yep. That's why Nike will probably outrank you for that keyword.

The more high authority domains compete for a keyword, the more difficult it would be for someone to make it into the first page search results.

That's it! That's what makes a keyword easy or hard to rank on.

It is important to note that while literally every SEO tool offers a keyword difficulty metric based on the currently top-ranking websites domain authorities, the actual importance of domain authority in search engine ranking is debatable.

Some say it's important, some say it's not, and no one really knows.

SEO is a world filled with "maybe" and "probably".
Fun, Isn't it?