An arrow pointing to Competition (indexed value) in Google Keyword Planner.

What is “Competition (indexed value)” in Google Keyword Planner?

In Google Ads by Matt Chiera31 Comments

I’ve found some conflicting information about this online. Some people seem to think this has to do with how difficult it is to rank organically in Google for that keyword, however, it’s actually a metric to gauge competition in Google Ads for that keyword on Google’s Search Network.

So basically, it’s a scale from 0-100, “0” being very low search advertiser competition and “100” being very high search advertiser competition.

Here’s the math used by Google to calculate Competition (indexed value):

Number of ad slots filled / the total number of ad slots available

This is the definition directly from Google:

“Competition (indexed value)” shows how competitive ad placement is for a keyword, specific to the location and Search Network targeting options that you’ve selected. The level of competition from 0-100 is determined by the number of ad slots filled divided by the total number of ad slots available. If not enough data is available, you’ll see a dash (-)”

About the Author

Matt Chiera

Matt Chiera is Founder & Principal Consultant at Ice Nine Online. Since forming the company in 2014, he’s helped Ice Nine Online’s clients generate millions of dollars in revenue from digital marketing. Matt taught digital marketing strategy and tactics at the Tribeca School’s Digital Professional Institute. Matt’s book “Digital Marketers Sound Off” has been ranked as the #1 book in the Web Marketing category on Amazon.

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  1. I was working for a site to create content and then I increase the columns for keyword planner and was in worry what it actually is. You cleared me. Thanks for such useful post.

  2. Thanks for having this article up. I have been asking myself for a while now exactly what competition (indexed value) meant when using the Keyword Planner tool and now I know. Greatly appreciate your time to find out the info and put it up.

  3. I’m glad that I landed here.
    I’m doing SEO for a Client and thought that, this “competition indexing” has something to do with Organic Search Ranking or how many High Quality URLs are already indexed against these Keywords ( silly me lols ).
    Thank you explaining this, now I know that it’s a Google Ad Factor, it has nothing to do with Organic SEO.

    1. Author

      Competition (indexed value) applies to Google Ads, not organic rankings.

  4. Hi matt,

    Like others, I too confused.

    My state forward query is , Whether “Low” Competition With “Low” Index Value would be good combination ??.

    Best Regards,

    1. Author

      Yes – if you’re running Google Ads “Low” Competition and a low Competition (indexed value) would mean that the ads you run for that keywords would have low competition, which is typically a good thing.

  5. Hi Matt,

    Asking this question from a firm’s perspective who wants to advertise, would a higher Competition (Indexed value) score be good or a low score be better. How would you interpret these scores.

    1. Author

      You would likely want it to be low since lower competition typically equates to less expensive clicks. That being said, sometimes it makes sense to target more competitive (more expensive) keywords if they are directly related to your client’s products or service.

    1. Author

      You would want it to be low…lower competition typically equates to less expensive clicks. If you’re looking for keywords with a high amount of searches, you should also pay close attention to the Avg. monthly searches column for each keyword.

  6. Hello

    Can I use keywords sourced in Google Keyword Planner to use in a Bing Campaign?

    Thank you

  7. what is the benefit of competition index value when we write a blog , Either we have to chose the higher level or lower level

    1. Author

      You would want a low Competition (indexed value) for keywords your targeting for your blog. Lower Competition typically equates to lower cost-per-click. Note that this is a metric related specifically to Google Ads campaigns.

    1. Author

      If you’re advertising on Google, you want a lower Competition (indexed value) for your target keywords. The lower the number, the fewer advertisers you’re competing against, and therefore the clicks will likely be less expensive.

  8. This content was really helpful, i was confused on what the term meant while trying to submit a keyword research report i conducted for a real estate client . thanks

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