When was the last time you clicked on page 2 of Google search results? The answer is probably never, or a very long time ago when you were desperate to find relevant research papers for your college assignment. The point is you’re not alone in this disdain for page 2 results. There are over 8.5 billion searches on Google each day, and less than 1 percent of users click on page 2, according to Backlinko. So, what about your weblinks that are ranking for keywords on page 2? They are within striking distance of finding a position on page 1. This discussion gives us the route to our topic: striking distance keywords.
What are striking distance keywords?
In simple terms, striking distance keywords are the keywords that a website ranks for between positions 11 and 30. Basically, they are the results on pages after page 1. We have established in the introduction that this ranking is as good as useless. No one is clicking on them.
It’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a silver lining to this dark cloud. See, these keywords are already ranking in search results. They are not just ranking at the ideal position, which results in high CTR on your web pages. But they present an opportunity. Improving an existing thing is far easier than creating something from scratch. This principle fits here, too. Instead of starting SEO from zero and trying to rank a new web page, it is much easier to improve the web page’s ranking for striking distance keywords.
Ways to optimize SEO using striking distance keywords
Finding striking distance keywords is an important aspect of the Search Engine Optimization strategy. This gives you an idea about keywords that are well within your ranking range and have the potential to be moved to the first page. If you are already stressing over how to identify striking distance keywords, worry not. Today’s world is all about ease and automation. There are several tools you can use to identify striking distance keywords.
Google Search Console: Google Search Console provides valuable data on how your website is performing in search results. You can identify keywords that are already bringing some traffic to your site and see which ones are outside the top page.
Ahrefs: Ahrefs is another powerful SEO tool that offers a “Keyword Explorer” feature. Start by logging in to your Ahrefs account and go to the “Keywords Explorer” tool. Enter a keyword to get a list of its variants. This database lists keywords based on several factors, including keyword difficulty (KD), search volume, and clicks. To narrow down the list to striking distance keywords, apply the filter to include only keywords with KD scores that are below your website’s current authority level. These are the keywords you would want to target here.
SEMrush: It offers a keyword research tool that provides insights into KD, search volume, and related keywords. It also has a “Keyword Gap” feature that allows you to compare your website’s keyword performance with competitors. It also gives you an insight into the blended rank of striking distance keywords.
Moz: “Moz Keyword Explorer” is also a valuable resource for finding striking distance keywords. After logging into your Moz account, navigate to the Moz Keyword Explorer tool. In the dashboard, you’ll enter your target keyword or phrase. After entering your target keyword, you’ll be presented with a keyword overview. Scroll down to the “Keyword Suggestions” section. Here, you will have a list of keyword suggestions related to your target keyword. These suggestions can include long-tail keywords, latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords, synonyms, and variations, basically your striking distance keywords.
Now that you have a list of keywords that you can target, the next stage is to start implementing a strategy to benefit from them.
This includes a number of steps, which vary in terms of work and deliverables, but some of the methods guarantee a sure-shot success at getting dividends of targeting the striking distance keywords. Let’s discuss some of those steps here:
Repurpose old content
Editing old content is always an effective way to improve SEO without putting in much effort. This is also true for striking distance keywords. Here’s how to go about this process step-by-step:
Content gap analysis: Before starting to edit your old content, it is wise to conduct an analysis about what are currently the discussion points in your industry or what topics are being talked over by your peers. This can be done by analyzing the top-ranking content for the striking distance keywords. Now, see if you have any old content that can be repurposed to strike a chord with the more recent and contemporary ideas and notions.
Content audit: The content audit starts with reviewing your existing content, like identifying blog posts, articles, or pages that could potentially be updated or repurposed to target the striking distance keywords you’ve identified. After a thorough review, select the content that is most closely related to the striking distance keywords you want to target. Look for articles or pages that have some existing authority or relevance in your niche.
Update the content: The process of updating the content starts with adding fresh information and removing outdated data, statistics, or references. Once you have done that, the next step is to carefully incorporate your target striking distance keywords into the content. Ensure that the keywords are added naturally and don’t disrupt the flow of the text.
Adjust content length: Expand the content if necessary. Longer, more comprehensive articles tend to perform better in search results. Research by SEMrush showed that articles with 3,000+ words generate the most organic traffic.
Add media and visuals: Add or update images, videos, infographics, or other visuals to make the content more engaging. According to Search Engine Journal, online content that has visuals like videos, images, infographics, and GIFs, on average, gets up to 94% more views.
Improve other page elements
Editing and repurposing old content was only the first step in utilizing striking distance keywords. Before sending your updated content out in the world, there are a few SEO tweaks you might want to make to ensure the content outperforms other links trying to take a shot at the same keywords. So, before publishing the content, use this SEO checklist to ensure all adjustments have been properly made.
Title tag: The title tag plays a role in attracting viewers to click on your page and contribute to a higher CTR. So, it is a no-brainer that your content must have a compelling and concise title that includes the primary keyword.
Meta description: It is the most important nitty-gritty detail that goes a long way in placing your content on the position it deserves. It appears in search engine results just below the page title and provides a brief preview of what the page is about, which tells users – before clicking the link – what it is about. So, add a concise and engaging meta description that includes the primary keyword and provides a summary of the page’s content.
Headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.): Headings or header tags help give structure to your content by providing users with necessary breaks to make sense of the content. Make sure that header tags are part of your content. The H1 tag is generally reserved for the main page title and should include your primary keyword. Subsequent headings (H2, H3, etc.) can be used to break content into sections.
Image optimization: This is another SEO trick that gives a boost to your page’s ranking. If your old content includes images or multimedia, optimize them for SEO. For this, use descriptive file names and alt text that includes your target keywords.
Mobile optimization: Ensure that your repurposed content is mobile-friendly and responsive. Search engines, including Google, give preference to mobile-friendly websites in their rankings.
Page speed: Focus on optimizing the loading speed of your content, as faster-loading pages often perform better in search engine rankings. Compress images, leverage browser caching, and minimize HTTP requests to improve page speed.
Schema markup: Add schema markup to your content, especially if it’s informational or contains structured data. This can boost the appearance of your content in search results and improve click-through rates.
Quality links are SEO fuels as they turbocharge your page’s rankings. This happens because when an authoritative website links to your webpage, it gives a boost to its credibility, and the link automatically improves positioning within the SERP. With the content redone after adding striking distance keywords, you should add both internal and external links to optimize the content for search engines.
The way to go about it is to find a webpage that has the same – or more or less same – content as your new article or blog. Now, find a relevant anchor text on which you could place the link to your targeted page. When creating internal links, use descriptive and relevant anchor text that includes variations of the striking distance keyword and related terms. Avoid generic anchor text like “click here” or “read more.”
Add the internal link to the identified anchor text and ensure that it is inserted in a natural and contextually relevant way. The goal is to provide additional information to the reader while also signaling to search engines that the target page is important for the keyword. For external links, reach out to other sites in your niche and request them to link back to your updated content.
Analyze and repeat
Like everything else in SEO, optimization using striking distance keywords is also a constant process of trial and error. You need to be patient to see the results, continuously track the performance of your repurposed content, and make adjustments as needed. Keep track of the performance of your updated content using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. It will tell you how much traffic do striking distance and LSI keywords get.
Remember that SEO is an ongoing process, and it may take some time to see significant results. By repurposing old content to target striking distance keywords, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results and driving more organic traffic to your website.