Boost Your SEO: Identifying Striking Distance Keywords

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Ever wondered why some of your content nearly hits the mark on search engine rankings but doesn’t quite make it to the top? The secret might lie in striking distance keywords, a goldmine for boosting your SEO efforts. These are the keywords that are just a few ranks shy of landing on the first page of search results, where visibility skyrockets.

Identifying and optimizing for these keywords can be a game-changer for your website’s traffic and overall online presence. But how do you pinpoint which keywords are within striking distance and ripe for the taking? Stick around as we dive into the nitty-gritty of finding and leveraging these hidden gems to elevate your SEO strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • Striking distance keywords are those which rank on the second or third page of search results and have the potential to quickly move into top positions with focused optimization, significantly enhancing site visibility.
  • Identifying striking distance keywords involves thorough keyword research, competitive analysis, and search volume analysis to pinpoint opportunities for ranking improvements and increased traffic.
  • Utilizing SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs is critical in efficiently uncovering striking distance keywords, providing insights into search queries, competition levels, and keyword performance.
  • Strategies to target striking distance keywords include optimizing existing content, creating new content tailored to these keywords, and employing on-page SEO techniques to improve discoverability and relevance.
  • Measuring the success of strategies targeting striking distance keywords is vital, with key metrics including improvements in SERP positions, increases in organic traffic, and higher conversion rates, guiding future optimizations.

What are Striking Distance Keywords

Definition of Striking Distance Keywords

Striking distance keywords are those valuable gems in your SEO strategy that are just on the cusp of breaking into the first page of search engine results. They’re not quite there yet, but with a bit of optimization and focused effort, they could significantly improve your site’s visibility. Typically, these are keywords for which your site is ranking on the second or third page of Google search results. The term “striking distance” implies that with the right adjustments, these keywords have the potential to leap into top positions, making them critical targets for any SEO campaign.

Focusing on these keywords is efficient because it’s easier to move from, say, position 12 to position 8, than it is to jump from position 50 to position 1. It’s about leveraging what’s already working well for you and pushing those results just a bit further to gain a noticeable increase in traffic.

Benefits of Striking Distance Keywords

The primary benefit of targeting striking distance keywords is increased visibility. By elevating these almost-there keywords into the top 10 search results, you’re significantly enhancing your chance of clicks, which can lead to higher traffic volumes.

Moreover, focusing on striking distance keywords is highly strategic for any marketing agency looking to boost its clients’ SEO performance without starting from scratch. Here’s why:

  • Competitive Edge: Moving up even a few spots in search rankings can put you ahead of competitors not utilizing this strategy.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Since these keywords are already somewhat optimized, less resource investment is required for noticeable improvements.
  • Quick Wins: Optimizing for striking distance keywords often results in faster gains compared to targeting entirely new keywords, delivering quick wins that can motivate teams and impress clients.

Remember, while the concept of chasing the top rankings for highly competitive terms is alluring, the practical, strategic move is to identify and optimize for striking distance keywords. This approach allows for more efficient use of your marketing efforts and resources, ultimately leading to an effective, streamlined SEO strategy that’s capable of delivering tangible results.

How to Identify Striking Distance Keywords

Identifying striking distance keywords is a crucial step in optimizing your website’s SEO strategy. By finding these keywords, you can focus your efforts on pushing your content onto the first page of search engine results. Below, we’ll guide you through the key techniques for uncovering these valuable keywords.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the cornerstone of identifying striking distance keywords. It involves analyzing your existing content to discover which keywords are already bringing traffic to your site but might not be fully optimized. Here are steps to guide you through this process:

  • Use SEO tools: Tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush can help track the performance of your current keywords.
  • Focus on positions 11-20: Look specifically for keywords that rank on the second page of Google search results. These are your striking distance keywords.
  • Analyze search intent: Ensure the keywords match the user’s intent. Are they looking for information, a product, or a service? This alignment is crucial for ranking improvement.

By conducting thorough keyword research, you’ll not only identify which terms are within striking distance but also gain insights into how to tweak your content for better performance.

Competitive Analysis

Understanding your competition is critical in identifying striking distance keywords. Competitive analysis helps you see which keywords your competitors are ranking for, especially those that are just on the edge of the first page. Here’s how to perform a competitive analysis:

  • Identify your competitors: Look for websites that rank well in your niche.
  • Use SEO tools: Tools like Ahrefs or Moz can show you which keywords your competitors are ranking for and their position in search results.
  • Spot opportunities: Look for keywords where your competitors are ranking in positions 11 to 20. These are potential striking distance keywords for your site.

Incorporating competitive analysis into your strategy allows you to uncover overlooked opportunities and refine your approach to overtake competitors in search rankings.

