Training Programs

Understanding Each Phrase’s Keyword Competitive Index (KCI)

Why the relationship between keyword popularity and organic competition matters

Keyword Competitive Index

Kim Mateus:
So, what we’re looking at here is an inside look at this massive spreadsheet that we prepare for the Program on Negotiation, that has all this data in it, so that, Amanda, as their editor, you would basically look at this when you’re going to optimize your content, whether you’re creating something new, or possibly even trying to update an existing post, you would look at this and walk us through, Amanda, how you start. Where do you start when you’re looking at these keyword detail stats to figure out what you should optimize?

Amanda MacArthur:
Sure. What I’ll start with is the column, the Google KCI, because that will tell me if there are more searches than there are Google listings. For example, the highest one in this list is anchor bias, and so, that has a KCI of 32, because there are 177,000 people searching for that term and there are only 5,550 Google listings. So, when you look at the larger spreadsheet of all the different keywords, you’re going to find a lot of KCIs that are high, that are over one, which is great. But they won’t always have a low number like that, the 5,500, and so, the next column I’ll look at if something has a really high KCI is I’ll look at the Google listings column, and that will tell me the competition. And so, I’ll use that as a second measure before I pick a keyword to optimize for.

Kim Mateus:
Yep. Makes sense. And then, again, if you guys are just doing this on your own and you don’t have the benefit of this spreadsheet, it’s just a measure of those two numbers. We do tend to, as you can see, we take the monthly data that Google gives us, we multiply it out over the year to get the annual number, and then that’s how we calculate the KCI. And as Amanda said, anything above a one is a great place to be. Doesn’t mean that you’re not going to try to target things that are under a one, but if you’re looking for keyword fights, you can win if you will. Anything over one is a great place to start.

Amanda MacArthur:
Yeah. And in that Google listings column, we also try to, for smaller sites that aren’t as easy to rank on, Harvard has a lot of brand reputation, so, they’re able to tackle ones with a lot of competition, but if you’re a smaller site, we try to keep it under 100,000 competing pages. So, that’s another thing to keep in mind.


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