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The Ultimate Guide for Google SERP Analysis

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You worked on well researched, highly insightful, and data-driven content that you believed would add value to your customers, and also it will rank on SERP. However, when you published the article or blog, it did not gain the rankings you had imagined. Your content stayed hidden in some corner of the search engine results pages, where your target audience didn’t venture. 

95% of the audience look at only the first page of the Google search results. Your SEO optimization strategies may win you a spot at the top rank on the first page for some time. However, retaining it might be a challenge.  

Only 13% of the websites have managed to retain their search engine result page position across devices, i.e. mobile, desktop, tablets, and others. The question remains, why are you unable to mark your entry or maintain your website position on the first page of the search engine results? 

If you start your journey towards optimization without SEO competitive analysis, then you may not succeed with your content. SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) analysis is the need of the hour, as it helps apply appropriate keywords and determines effective SEO strategies to boost your content efforts and outrank your competition. 

What is SERP, and how does it help? If you want to gain insights into this technique to outrank your competition by using SERP analysis, then read on. 

What Does SERP Mean? What is the definition of SERP?

Search Engine Results Page also known as SERP is the web page shown by search engines as a response to a query that the user submitted. The results on these pages are ranked from the most relevant content to the least relevant to the user’s search query. SERPs include organic search results, paid ads results, and sometimes videos results and featured snippets.

How does a Search engine or Google rank websites? What are the most important ranking factors for Google?

The most important SEO ranking factors are:

#1. Content Factors

Content quality, relevancy, and depth

#2. Keywords

Relevant keywords, tail-keywords, and phrases in on-page SEO elements such as meta title, meta description, and H1 tag.

#3. On-Page SEO Elements

Having unique Meta Title and Meta Description, H1 title, ALT tags, headlines and subheadlines (H2 or H3 tags) and etc.

#4. Technical SEO Elements

sitemap.xml file, robots.txt file, schema markup, errors, crawlability

#5. Backlink Profile

Number of backlinks, do-follow and follow links, backlink anchor texts, and authority

#6. Domain Factors

Domain authority, age, history, and TLD extension.

#7. Page-Level Factors

Keyword density and cannibalization, page-level authority, total outbound links

#9. Site Security

SSL Certificate, being malware-free

#10. Site UX and Mobile Responsiveness

Site navigation, font size hierarchy, auto-resize

#11. Page Speed

Page load speed, minified HTML, CSS, and cached images

#12. User Interaction

CTR, Bounce Rate, user comments

#13. Social Signals

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram shares, likes, and followers

#14. Local SEO Factors

Strong business profile, local cites, NAP (Name-Address-Phone) presence, and consistency

The ranking factors are not limited to the ones mentioned above here. Search engines have their performance indicators that help rank the results match to the user’s search intent.

What is SERP Analysis? What is SERP Analysis meaning?

SERP analysis is a process of collecting critical information from competing web pages that are ranking for a particular set of keywords or search intent. 

A comprehensive in-depth SERP (Search Engine Result Page) analysis includes analyzing almost all on-page SEO elements and content metrics like:

  • Meta Tags: Meta Title, Meta Description. Meta Property Tags
  • URL: Keywords in URL
  • H1 Tag: Keywords, Relevancy
  • Subheadlines (H2-H6 Tags): Understanding the topics, sections, keywords
  • Links: External and Internal Links and their anchor texts
  • Tables: Captions and headers
  • Questions: People also asked for section and questions from competing pages
  • Related Searches: People also search for the section that shows related searches
  • Content Metrics: Length, depth, and relevancy of content
  • Highest Frequency Keywords: In all content and in all sections separately
  • Related Keywords Usage: The related keywords if being used in headlines, meta tags, URLs, or in content or not.

What do SERP Analysis tools help you identify?

SERP analysis tools give you the ability to: 

  1. Uncover how a competitor may have achieved its website ranking on the Google search result page
  2. Finding out the most important and highest frequency keywords and questions that top-ranking pages are using
  3. Understanding the user intent and discovering what people are asking or searching for
  4. Create better SEO optimized content that will rank on SERP
  5. Uncovering which content topics to mention, which questions to answer, and how in-depth information you need to give visitors
  6. Uncovering low-hanging fruits such as the keywords that the competitors are not targeting well and are not using traffic potential keywords.
  7. Figure out the efforts and budget required to rank for a certain keyword.

When defining your ideal SEO strategy, your goal is to always be rooted in the first page of Google search results.

However, your keyword strategy is incomplete unless you can identify the top-ranking keywords and how your competition is ranking on the Google search results.

Find out keyword difficulty and the SERP analysis tool may help you to also identify opportunities.

What kind of content is the number one ranked item?

Without SERP analysis, your mission to outrank your competition and retain a position on the first page remains distant. 

How to do Competitive SERP Analysis? How to analyze competitors in SERP?

Do you look around to understand what your competition is doing? Most often, we are focused on getting our jobs done. 

Evaluating your competitor’s performance through SERP analysis helps you scale faster. It offers better opportunities and boosts organic traffic efforts.  

The best way to get started would be to identify the top-ranking websites. Dissect each of these websites. Look into their meta tags, URL, keywords, etc., and find out what makes them rank. Take notes and keep updating them periodically. 