Search Volume Analysis

Search volume analysis is crucial for prioritizing which striking distance keywords to focus on. It measures the number of searches a specific keyword receives over a certain period, indicating its popularity and potential traffic it can bring to your site. Here’s how to conduct a search volume analysis:

  • Identify high-volume keywords: Using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, find keywords related to your content with significant search volumes.
  • Prioritize by volume: Focus on striking distance keywords with higher search volumes, as they offer the greatest potential for increasing traffic.
  • Balance competition and volume: High-volume keywords often come with high competition. Look for a balance between search volume and competitiveness to find the most achievable opportunities for ranking improvements.

Search volume analysis ensures you’re focusing your efforts on the keywords most likely to deliver substantial boosts to your site’s visibility and traffic.

By meticulously applying these strategies, you’ll effectively identify striking distance keywords that can transform your SEO performance. Leveraging keyword research, competitive analysis, and search volume analysis empowers your marketing strategy, driving more targeted traffic and enhancing your online presence.

Tools to Identify Striking Distance Keywords

Identifying striking distance keywords is a pivotal step in refining your SEO strategy. With the right tools, you can pinpoint these valuable keywords efficiently. Below, explore some of the most effective tools that professionals and marketing agencies use to discover and exploit these SEO gems.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a fundamental tool for anyone diving into SEO, including those at marketing agencies or managing their marketing. It’s directly integrated with Google Ads, providing insights into search queries, competition levels, and search volume. Here’s how you can use it to identify striking distance keywords:

  • Start by inputting your current keywords or phrases relevant to your content.
  • Look for variations with high search volume but medium to low competition.
  • Pay special attention to keywords where your site ranks on the second or third page of Google search results.

This tool is especially crucial for those who are new to the concept of striking distance keywords, as it offers a straightforward way to gauge the landscape without overwhelming users with too much data at once.


SEMrush is a more advanced tool that can significantly aid in your quest for striking distance keywords. Favored by many marketing agencies for its comprehensive features, SEMrush offers detailed analytics that can help you assess not only your website’s performance but also that of your competitors. To leverage SEMrush for striking distance keywords:

  • Use the ‘Organic Research’ feature to observe the keywords you’re currently ranking for.
  • Focus on keywords that are positioned between 11th and 20th in search rankings.
  • Take advantage of the ‘Keyword Gap’ analysis to compare your keyword profile with that of your top competitors, highlighting areas where you can improve.

SEMrush is particularly effective for marketers who are looking to get an edge over the competition by identifying and targeting keywords that can be easily improved with a bit of optimization.


Ahrefs is yet another powerful tool in the arsenal of a marketing agency or savvy marketers focused on SEO. Known for its robust backlink analysis and keyword research capabilities, Ahrefs also excels in uncovering striking distance keywords. Here’s how to use Ahrefs effectively:

  • Utilize the ‘Site Explorer’ feature to analyze your website’s organic search traffic and the keywords it ranks for.
  • Pay attention to the ‘Position’ filter to isolate keywords ranking between positions 11 and 20.
  • Explore the ‘Keyword Explorer’ for additional keyword ideas based on search volume and keyword difficulty, helping you prioritize which keywords to focus on.

Ahrefs stands out for its ability to give users a detailed look into how their pages are performing and provides actionable insights on how to boost rankings for keywords that are within reaching distance of the coveted first page.

Strategies to Target Striking Distance Keywords

Once you’ve identified your striking distance keywords, your next step is to diligently work on strategies to push those rankings into the coveted first-page territory. In this section, we’ll cover the best practices for leveraging these keywords to your advantage.

Optimizing Existing Content

Your existing content is a goldmine waiting to be refined. By focusing on pages that are already performing well but just shy of the first page, you can enhance their rankings with a few optimizations:

  • Keyword Placement: Ensure your striking distance keywords are strategically placed in titles, headers, and throughout the content. However, avoid keyword stuffing; keep the usage natural and relevant.
  • Content Update: Refresh outdated content with recent information, additional insights, and updated statistics. This not only adds value for your readers but also signals to search engines that your content is current.
  • Internal Links: Boost the authority of these pages by linking to them from higher-ranking pages within your site. Use relevant anchor text that incorporates your target keywords.

These adjustments tell search engines that your content is not only relevant but also provides value, encouraging them to re-evaluate its position in the search results.

Creating New Content

While optimizing what you already have is crucial, creating new, high-quality content centered on your striking distance keywords opens up additional paths to reach the first page:

  • Content Gap Analysis: Identify topics related to your striking distance keywords that are underrepresented on your site. By filling these content gaps, you’re not only targeting new keywords but also enriching your site’s topic authority.
  • Format Variety: Consider creating content in various formats such as blog posts, infographics, and videos. Each format caters to different search intents and can capture a wider audience.
  • Engagement and Shareability: Produce content that encourages user engagement and is easily shareable. High engagement rates and shares can positively impact your content’s search ranking.

By targeting your striking distance keywords with new and engaging content, you’ll signal to search engines that your site is a valuable resource for those topics.

