How To Identify Striking Distance Keywords?

Enhance your content by incorporating the top keywords and position yourself for SEO success.”

This familiar advice echoes in the ears of many, prompting numerous businesses to prioritize ranking for high-competition keywords in pursuit of search traffic and visibility. 

However, while valuable, the focus on high-volume search terms may not always be the most strategic starting point.

An often-neglected but effective SEO strategy involves identifying “striking distance keywords” for content optimization. 

These are less competitive terms that allow you to organically build authority over time, ultimately improving your ranking for more competitive target keywords.

What exactly are striking distance keywords?

While not widely discussed, this strategy has proven highly rewarding when implemented correctly. 

Only the most astute online brands pay attention to the intricacies of SEO to maximize their rankings. Are you among them?

If so, in this quick 5-minute read, we will:

  • Explain what “striking distance” keywords entail.
  • Guide you on how to identify these keywords within striking distance.
  • Assist you in optimizing your content for these keywords.

Afterwards, armed with this knowledge, you’ll be ready to elevate your SEO game.

Are you prepared?

Let’s dive in.

What are Striking Distance Keywords?


Striking distance keywords refer to search terms already associated with your brand, albeit potentially ranking at the lower end of page one or positioned between 11 and 30. 

They earn their name by being in close “striking distance” of your ultimate goal, which is securing a spot at the top of search results.

The appeal of striking distance keywords lies in their nature as low-effort, high-impact keywords. Even minor adjustments can yield significant improvements in your Search Engine Results Page performance. 

Enhancements such as refining metadata, incorporating Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords into existing blog content, or repurposing material can swiftly propel your pages onto the coveted first page of search results.

How to find Striking Distance Keywords?


Using tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and SEMRush simplifies the task of identifying and utilizing striking distance keywords. 

Regardless of the tool chosen, ensure a focus on keywords appearing on the second or third pages of search results.

However, it’s essential to note that the relevance and popularity of keywords within striking distance are paramount. Emphasize targeting queries that align with real user inquiries rather than concentrating solely on SEO. 

The primary goal should be to enhance organic sales. A practical approach involves seeking keywords with a high search volume and low competition to maximize your striking distance. 

Once you’ve pinpointed the most promising search phrases, analyze the top-ranking pages to identify areas for improvement.

If you feel confident using the available tools, you can manage this independently. Alternatively, consider enlisting the expertise of an SEO firm specializing in both technical SEO and content development to help you capitalize on these readily available opportunities. 

For instance, experts from PPC services in NYC can not only enhance your SEO but also offer additional valuable services.

Optimizing Striking Distance Keywords


The objective is to implement minor adjustments that can significantly influence rankings, considering these keywords already hold a reachable second-page position. 

It’s crucial to exercise caution and avoid over-optimizing pages, as not all keywords may lend themselves to on-page optimization opportunities.

It is advised to carry out these optimizations incrementally to assess results and prevent sweeping changes that could negatively impact rankings.

1. Optimize Title Tags: Make subtle modifications to the title tag, such as incorporating the striking distance keyword, altering the structure, or editing competing title tags, to impact second-page rankings positively.

2. Optimize Header Tags: Evaluate the current header tag situation of the ranking URLs. Similar to title tags, even a slight optimization or restructuring can yield significant results.

3. Strengthen On-Page Content: Given the adage that “content is king,” it is imperative to ensure that the ranking URL boasts high-quality on-page content supporting the targeted keyword. Minor additions or edits can enhance ranking signals.

4. Add Internal Links: Share valuable page equity by incorporating internal links pointing back to the striking distance keyword URL, whether directed to a relevant blog post or category page.

5. Build Backlinks: Engage in outreach or link reclamation efforts to acquire additional backlinks for the ranking URL. Even securing a single backlink can have a notable impact on the keyword on the brink of success.

6. Consider Building a New Landing Page: If the current URL ranking for the striking distance keyword is inappropriate or lacks strength, contemplate creating a new landing page tailored to directly focus on the keyword topic.

While the concept of striking distance keywords has been a longstanding strategy, it remains a logical next step to implement deliberate optimizations aimed at elevating the rankings of valuable search terms.

How to target striking distance keywords?


In striking distance keyword research, the focus is on refining your existing approach. Given your current high rankings for these terms, minimal adjustments should suffice to maintain your position. 

It’s crucial to avoid over-optimization, as this may lead to disapproval from both Google and your users. 