Once you have all the findings in place, incorporate them appropriately in your plan. Manual analysis can take a while. You can use SERP analysis tools which help you to get all information and analyze insights in just a minute. 

A comprehensive competitive SERP analysis is a lot of work, below are the steps you would use to perform this analysis:

  • #Step 1: Search for a keyword in Google. Make a list of the top 20 URLs that show up on the Google search result page
  • #Step 2: Next, create a Google sheet with the position, URL, titles, and descriptions from SERP and metadata. 
  • #Step 3: Next, study their content and the topics they have written. See which ideas they have not yet used or, the ones that you can write better. Try to create a comprehensive content outline that is wholesome of all the content that ranks on google. Analysis of the missing content from each page and fill that gap with your content strategy
  • #Step 4: Analyze all the content and find the top keywordsphrases, and questions mentioned in the competitor pages. 
  • #Step 5: Do some keyword research and find long-tail keywords and related keywords that have organic traffic potential to target in your content. 

While this may seem a whole lot of work, search engines are a crowded place with many websites fighting to rank for the same keyword that you are trying to. To outrank your competition, you need to understand them, find out the weakness in their content, and finally create a comprehensive and targeted SEO content brief.

If you are looking for an automated way to do SERP analysis, check out outranking.io. You can enter a keyword and do a quick but in-depth SERP analysis without creating an account. 

Why is SERP Analysis so Important?

Have you heard of a war that was won without a strategy? Well, if you have, it sure was a fluke. What do you do when you go for an interview? Research the company and prepare to be better than the next candidate that they will interview. Similarly, creating content that ranks on Google without knowing what you are up against, is like going to a war without any ammunition. 

Your quest to rank for a keyword in SERP is meaningless if you don’t study your competition. No matter how good or meaningful your content is, without a comprehensive understanding of the search engine results page (SERP), probably your content may not be discovered well.

Google not only helps define the user’s intent but also aids with the keywords they use to search the content. If you want to outperform the competition, then you need to gather insights into your competition. 

SERP analysis helps with both those aspects. We already know what it is. Let’s understand why it is important for businesses to conduct this analysis to gain an upper hand in the competitive keyword ecosystem: 

SERP analysis is important for 3 primary reasons: 

  1. Understanding competitive positioning 

Not all keywords are equal, some are more difficult to rank for, while others are easier. It is crucial to understand if you truly stand a chance. Don’t worry if the goal is far fetched, you can target some long-tail keywords and related keywords and still get noticed by a portion of that search audience. 

  1. Finding gaps in search intent and content served

Sure the top ranking page might not be the low hanging fruit, and it has already perfected the art of ranking in 4 dimensions. But if you know what they don’t about their own content, if not the winner a runner-up position might be up for a grab. SERP analysis gives you the power to know what they don’t about their own content.  

  1. Creating content that is more powerful than what’s out there 

If you know what others are writing about, you also know what they are not. Creating content that ranks well on Google is the primary reason why SEO and content managers need to do SERP analysis

Why is SERP Important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Top ranking in Google is all about finding the most relevant keywords that match the search intent and having them in well-written quality content with the right and optimized tags that matter. Not just for new content, but let’s say you have an old beaten down blog that ranks a few pages behind the first page in Google. How would you get it to move up?  

Well, let me show you one example. I am not saying doing this will make you an overnight stay, but you will get an idea of where I am going with this. 

See the below image, it shows the top three ranking pages for the “PostgreSQL Django” search query.

serp important for seo

Now let’s say you are sitting lonely here at position 16.

url

Do you see any low-hanging fruit from the above image for just the URL? I sure as heck do. 

No# 16 does not have “django keyword in the URL. There are many things you need to consider before that 16 turns into <10, but hey this would take less than a minute to optimize. 

To optimize content for the search engine, you need to know what to optimize it against

Let’s look at a second example, this time we will look at the same search query but a different ranking page. 

When we analyze the top 20 results for “PostgreSQL Django”, I see the top 5 highest frequency keywords used by top ranking search results in their H1 tag are:

HWF in all H1 tags

Now let’s look at the H1 tag of the content that is ranking at the 11th position in SERP:

H1 tag position

Even my broken eyes (well only one, really) can see the obvious. What 18 out of 20 people have used in their H1 tag is missing here “Django”

If I was to SEO optimize a page, I would add “Django” in one of the most important tags used in the content – H1 Tag

I’d repeat if you forgot already(some of us have covid brain cloud) but, there is no way you can optimize anything if you don’t know what you are optimizing it against! You can keep guessing till your hair starts shedding or you can SERP analyze it. 

What are the Benefits of Performing SERP Analysis?

SERP analysis  offers insights into the following:

  1. Create SEO optimized content that ranks
  2. Build comprehensive content briefs in hours vs. days
  3. Generate content ideas that have organic traffic potential
  4. Match to the user’s intent and increase the engagement
  5. Get an in-depth insight into your competitors and their SEO content strategy
  6. Optimizing existing content to increase its ranking

A thorough analysis of how your competition is faring, and which keywords are relevant to your business can offer you great insights and better visibility. 

