Search engines like Google and Bing index and rank websites using search algorithms with over 200 ranking factors. The position and visibility of a website vary on search engine results pages (SERP) based on a variety of factors. Digital marketers and webmasters conduct SERP analysis to identify the factors that make a website achieve the top SERP position for website ranks higher on SERP for a particular topic or keyword.
The SERP analysis results help digital marketers refine search engine optimization (SEO) strategies by identifying opportunities to outrank competitors. Many digital marketers conduct SERP analysis as part of keyword research. They further adopt multiple approaches and use various tools while conducting SERP analysis. Our guide to SERP analysis aims to make it easier for beginners to understand the multistep process.
SERP Analysis Goals
According to Backlinko.com,
“The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average (click-through-rate) CTR of 31.7%. Also, the #1 organic result is 10x more likely to receive a click compared to a page in the #10 spot.”
The primary goal of SERP analysis is to identify what makes a website achieve the top SERP position for a specific keyword or topic. Digital marketers these days conduct SERP analysis to boost SEO strategies by gathering a variety of actionable information.
- Type of content that ranks
- Important ranking factors for a particular keyword
- Gather creative content ideas and innovative feature ideas
- Find new keywords and backlink opportunities
- Understand word count range
- Compare similarities in content structure
- Identify ways to optimize content and featured snippet
SERP Analysis Process
Digital marketers evaluate and compare the top-ranking websites using different approaches. But SERP analysis, as mentioned earlier, is a multistep process. Digital marketers follow five common steps regardless of the analysis approach or method.
1. Keyword Research
Before analyzing SERP, digital marketers define and list the targeted keywords. The list helps them to identify the keywords for which the website ranks and the keywords for which the website needs to rank. That is why; the comprehensive list includes keywords that are relevant and related to a specific industry. Digital marketers refer to the list to identify the content that ranks higher for each of these keywords. Also, the keywords help them to identify the existing content to be optimized and fresh content to be created.
2. Search Intent Identification
Search engines match content to search queries while displaying results to searchers. That is why; digital marketers need to identify the search intent associated with every keyword. After compiling the targeted keywords, they need to understand what searchers want while entering specific search queries. The understanding will help them to boost the search performance of existing content based on the logic behind the search queries entered by searchers.
3. Competitive Analysis
Digital marketers conduct competitive analysis with the aim to outrank competitors on SERP for specific keywords. But experienced digital marketers understand the difficulty of outranking Wikipedia, Quora, and other internet giants. They skip the keywords if the SERP is dominated by such internet giants. On other hand, they analyze the top-ranking content posted by competitors elaborately to understand what works and find opportunities to optimize the existing content.
4. Ranking Opportunities Search
While conducting competitive analysis, digital marketers always look for ranking opportunities. They find ranking opportunities by identifying keywords not used by competitors and measuring keyword length. They further beat the competition by creating similar content differently and innovatively. Also, digital marketers focus on finding long-tail keywords that are not highly competitive but meet the search intent.
5. Content Optimization
Finally, digital marketers leverage SERP analysis results to boost the search visibility of their website. They boost the website’s search visibility by creating fresh content as well as optimizing existing content. While creating fresh content, they focus on adopting a different approach. On the other hand, they optimize the existing content by embedding additional information, following the latest content trends, and including more relevant keywords. They further boost the content’s search performance by optimizing images by adopting image SEO tips and best practices.
SERP Analysis Metrics
While conducting SERP analysis, digital marketers primarily focus on targeted keywords and search engine ranking factors. But they must evaluate the top-ranking content using a slew of metrics to produce actionable results. Seasoned digital marketers improve the quality of SERP analysis results by incorporating key metrics like
- Website loading speed
- Domain authority
- Number and quality of backlinks
- Bounce rate
- Average time spent on the web page
- Click-through-rate (CTR)
- Conversion rate
SERP Analysis Tools
Often beginners and experienced marketers have to put in extra time and effort to conduct SERP analysis for multiple keywords. They simplify and speed up the analysis process using SERP analysis tools. In addition to automating the SERP analysis process, the specialized software solutions produce high-quality results using additional metrics. The beginners should consider some of these widely used SERP analysis tools.
SEMrush Position Tracking Tool: This tool facilitates SERP analysis by discovering local and global competitors, monitoring their search engine ranking for targeted keywords, and comparing search performance. Digital marketers can use this tool to track and review the search performance of up to 20 rivals for up to 5000 keywords.
Moz Pro SERP Analysis Tool: This SEO toolkit helps digital marketers to track the search engine ranking of their own website and competitor websites across computers and mobile devices. Users can boost SEO strategies by understanding what is working and what is not working. Likewise, they can uncover gaps and identify opportunities by monitoring the movement of competitors’ websites.
Ahrefs SERP Checker: This online tool supports SERP analysis by analyzing the websites occupying the top 10 SERP positions across 143 countries. In addition to tracking SERP position history, SERP Checker helps users estimate traffic data, assess the ranking difficulty and get detailed SEO statistics. The SEO statistics help them understand what makes competitors rank higher on SERP.
Mangools SERPChecker: It is one of the specialized tools that help users measure the SEO authority of top-ranking websites as well as identify their strengths and weaknesses. SERPChecker uses over 40 SEO metrics to depict the relevance of selected keywords and suggest opportunities to outrank competitors.
Major search engines include new ranking factors and update their search algorithms frequently. That is why; digital marketers need to make SERP analysis an ongoing process. They can leverage SERP analysis tools to evaluate the top-ranking website elaborately using multiple metrics. Also, the tools make it easier for digital marketers to refine SEO strategies by providing actionable information.