Additionally, optimal results are achieved when integrating this strategy into your content repurposing plan. 

  • Valuable insights for revitalizing your blog can be derived from these practical guidelines for repurposing old posts.
  • When content is repurposed, it undergoes a process of reuse or “recycling” to reach a broader audience. 
  • This involves modifying material to cater to a new audience and making subtle adjustments to older works to ensure their continued visibility. 

Here are actionable steps for incorporating striking distance keywords into your content:

1. Include them in Your Content

Assess how frequently a specific term was entered into the blog’s search bar.

Strategically incorporate the striking distance keyword two or three times based on the existing frequency. 

However, exercise caution to avoid keyword stuffing, as it can adversely impact your SEO efforts.

2. Ensure Adequate Demand

The primary objective of optimizing striking distance is not merely to elevate position rankings; rather, it aims to amplify organic revenue or leads. 

It’s easy to become fixated on position shifts, but if these alterations fail to enhance your financial outcomes, they become inconsequential.

This brings us to the aspect of demand. In most scenarios, investing time in meticulously optimizing a keyword with a monthly search volume of 140 may not be worthwhile. 

Within this range, advancing from position 8 to position 4 is unlikely to yield significant revenue gains.

  • A more effective approach involves concentrating on broader topics rather than individual keywords. 
  • Conducting comprehensive keyword research allows you to uncover high-volume opportunities and explore the long-tail.
  • Ultimately, the focus should be on targeting a cluster of keywords that share a competitive set of results. 
  • Optimization efforts should drive advancements across the entire group rather than fixating on individual keywords.

3. Enhance your Blog’s Metadata for Optimization

To repurpose content for keywords within striking distance, a straightforward yet impactful strategy involves adjusting elements within the article. 

Investigate whether the ranking keyword can be incorporated into the website’s metadata, including the title, H1, schema, alt, and image tags.

While the meta description does not influence rankings, it significantly shapes users’ initial perceptions of a search result. 

Investing additional time and effort into crafting a compelling description can elevate click-through rates (CTRs) and, consequently, enhance search engine rankings.

4. Focus on Page Relevance

focus on relevance

If your page is currently positioned on the first or second page for a high-volume query, it suggests a certain level of relevance. However, the intricacies involved require careful consideration. 

Pay meticulous attention to the Click-Through Rate (CTR), particularly on a keyword-specific level. Scrutinize the top search results—does your page align seamlessly? 

Does it occupy the top position for your intended purpose, or is there a competitor with a similar page type outperforming you?

Keep in mind that relevance operates on a spectrum. If you find yourself slightly less relevant than your competition, there’s always room for enhancement.

5. Take into Account the Length of Your Blog

Another effective method to enhance your page ranking involves assessing the length of your popular blog posts. 

Enhancing shorter blogs within the 200–500 word range entails adding more content and restructuring existing sections. 

If you aim to boost SEO rankings, it’s crucial to incorporate the term “striking distance” in the supplementary section.

While there are no strict guidelines, it’s observed that longer content tends to achieve higher rankings in Google searches. Experts recommend aiming for an average article length of 1,447 words to secure first-page organic search results.

6. Maintain a Focus on Your Conversion Rates

All the preceding efforts hold little significance if your page fails to transform users into customers. 

Higher rankings won’t address this issue; in fact, they might exacerbate it. When evaluating striking distance opportunities, prioritize your most compelling content. 

If none of your pages are effective in converting, it’s crucial to prioritize Conversion Rate Optimization over striking distance SEO. However, that discussion is reserved for another occasion.

7. Discover Opportunities to Create Links

Both internally and externally, to enhance the ranking of your post for targeted keywords and boost click-through rates. 

Internal links within articles not only assist readers in navigating the site but also enhance its visibility to search engines

External links, conversely, signal to search engines that you can guide visitors to valuable external resources, thereby bolstering your credibility. 

Achieve swift and effective results by employing the following two proven strategies to establish inbound links within your own site:

Identify popular blog posts that have already incorporated your target term in their title for maximum impact.

Utilize the striking distance keyword as anchor text for the pages you aim to elevate in search engine rankings.


Although striking distance keywords have existed for an extended period, they persist as a sensible progression, requiring deliberate optimizations to enhance the rankings of valuable search terms. 

Acquiring an understanding of what striking distance keywords entail, mastering the identification process, and honing optimization techniques will significantly elevate your effectiveness in organic efforts.

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