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits associated with SERP analysis, and why you should perform it.  

#1. Create SEO Optimized Content that Ranks

Say people are looking for dog toys. Despite having researched and written everything you know about this topic, your content does not rank on the first page. Why? You did not optimize your content for the search engines. 

While you worked hard on your content, you did not invest time into understanding the competitor’s content on the same topic. You did not spend time analyzing content that is ranking on the first page. 

SERP analysis answers the following questions that help you create SEO optimized content:

  • Traits of top ranking pages and how to mimic them. 
  • Depth and structure of the SEO content required to rank
  • Keywords, phrases, and questions that matter the most to your audience. 

Take these findings from the SERP analysis and create content that is inclusive and goes beyond the traits of the top ranking pages. But, of course, provide additional value, if you have nothing to add to serve the users’ intent, search engines won’t give you the light of day. 

Below is a sample SERP analysis for “saas lifecycle marketing plan” and some notes on how to use this information to create a blog post that ranks for “saas lifecycle marketing plan”

Of Course, the below analysis is not complete, it would take a book to explain every element. For this example, we will explore how to use SERP analysis to create a title and meta description.

Title

Look at the below image, you see the top 10 titles when you search for “lifecycle marketing tools”

What we notice is only two of the top 10 results have all 4 words (lifecycle, marketing, tools). 

If you create a title called “A complete list of lifecycle marketing tools” and write better and more in-depth content, the chances of your post to rank for “lifecycle marketing tools” will be much, much higher. 

meta or serp titles

Now let’s look at an example of how to create an SEO-optimized meta description.

Meta Description

If you see the below image, only two out of the top 10 results have all keywords in the SERP description. This tells you, even Google was not able to find the most relevant intent keywords from the content of that URL. This screams opportunity!

meta or serp descriptions

If you see the below image, only two out of the top 10 results have all keywords in the SERP description. This tells you, even Google was not able to find the most relevant intent keywords from the content of that URL. This screams opportunity!

You can use similar tactics to create other sections of your content, such as H1, subheadings, external links, URL, tables, etc. 

SERP is getting crowded, you need to be smart about writing content. Throwing every kind of content to the wall and seeing if it sticks or not, will make you give up. What you need is, to see what others are doing and do it better!

#2. Generating New Content Ideas

SERP analysis can also help you come up with some ideas that your competitors are missing out on. Knowing these gaps can help you create content around them. Let see how you can use SERP analysis to come up with some new content ideas.   I’ll walk you through three ways to come up with ideas for new content, the kind that will actually rank:

How to use SERP Analysis to generate new content ideas?

  1. People Also Ask 
  2. Related Searches
  3. Top phrases data
  4. Top Questions data

People Also Ask 

It is possible that some of the data you see in this section might be too basic and not relevant, but dig deeper and you can find a winner. 

Let’s say you sell an “electric paddle board”, your people also ask section will look something like this:

related questions

Well, you are selling an electric paddleboard, so clearly #1, and #4 are out as it does not serve your interest. 

2nd one can be a grey area so we will look at no. 3 “What is the best paddleboard for beginners”. There is some potential here if you write powerful content ( depth, quality, and strategy) around this question. 

Also, you could maybe answer, “Are electric paddle boards good for beginners?”, in your existing content. This will help you get a spot in this answers section of Google.  

Related Searches

This is an obvious one. Related searches give you insights into what other user intents are surrounding the existing search intent. You can look at these search queries and see if any of these keywords have better opportunities for you to rank. The deeper the research, the better your chances are to identify a topic that will create immediate ROI.

related searches

Top Keyword data from SERP

Below is an example of related search keywords and search volume mapped with the amount of time these keywords appeared in some of the important tags of the top 10 ranking pages for “electric jet board”. I just took a few samples that stood out to me.  All of these keywords have not been used in H1, Meta, Content, etc. This screams opportunity and Ideas!

top keywords data from serp

A good SERP analysis tool will do this for you cutting your research time by one-tenth. 

Top Questions data from SERP

Now let’s see if we can extract some information from competitors’ pages to see what content we can create that serves the user intent. Below are some questions that outranking.io SERP analysis tools extracted from SERPs.  

top questions data from serp

These can be some potential ideas you might want to write about. The more questions you answer, the higher are your chances of showing up in featured snippets or the top of search results. You can even use one of these questions to create a whole new post around it, attracting some long-tail keyword searches.

#3. Serving to User’s Intent

Having the top keywords in your title and meta tags isn’t the only thing you need to outrank your competition and serve on the user’s intent. Your content needs to reflect the brain chart of other important keywords related to the search intent. 

For eg. If you are trying to rank for “Product lifecycle management” I highly doubt you can rank for that keyword without using other keywords related to that user intent. Below are some closely associated keywords related to “Product lifecycle management” that competitors are using, you need to use them as well to create a post that addresses all the key points around the users’ intent. 

top keywords

#4. Survive Competition with SERP Features

Google is more than a few page URLs ranking. When you search for “lifecycle marketing tools” you will notice that there are no Featured Snippets on Google. While your competition is strong and they have all the authority to not support your content to rank higher, there is an opportunity here. You can answer a question like “What are some lifecycle marketing tools?”, and increase your chance of getting noticed by Google for a featured snippet or get your question listed in the “People also asked” section. 

