What is a Keyword Difficulty, and how do we calculate it?

Surfer calculates keyword difficulty based on the strength of the domains that are ranking in the top 10. The metric helps to understand if high-authority domains dominate a keyword. Authority relies solely on referring domains.

Keyword Difficulty is available in our Keyword Research tool (formerly Content Planner) and is calculated based on the difficulty of the terms within the whole cluster. Difficulty works on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 means the easiest and 10 means the hardest.

You can deselect keywords, and it will affect overall cluster difficulty as it is an average of the chosen keywords.

You can also sort your clusters by difficulty.

What is Relative Keyword Difficulty?

Relative Keyword Difficulty is a metric that helps you understand if it will be hard to rank for a specific cluster for your domain.

Relative keyword difficulty considers your domain's strength and checks whether the difficulty is Easy, Medium, or Hard.

You can turn the Relative Keyword Difficulty on by connecting your Keyword Research to the Google Search Console:

1. Click on the "G" icon on the right side of your Keyword Research.

2. Sign in to your Google Account and give Surfer all permissions.

3. Connect your domain to the planner.


I have connected my console to Keyword Research, yet I cannot see the relative difficulty. Why is that?

If your domain is fresh, we will display a standard 1 to 10 scale.

When a domain is either new or has low authority, every keyword will be relatively hard, especially in tough niches. That is why we believe there is more value in displaying standard difficulty to differentiate hard from hardest.

Can I connect multiple Google Search Consoles to my Surfer account?

Yes, you can! All you need to do is go to the Google Search Integration page found in the menu and sign in there. You can add as many Google Search Consoles as you need.

Additional resources:

Surfer Knowledge Base

Surfer Blog

Surfer YouTube

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