On-Page SEO Techniques

On-page SEO is pivotal in making both your new and existing content more discoverable and relevant to search engines:

  • Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Craft compelling title tags and meta descriptions that include your striking distance keywords. These not only aid in improving your rankings but also increase your click-through rates (CTR) from the search results page.
  • Schema Markup: Implementing structured data through schema markup can help search engines understand your content better and provide rich results, which can significantly boost your visibility.
  • Mobile Optimization: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. A significant portion of search queries are performed on mobile devices, and Google’s mobile-first indexing means your mobile site’s performance impacts your rankings.

Combined, these on-page SEO techniques fine-tune your website’s capacity to compete for those top spots in the search results. With the right optimizations, your striking distance keywords could very well turn into top-ranking positions.

Measuring Success with Striking Distance Keywords

After identifying and optimizing for striking distance keywords, it’s crucial to measure the success of your efforts. This not only shows the effectiveness of your strategy but also guides future optimizations. With proper tracking and analysis, you’ll be able to see the tangible benefits these keywords bring to your website’s performance.

Tracking Rankings

To begin, monitoring your rankings is fundamental. Tools such as Google’s Search Console, SEMrush, or Ahrefs provide invaluable insights into where your pages currently stand in search results for specific keywords. When you target striking distance keywords, watch for:

  • Improvements in SERP positions: Even a small jump in rankings can significantly increase your visibility.
  • Frequency of rankings in top 10 results: High rankings often correlate with higher traffic and engagement.

Remember, SEO is not static. Therefore, keep an eye on these metrics regularly to adjust your strategy as necessary. If you’re working with a marketing agency, request detailed reports on these rankings. This data not only offers proof of progress but also identifies areas needing further optimization.

Analyzing Traffic and Conversion Rates

Traffic and conversion rates are your ultimate indicators of success. Utilizing tools like Google Analytics, you can dive deep into how striking distance keywords are impacting your site. Look for:

  • Increased organic traffic: More users coming to your site through these optimized keywords suggest your content’s relevance is improving.
  • Higher conversion rates: Whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or filling out a contact form, an uptick in conversions directly attributed to these keywords indicates success.

Here’s a simple table to help you visualize what metrics to focus on:

Metric Indicator of Success
Organic Traffic Increase Your content’s relevance is on the rise
Higher Conversion Rates Effective targeting and user engagement

To maximize these indicators, continually optimize your content not just for search engines but for real user engagement and satisfaction. If your organic traffic increases but conversion rates remain static, it may be time to evaluate your user experience or the alignment of your content with user intent.

Incorporating these analytics into your SEO strategy allows you to see the real-world impact of targeting striking distance keywords. Whether you’re conducting this analysis yourself or collaborating with a marketing agency, understanding these metrics empowers you to refine your approach continually, striving for higher rankings, more traffic, and increased conversions.


Unlocking the potential of striking distance keywords is a game-changer in the competitive world of SEO. By leveraging tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs, you’re equipped to identify these goldmines. Remember, it’s not just about finding them; it’s about strategically integrating them into your content through optimization and on-page SEO techniques. From keyword placement and internal linking to schema markup and mobile optimization, each step is crucial in pushing your content to the top of search results. Don’t forget to measure your success and refine your strategy based on analytics. With persistence and precision, you’ll see your rankings climb, traffic increase, and conversions grow. It’s time to take your SEO strategy to the next level by harnessing the power of striking distance keywords.

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HoliMont Ski Club

Taking America's largest private ski club from the blue square to double black.

For almost 60 years HoliMont has been committed to creating an environment for generations of families and friends to adventure and build memories together. As America’s largest Private Ski Club, and WNY’s Premier Ski Destination, it was time for a change to reposition the club for the new season they were stepping into.

In partnership with their incredibly committed and passionate team, we’ve rolled up our sleeves to not only reintroduce HoliMont as an All-Season Club but to engage new members and remind existing members of how wonderful a place HoliMont is for family, friendship, and fun. 


Private Club Sports


Ellicottville, NY


Web Design & Development
Digital Marketing

Brand Identity

Refreshing their identity without reinventing it. 

HoliMont has a very recognizable mark with decades of history behind it – so our approach was focused on breathing new life into a timeless logo.


Logo Redesign

Simple & Structured.

Removing the dated styling (shadows, outlines) as well as the caps-case on the word mark helped to reveal a more timeless and versatile logo.

Color Studies & Typography

A high-end, rustic, and elegant take on WNY ski culture

Combining rich greens, rose gold, and a quality typographic system gives HoliMont the recognizable look it deserved.

Brand Texture

Topographic mapping of the 'Mont made for the perfect texture.

We converted a topographic map of Holimont in order to create a series of brand textures to add some intrigue and beauty to the visual identity.

Brand Texture

Topographic mapping of the 'Mont made for the perfect texture.

We converted a topographic map of HoliMont in order to create a series of brand textures to add some intrigue and beauty to the visual identity.

Brand Identity

Custom badges for all of the 'Mont's programs. 

We created unique symbols with illustrations to represent each program within HoliMont. You can see these around the ‘Mont any time you visit!



A premier destination: online and off.

We took the original site and did a complete overhaul, giving HoliMont the impact it deserves for current and prospective members.