#5. Optimizing Published Content

Google literally shelves underperforming content. Even if you were to search through the first ten pages, you would not find yours, if you have not optimized it properly. What would you do in such cases? Give up hope on the content and start writing a new one? 

No! We suggest work on optimizing this content using SERP analysis. Look for keyword opportunities with content analysis. Restructure and reformat the content. Check for SERP features that can help you reposition what you have written. 

Check for the low-hanging fruits, things you can change in minutes first, then start working your way to the hard part (changing the content itself). I have on numerous occasions noticed that changing URL, headings, and meta tags sometimes lead to a crazy boost in page rank, but of course, don’t expect any overnight miracles or a boost up to top 3 without content optimization. 

Use the steps described in the How to do “SERP analysis” section to do a comprehensive SERP analysis and make sure you don’t leave any stones unturned. 

What are SERP Features on Google?

SERP features, also known as Search Engine Results Page Features, consist of everything that is not a traditional organic search result. SERP Features includes more than organic results which is a link and description.  It shows rich content such as videos, images, questions which are relevant to the search query

SERP features include:

  1. Organic Results 
  2. Paid Results
  3. Featured Snippets
  4. Knowledge Graph & Panel
  5. People Also Ask
  6. The Twitter Results
  7. News Box
  8. Shopping Results 
  9. Video Results
  10. Image Results 
  11. Local Packs

Earlier, when you searched for a keyword on Google, the results page displayed ten blue links with short descriptions. However, this has evolved over time in the quest to serve the most relevant content to the users. changed with the introduction of SERP features. They are elements that are different from traditional organic results. These features include video links, knowledge graphs, carousels, and even image results. 

Why are SERP features all of a sudden so important?

Well because, as Google and other search engines understand the search intent better, they have started making more and more use of these SERP Features to show relevant content. There is a tremendous opportunity here to bring organic traffic to your website by targeting SERP Features such as featured snippets. For keywords where competition is a killer, you might want to try tranking for a featured snippet instead and take a piece of pie from that organic traffic. Below are some statistics about how many search results have SERP Features in the “Computer and Software” category taken from SEMrush data. You see the opportunity here?

important serp features

However, Google has been adding new features each year. Take a look at some of the popular features. 

#1. Organic Results

 A typical search engine result in the organic section comprises of the following:

  • Title
  • SERP description(can be different than meta description)
  • Internal and external sitelinks
  • Page URL
organic results

#2. Paid Results

For some results, the search engines sometimes display paid ads at the top as well as the bottom of the first page, leaving little to no room for organic results. 

In the case of paid ads results, advertisers bid for the keywords that they believe relevant to their niche. When the users search for these keywords, it triggers the PPC campaign. There are a number of factors that determine whether or not an ad is displayed on the first page of the results.

The bid amount, quality of the ad, click-through rate (CTR), and the landing page experience offered by the business are some of the important aspects considered while ranking an ad campaign

Here’s a peek into the SERP containing paid ad results. 

paid results

While the high-value keywords seem lucrative, there will be more paid results for these phrases. As a result, the organic results will gain lesser visibility or CTR.

 

#3. Featured Snippets

Featured snippets showcase the content that has been pulled from a webpage or a video straight into the result page as a featured section. It is usually a definitiondirect answer boxtables, or steps related to the search query. 

At least 12% of all the SERPs contain featured snippets and it keeps increasing. No wonder why ranking for featured snippets is the next big thing for SEO. 

Below are the three different types of featured snippets: 

featured snippets

#4. Knowledge Graph & Panel

This is yet another interesting part of the SERP. You would find the knowledge graph when you search for Wikipedia results or information on some company. They are factual information or statistics into an asset, famous personality or, something similar. 

Google gets information from both Google index data and from external sources (such as Wikipedia) to feature in Knowledge Graphs, which differs from Knowledge Panels.

Knowledge Panel is almost the same as Knowledge Graphs, except that Google gets information only from Google My Business Listings or Google Maps and shows it.

knowledge graph penal

#5. People Also Ask

When people search for information using a keyword, Google returns all the links relevant to their search. Along with this, the search engine also returns a set of questions people ask related to the keywords. 

This section offers immediate content ideas to the marketer. It can help you identify high ranking keywords as well as content ideas. 

people also ask

#6. The Twitter Results

Whether you are looking for particular news or something about a business in general, you will notice that the SERP is crowded with the latest tweets. It could be tweets from a particular handle or tweets related to a brand or even topics sometimes. 

twitter results

#7. News Box

If you search for a particular brand or person or event, then the top stories about the search are also showcased in the pages. Most of the results are approved by Google News. This feature is displayed only when the user searches for trending keywords. 

news

#8. Shopping Results 

If you are searching for a product, then Google showcases the links to the products in your location. It allows you to shop for the product directly from the links placed in the SERP. 

