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 Chiera24 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 the Founder and CEO of Ice Nine Online. Since forming the company in 2014, he’s helped Ice Nine Online’s small and mid-size clients generate millions of dollars in sales 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. Avatar

    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.

  2. Avatar

    Just what i was looking for. Landed here from the first page.
    These metrics can be confusing sometimes.

    1. Avatar Author

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

  3. Avatar

    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. Avatar 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.

  4. Avatar

    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. Avatar 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.

  5. Avatar

    Matt, I am a little confused. I am a blogger and i want a keyword with less competition and more searches, so competition index should high or low?

    1. Avatar 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. Avatar


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

    Thank you

  7. Avatar

    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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar

    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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