December 23, 2021
Search engines serve millions of internet users daily by delivering solutions to their problems and answers to their questions. With Google being the most popular search engine out there, SEO marketers are heavily focusing on ranking high there – rightfully so.
However, keyword research is no longer just finding a popular search query and stuffing your content with it. Now, to boost your organic traffic, you also have to do a thorough SERP (search engine results page) analysis. In today’s article, you’ll learn how to do SERP analysis and why it’s essential for your SEO strategy.
Before we get into the SERP analysis itself, let’s find out what the SERP abbreviation stands for.
SERP is short for Search Engine Results Page. It’s the page that a search engine returns after you submit a query. SERP contains organic results, paid ads, and other specific SERP features, like Knowledge Panels and People Also Ask boxes.
With that said, SERP analysis is a process of delving deep into search engine result pages and reviewing the top-ranking websites for specific keywords. The purpose of SERP analysis is to uncover how these pages got to the highest positions and see if you can outrank them. Moreover, the analysis includes testing SERP features to ensure you’re using relevant keywords for your niche.
Now that you know what Google SERP analysis is and what it’s for, let’s go through each step of conducting it.
1. Doing keyword research
There are two parts to keyword research: assessing your own content and tracking keywords related to your industry.
The first step of keyword research is comprehending what queries you’re targeting and where they are currently ranking. The easiest way to do this is by copy-pasting them into a spreadsheet. Having all the keywords and their search rankings compiled together will help you keep a pulse on what’s working and what’s not.
In the second part of keyword research, you should make a list of keywords you’re not yet targeting but want to rank for. In this case, it’s not only the competitor keywords you want to explore – check out ranking keywords ranking high in your industry.
Aside from analyzing the content of your direct competitors, it’s beneficial to grasp what’s going on in the entire industry – it’s an easy way to find related keywords you could address.
Finally, since Google differentiates search results according to what area you reside in, you should track keywords that refer to your company name and the location it’s based in.
2. Identifying user intent
The second step to SERP analysis is taking a look at the search intent for each keyword and making sure it’s relevant to the topic you’re covering. At the same time, you’ll want to determine the search intent; in other words, find out what athe user’s motive is.
When looking at a keyword, ask yourself, “What information a person using that keyword is trying to find?” Once you’ve got that narrowed down, you can adjust your content to answer those questions and boost your SEO.
Say you’re targeting the “Google Sheets tutorial” keyword – before preparing the content, you should consider whether your target audience is looking for a beginner guide or a rather advanced one. After figuring it out, you can optimize your content accordingly.
3. Performing competitive analysis
As we already mentioned, if you decide to analyze search results, it’s essential to examine your competitors’ content and evaluate how hard it would be to outperform them.
But what exactly to look out for?
First, check if internet giants like Wikipedia, Quora, or an industry-leading product (i.e., Salesforce or HubSpot) haven’t taken over the entire SERP for your keyword of interest. If they have, you may want to skip the keyword; otherwise, it will be a real challenge to outrank them.
Then, see if you can find a unique angle that your competitors haven’t touched yet. If you do find one, make sure to incorporate it into your article.
Finally, analyze the best-performing piece in the SERP and see if there’s any way to improve it, i.e., by sharing your own insights.; in other words, giving the expert’s take.
How to get SERP data?
Now, there are three ways you can get the Google search data. The first (and most obvious) is gathering the search results manually. However, as an SEO specialist, you probably know that Google differentiates search results according to your physical location. So, the manually-gathered search results may not display the full picture. Also, if you need large volumes of search engine results, gathering them manually will be time-consuming.
The second option is using a keyword research tool. Typically, a keyword research tool is easy to use and contains plenty of valuable SEO metrics. Aside from the most obvious choice like Ahrefs or Moz, plenty of other SEO tools are available.
When selecting your SERP analysis tool, make sure it delivers accurate search results from any location of your choice – as noted earlier, it’s essential to see the full picture.
In addition, SERP analysis tools should provide rich results (Google Ads, answer boxes, knowledge panels, featured snippets, etc.) – chances are, they are the reason behind a well-performing content piece.
Finally, you can get an automated scraping tool – like Google Search API – that will deliver real-time search engine results in a structured JSON format.
To take the competitive analysis to the next level, you can use Google Keywords API – it provides historical search volumes and lists of related keywords in CSV format.
With all that said, your choice of method, whether that’s collecting Google search data manually or using SERP analysis tools, depends on the amount of data required.
4. Finding ranking opportunities
Another part of SERP analysis is unlocking hidden opportunities. One of the ways you can find said opportunities is by discovering keywords your competitors aren’t ranking for and utilizing them in your content. Also, if all of your competitors seem to be producing similar content, see if you can take a different approach on the matter.
The second trick is discovering and utilizing long-tail keywords. It’s likely that the long-tail keywords will be less competitive; also, they might be the exact match to what people enter into search engines.
5. Optimizing already existing content
The final part of SERP analysis is keeping an eye on content trends and best practices routinely – this way, you’ll stay ahead of the competition. You should evaluate your content, add new information, and re-do the keyword research once in a while.
By performing SEO audits and updating your content regularly, you’ll get under the radar of search algorithms scanning the internet, resulting in a chance to rank higher. You should perform SEO audits at least once a quarter – this way, you’ll be able to find weak spots early.
By doing regular keyword research, you’re only scratching the surface. Although it’s vital to assess the basic information (i.e., search frequency), with SERP analysis, you can take your SEO efforts to the next level. By analyzing top-ranking pages, you can discover new keyword and backlink opportunities. SERP analysis helps you make sure you’re using relevant keywords that match users’ search intent.
Finally, if you analyzse SERP data thoroughly, you can generate new content ideas and adjust your content. And, it may also help you to earn a spot in featured snippets.
Essentially, SERP analysis helps you boost organic traffic, get more leads, and increase sales thanks to the top-notch SEO performance.
SERP analysis goes way beyond the regular keyword research; it may seem like a complex, time-consuming task, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Conducting SERP analysis helps you have a better understanding of how the top-ranking websites ended up in such good positions. SERP analysis helps you see gaps in your SEO strategy, but it also unlocks opportunities to outrank the competition. All you need is a reliable SERP analysis tool and a tiny bit of patience.
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