Along with the shopping results, you will also get a few organic results that are relevant to the search made by the user. 

shopping results

#9. Video Results

The results pages fetch at the most three videos relevant to the keyword. Although the algorithm for fetching the videos is still unknown, keywords play a prominent role in optimizing the content. There are specific questions where Google believes the videos would give better insight. For instance, when you search for recipes, Google returns video results.

video results

#10. Image Results 

If you are looking for “red frocks” or “rainbows”, then Google might return image results. Few keywords receive more images in response than organic pages.

image results

#11. Local Packs

These are results that you get when you search for things in a particular location. If you are looking for a plumber in your location, then Google will return results with addresses. In some cases, you might even receive the map for the location, making it easier for you.

local packs

What are the SERP Analysis Terms and Their Definitions?

Before you know how to conduct SERP analysis, here are a few terms that you should know. 

Monthly Volume 

The monthly volume indicates how many times a key phrase or question was searched by the end-user. It helps understand the relevancy and the search volume for the keyword. The answer will help the optimization experts know if they should use the phrase in their content or not.

Difficulty

The difficulty score gives you an insight into how challenging it will be for you to rank higher than competitors. It will show you the score for a particular keyword. The score will help you know if you can outrank your competition or not. It will also help you make the right keyword choices and optimize your content better. It will take small businesses a while to break through this difficulty score and rank better for the keyphrases. 

Organic CTR

When the SERPs are displayed, this percentage estimates the number of clicks the organic links will gain. If the results page contains featured snippets and Paid ads, then the CTR percentage is low. You will know if you should optimize your content for a particular phrase or not. A higher score means you are visible and have better chances at conversion. However, if the score is low, you will need to identify more opportunities for ranking.

Priority

The keyword priority score is calculated out of 100. To calculate this score, you need to look at the search volume, the difficulty score, and organic CTR. If your priority score is inching towards 100, it means you have higher search volume and less difficulty ranking your content for this phrase. However, if it is inclined towards zero, then you should reconsider the keyword.

Domain Authority (what is a domain authority?)

This is a score devised by Moz which determines how likely a website will rank at the top position of the SERP. It helps understand the credibility and expertise of the business in the niche. The algorithm has been devised by combining Google’s algorithm with machine learning. The score ranges from 0 to 100, with 0 being least likely and 100 is most likely. A score anywhere between 40 and 50 is considered average and increases the chances of receiving a good rank on SERP. 

Page Authority

This authority is determined by the Machine Learning algorithm. The score helps understand how likely it is for the page to rank better on SERP. If your page authority is high, then you will observe better organic results and reach. However, there are some metrics that you need to consider for this score. 

Linking Root Domains

The number of unique root domains that are linked to the target content will determine this score. If there are two different links from the same site linked to the content, then the linking root domain is one. If the site is the same, irrespective of the number of links, the unique root domain will be one. 

Backlinks

When a web page is linked to another page, it is termed as a backlink. It is an incoming link and adds credibility to your business website. The number of backlinks is a metric that is used to rank your website. 

  • Do-Follow Link

This is an HTML attribute. It ensures that the search bots crawl and follow the links. It increases the link visibility for the search engines as well as the users.

  • No-Follow Link

This HTML attribute ensures that the link is not crawled by the search bots. The link is not visible to the users as well as the search engines.

  • Text Backlink

Clickable texts that link to another webpage or website that is relevant to the content is known as text backlink. It improves the authority of the content and makes it more relevant to the users. 

  • Image Backlink

Targeting another web page or site through images can help increase search engine rankings for your website. Image linking is the process of adding clickable links to your images and increasing content relevancy.

Anchor Text

They are clickable words that link one page to another. They are blue underlined text and are pretty common in SEO. The text is the label or the title for the web page you are linking. 

Different types of Anchor texts include:

  1. Exact Match: The text is an exact match for the keyword used to rank the content
  2. Phrase Match: The anchor text contains a phrase from the keyword that you are attempting to rank
  3. Partial Match: A part of the phrase matches the keyword
  4. Branded: The anchor text used is the name of the brand you want to link
  5. Naked URL: It does not contain a text link. Instead, it is the link itself that you will type in the browser
  6. Random: This is a random phrase and is not connected with the keyword you aim to rank
  7. Generic: A generic keyword or phrase that is used as an anchor text. “Click here” or “Go to” are common generic anchor texts.
  8. Image: When an image is linked, the image alt tag text content becomes anchor text for the link.

Alt Text

It is the textual description of the images provided to the search engines. This should be added to make your images accessible for the visually handicapped, and improve the experience of your web page.

Highest Frequency Keywords

The frequency of the keyword depends on the number of times it appears on a particular page. The highest frequency keywords are those that are relevant to your target audience, and appear a maximum number of times in the content you have published. 

Cost Per Click

The advertiser pays a certain amount to the publisher every time their ad is clicked by the target audience. This is one way of determining the cost the advertiser will incur each time the user is shown the ad, and click on it to visit the landing page. 

External Sitelink

External site links are the links shown in the SERP that are links within the same domain but a different folder or URL. External site links often have descriptions.

external sitelink

Internal Sitelink

Internal Sitelines are links within the same webpage. SERP sometimes shows internal content links that are closely associated with the search query. 

internal sitelink

Inbound Link (Internal Link)

Inbound links are the links on the web page that point to other web pages on the same domain. It is not shown on the SERP.

