Striking Distance Keywords and How to Improve Them
What is a “striking distance keyword”? A striking distance keyword is phrase we use here at Sundown Marketing to describe a keyword that is not quite at the top of a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) yet, but with a little time and attention could rise to the top of Page 1. In other words, it is a keyword that is within “striking distance” of the top of Page 1 of Google. Most of the time we focus on keywords that are in Position 8-12 (bottom of Page 1 or the top of Page 2), but sometimes we look even further down the list of a Google search. We work to find keywords that are competitive keywords, that we feel could rank better and could significantly increase exposure for our clients.
This is the natural train of thought that an SEO technician would take after watching keyword performance go up and down for a few months. The question is: “Can I impact a client’s website performance for a keyword by focusing on that keyword on the website?”
So, for example, we want our client’s website to rank highly for “personal injury attorney” and their site is currently ranking in the 18th position (bottom of Page 2) for personal injury attorney. Armed with that information, we would work on the site to “beef it up” for SEO factors for the keyword we are trying to rank for.
Until recently, we would begin this task by using Google Search Console. Search Console tells you what pages are ranking for what keywords and in what position they rank.
To use Google Search Console, you would simply log into your dashboard and select Performance. From there you can see all the Queries that your site ranks for and by clicking on the Pages tab you can see the page that it ranks for.
We recently discovered another way to more effectively accomplish this task. After reading an article written by search guru Neil Patel, we found a way to get even better data which includes the search volume for all of the keywords your website ranks for. This data is better because you can then use the search volume to target the keywords with the highest search volume and ranking highly for these keywords will have an even higher impact to your website performance.
At Sundown Marketing we use SEMRush for our SEO management. With SEMRush you can enter the domain you want to analyze to create a report containing website performance. From this report you can select Top Organic Keywords. Your results will be a list of your ranking keywords, along with each keyword’s search volume. From here you can sort by Volume, so that the high-volume keywords are listed at the top of your list. Search volume tells you whether or not it is worth the effort to try and improve the ranking of a certain keyword. As an example, if the volume is only 10 searches per month, then it might be wiser to move on to the next keyword.
Here is an example of a Keyword search for one of our clients:
Once you have chosen a keyword to focus on, you must decide how to improve your website for that particular keyword. The first step is to determine what page is ranking for the keyword so you know where to focus your efforts. Once you have that information, you can analyze the page by reviewing this data:
- Is the keyword in the title tag?
- Is the keyword in the H1 tag?
- Is the keyword in the meta description?
- Is the keyword in the schema tags and the image alt tags?
- Can you add more content about the keyword?
- Can you add more images that are optimized for the keyword?
Most of the time you will find an area where you can improve the condition of a page on your website for a particular keyword. Perhaps a blog only has 200 words, which would suggest you bolster the content with keyword focused content. Perhaps a page has great content, keyword specific titles and meta data and quality backlinks, but no schema. In that case you may want to consider adding schema or additional optimized images. When adding additional optimized images, make sure you add them below the fold, so they don’t add significant load time to the page. In essence, go through and make the changes that make the most sense for your website.
Usually the results can be seen within a month, but some changes make take longer. In the case of one of our clients, we focused on two keyword phrases:
- “Statute of Limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Alabama” (very long tail keyword)
- “what conditions automatically qualify you for disability”
Four days after doing some basic optimization on two pages we found that the first keyword phrase didn’t see any improvement, but in the case of the second keyword phrase, and after only optimizing the image on the page, we saw a slight increase in the position of the website for “what conditions automatically qualify you for disability” (from 18 to 17)
This is a good way to not only optimize for keywords, but also know which keywords are likely going to bring in enough traffic to make it worth your time.
If you would like a website analysis by our SEO team, please call Sundown Marketing at (800) 649-1749 or via our website contact form for a free initial consultation!