Outbound Link (External Link)

External links are the links on the web page that point to web pages on the other domains.

SERP Title

The clickable title that appears on the Search Engine Results Page is known as the SERP title. It reflects the idea behind the topic and conveys what it is about to the users. 

Meta Title

The title comes from Meta Tags that are embedded in the code level. It is the SEO title that comprises the focus keyword. The larger aim of adding a meta title is to improve your search engine ranking and enhance your visibility. 

SERP Description

It is the description that Google chooses from the content itself, which is the most relevant part of the search query. Google selects it directly from the text. If the meta description tag has better relevance to the search query than chooses the meta description as a SERP description. The description offers an insight into the content. It is typically written for search engines to increase the clickthrough rate for the content. 

Meta Description

It offers an apt description and a complete summary of the contents. It helps search engines and users to identify the topic of the content.

Get accustomed to these metrics and phrases before you begin SERP analysis. It will help you understand the outcome of the evaluation better. The insights you gather will help you make the right decisions to further your strategy. Better planning  and improving keyword strategies can enrich the user experience on your website.

Steps on How to Analyze SERP? How to perform SERP analysis?

analyze serp

Take a look at the step-by-step manual analysis that will help you optimize your web page tactically.

Step #1 SERP Analysis: Determine the Search Intent

Why is the user searching for this key phrase in the search engine? After going through extensive keyword research and identifying relevant words for your topic, you need to answer this question. The answer will help determine the following:

  • What kind of information is the user looking for?
  • Who is the target audience for this keyword?
  • What problems are you solving with the content?
  • What is the competition offering for the keywords entered?

When you search for the intent, you will also understand how the user rates a piece of content. It helps you know the competition and their offering for the keyphrase. Knowledge Graph or featured snippets indeed gain more traction as compared to other SERP features. 

Apart from the competition analysis and keyword research, you also get new content ideas. The “people also ask” feature gives you an insight into the questions people ask for the particular word. 

There are three ways to judge the intent of the search using SERP.

  1. Informational Search: Here, the user wants detailed information or in-depth insights into the topic. They may not have a purchase intent. They are interested in knowing more about the title and understanding whether or not it works for them. The users seeking information on the product are in the awareness stage, and they use long-tail keywords. The results include featured snippets, videos, or direct answers. This is more of an awareness stage. 
  2. Transactional Search: The intent is clearly to complete shopping for a particular product. The results include shopping links for this kind of search. The user is ready to purchase the product and uses the search engine to determine the place from where they can buy.
  3. Navigational Search: The user is well aware of the product or service. They are in the lead nurturing stage, where a little information can help them make the right decision.  

You can further classify your content based on the following questions.

  • What kind of content interests the user?
  • Are they in the decision-making stage? If yes, what brands are they comparing?
  • Do they want current stories for the particular search?
  • Do they prefer image or video-based content?

These answers will help determine the content type. It also defines the structure the end-user wants.

Identify the Keywords Relevant to your Search

Based on the intent of the user, you need to find relevant keywords that you can use. It will help improve the targeting, thus leading to better conversions. 

There are three ways to find useful phrases. 

#1 Keywords You Plan to Target With Existing Content

The first thing to consider is the content or feature that works for the keyword you plan to use. It will help you craft the content type that works best for the users searching for this phrase. Your piece fails to rank high when it is either irrelevant to the users or does not contain the high volume keyword. 

#2 Keywords You Wish to Rank for New Content

If you are still planning a new content piece, we suggest a thorough SERP analysis at the start. It will help you identify topics and the existing content gaps. You will be aware of the reader’s intent for a particular keyword. This will help you work on content that is informative and relevant. It will also help determine the content type, the feature that your keyword is likely to rank on, and how to best use the analysis results. 

Optimization is way easier when you have the analysis results in hand. 

#3 Keywords Related to your Website’s Industry/Niche

What new opportunities does your industry pose? A detailed SERP analysis offers insights into new content topics and trending keywords. Apart from working on a new web page, it will also help with backlinks and better off-page SEO techniques.

Step #2 SERP Analysis: Google SERP Features

A detailed SERP analysis also helps understand the SERP features that you get on searching the key phrase.

For example, you searched the keyword, dog hostels near you, in the search bar. It will immediately display the local results with directions and addresses. The local listings will top the SERP charts. 

If you are searching the keyword, how to find a good dog hostel?, then SERP displays mixed results. It could have ads that tell you about good dog hostels near you along with organic content that offers tips and advice.

After thorough research of the keywords, it is essential to study the user’s intent. Once you have the results, identify the SERP features displayed for the keywords relevant to your niche. You have already classified the keywords for existing, and new content. Now, you need to check what kind of results you get for these keywords. 

If the organic results are prominent for the keyword, then you can start using it for your next piece. If you notice that lots of ads are displayed for a keyword, then look for other content opportunities(possibly long-tailed keywords). You can get new ideas or options to improve your web page’s rank.

The two main categories that will help you improve your offering, and feature better on the results page include- People also search and related searches.

People Also Search

This is the portion where you can get content ideas for your new blog or guest post. You will get an insight into what information people find useful. These topic ideas link to the search made by the user. 

Analyze it in-depth, and you will notice the gaps that exist between the information available and the content the user wants.  Closing the gap can increase your rankings.

Related Searches

The bottom-most part consists of the related searches tab. Here, you will link to keywords or phrases that people use for this niche. You will also know how these keywords fare. You can determine the personal score as well as the difficulty metrics for these keywords. It will help you identify the right phrases, content ideas, and topic structure to follow for your next piece. 

Step #3 SERP Analysis: Ranking Factors

The ranking factors determine whether a page should enter the first page of the search results or not. To reach the top spot, you must optimize the content to meet the SERP criteria. Here we will discuss the top ranking factors that you should consider when devising an SEO strategy.

SERP Analysis: Page URLs

URLs are the web address for the page, specifying both the location of the web page. The URL must be readable, short, and concise. They should contain less than 2083 characters. 

URLs help improve the readability, ranking, and linking ability of the website. It is an anchor text used as a link inside blogs and web pages. It also helps define the sitemap and structure the website better.

SERP Analysis: Site Links

If you want intuitive navigation for your users, then you should include sitelinks. They are hyperlinks that connect you to the subpages of the website. Using these links, the users can easily walk through the website. The sitelinks are displayed only when they are optimized for the search engines and are relevant to the user’s queries.

  • External Site Links

Whether you link your website on another site or you link another site on yours, it is known as an external site link. You can analyze and find all the external site links of the SERP by searching for all the links that start with <a href =”website.com”> code. You can even check using the outbound link checker tool. External links can improve your website’s authority and credibility. 

  • Internal Site Links

When you link a content piece to another on the same domain, it is called an internal site link. You need to follow the best practices of internal linking so that you don’t ruin the user experience. 

SERP Analysis: Titles Or Meta Titles

The title tag provides the headline for the web page. It concisely tells you what the content is all about. When devising the title, you should make it short, concise, usable, and readable. You should include the primary keyword in the title tag. If there is enough space, then add secondary keywords too. The approximate length of the title tag should be around 50-60 characters. 

SERP Analysis: Descriptions

This offers a complete description of the content. It tells you in minimum words what you can expert, and whether or not it is relevant to the user.

  • SERP Description

This description is mentioned by the Google algorithm after having searched for relevant results and displayed them to the user. In some cases, the algorithm showcases a featured snippet while in other cases, they show the entire content in the search result page itself. This description is slightly different from the Meta description. It is entirely based on the Machine Learning algorithm developed by the search engine. 

  • Meta Description

It is an HTML element that summarizes the topic to help the users understand whether or not it is relevant to their search. It is best if you can write the descriptions within 160 characters. Though long descriptions are allowed, Google may truncate them and showcase only the first 160 characters. 

SERP Analysis: Meta Property

The open graph meta tags can help improve the CTR and conversion rate for your content. OG type helps the users know the content category you have written in here. 

Open Graph allows sharing of content between third-party websites and Facebook. This allows smooth sharing, a better understanding of the content, and improved conversions. All the essential information is sent via the OG. As a result, the title and description are essential for the same.

  • Meta OG:Title

You get an insight into the content through this. The title describes the content type, the topic, and what you will get from the text. If it matches the user intent, it will automatically lead to clicks.

  • Meta OG: Description

It talks more about the content. It talks more about the content. It tells you what the contents of this blog or article are. In some cases, you will get all the elements included, inside the description. 

SERP Analysis: H1 Tags

This tag describes the main topic for the content. Make it unique, readable, and in sync, with the content, you are writing. Never add the H1 tag around an image as the search engine may not understand it. Eventually, your rankings will suffer. Write a headline with 60 characters(60 is what Google displays for most browsers) at the most. Avoid using multiple H1 tags.

SERP Analysis: H2 Tags

H2 tag can guide the user to a relevant part of the page. The text will be larger in appearance than regular content, but it is not as large as the H1 text. H2 impacts the intuitiveness of the page as well as the ease of navigation. If you are writing 1000 word content, then there should be at least four H2s to boost your SEO outcomes. 

SERP Analysis: H3 Tags

If you want to work on a subheading for a particular portion of the topic, then you need to use H3. They act as subheadings to h2 and are comparatively smaller in appearance than h2 tags. You need to use relevant keywords in the h3 tags. The idea is to make them readable and intuitive for the users. 

SERP Analysis: H4 to H6 Tags

If you are working on long-form content, then it is wise to divide your content into as many subheadings as possible. The H4 to H6 help optimize your content and proof them with subheadings. It improves readability and enhances the usability of the page. 

SERP Analysis: Image Alt Tags

Alt tags are alternative text to the images. They convey what the image represents in text format. It makes the content accessible to visually impaired users and improves the overall user experience. You should limit the alt tags to 125 characters. Make sure you use a focus keyword along with a secondary keyword to write your alt tag.

SERP Analysis: Links

Link building is key to optimizing your content efficiently for increased rankings. You should link your site to high authority and renowned websites. An increase in the number of backlinks suggests higher authority for your webpage. 

  • Internal Links

Internal links are the URLs that connect one part of the webpage to the other. If you have added a blog link to a web page, then it is known as internal linking. This optimizes the content and increases your chance of ranking higher. 

  • External Links

When you link another website or blog on your web page, then it is known as external links. The outbound links are an essential SEO strategy that improves your website’s authority and increases its visibility. 

SERP Analysis: Lists

  • Ordered Lists

As the name suggests, there is a certain order using which the elements in the content are represented. They have often numbered lists. Steps in a process are part of the ordered list.

  • Unordered Lists

When the elements inside a list are relational and don’t have a defined order, then they are unordered lists.

SERP Analysis: Tables

SERP analysis is also a great way to collect comparison data or information that can be presented in the form of tables. Many times this gives insights into what products, features, or data points, competition is writing about in their content. This information can often be collected in the form of Table captions and table headers.

Step #4 SERP Analysis: Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) Levels

SERP Analysis: Domain Authority (DA)

The Domain Authority score has been specially developed by Moz. It helps predict the likelihood of a website getting ranked on the SERP and gives info about how much domain authority level.

The scores range from 0 to 100, with 100 given to websites that can to get higher ranks on SERP. 

To determine the domain authority, you check

  • The total number of linking root domains
  • The total number of backlinks 
  • The relevance of the keywords used in backlink anchor texts
  • The keyword ranks
  • The spamming rate

If your website has a large number of quality backlinks, then you will get a good DA score. Along with helping you analyze your DA score, it also helps you determine the DA score for the competition. It is an excellent metric for competition analysis. 

SERP Analysis: Page Authority (PA)

This is also a score developed by Moz which determines the likelihood of your page getting ranked on SERP and also gives information about how much that particular page has authority. If you are inching towards 100, it means you may get a better rank on SERP. There are more than 40 factors that contribute to page authority

While page authority does motivate you to rank better, it is a relative metric. You can use it mostly for comparative analysis and not for an absolute understanding of your rank position. 

Step #5 SERP Analysis: Backlink Profile

If you want to improve your rankings, a detailed backlink profile analysis is essential. Your website’s credibility enhances when you get backlinks from trusted websites. It means that the high-ranking websites are advocating your services. They are endorsing your business to the relevant audience. 

Total Number of Backlinks

You will need to analyze the total number of root domains linked to your website. There are automated tools that allow you to identify the total number of backlinks, along with the quality of these links. These tools offer quality indicators that help determine if the backlink is contributing to the authority or not. If the site contains links from credible websites, then it automatically improves the website’s ranking. The thorough competition analysis and identification of high authority websites in your domain is the first step towards better linking. 

  • Total Number of Follow Backlinks

This is where the real SEO juice lies. If you have maximum follow backlinks, then it adds credibility and improves website reach. It also helps your business grow in your niche. 

  • Total Number of NoFollow Backlinks

You should count the total number of no-follow backlinks. They do link your website but, the number is an indication to search engines that they need not crawl these links. As a result, the no-follow tags add little value to your website.

  • Total Number of Text Backlinks

Clickable texts are called anchor text. You add a URL to a keyword or select phrases that will link to another website or web page. It helps improve the relevance of the content and boosts your search engine rankings.

  • Total Number of Image Backlinks

If you are linking images to another part of the website or to another webpage, then you should count these backlinks. Analyzing how the competition is ranking their website ahead of yours requires a complete understanding of their link-building strategy. 

Total Number of Backlinks According to their Authority Score

The authority score is used to determine the impact of the backlinks on a web page. The metrics used to calculate the score include referring IPs, follow and no follow links, number of outbound links, referring IPs, and referring subnets.

  • Page Authority over 70 
  • Page Authority between 50-69 
  • Page Authority between 30-49 
  • Page Authority between 0-29 

Total Number of Referring IP

This showcases the IP address of all the backlinks on your website. You will know how many backlinks are present on your website from a single IP address.

Total Number of Referring Unique Domains

External websites that refer people to your web page are known as referring to unique domains. If there is only one site referring to your target audience, then you have one unique referring unique domain. If more websites refer to your page, then you will gain more credibility online. Analyzing this aspect will help increase your search engine rankings and place you on the first page.

Anchor Text Keyword Frequencies

The anchor text is the exact keyword for which you want to rank your website. The frequency of the keyword and the anchor text helps determine how credible your content is. It also helps rank that particular keyword for your content. It is an excellent way to improve your SERP. 

How to do SERP Analysis with Outranking.io SERP analysis tool?

While all of the above seems like a lot of work and a shit ton of things to remember, there is an easier way. We built Outranking.io to solve this challenge by automating SERP analysis. Outranking turns your hours of research into a few minutes and gives you actionable insights, which you can use right away to create and rank content. Start SERP Analysis today for free.

There are some paid and free SERP analysis tools that have some limited functions such as “SERP Analysis MOZ”, “AHREFS SERP Analysis”, and “SPYFU SERP Analysis” tools. Those tools are not built for a complete SERP Analysis and they can help you in some aspects.

If you need a complete SERP analysis tool you can try Outranking.io

Outranking free SERP analysis tool helps you to identify content ideas and write SEO content that ranks. AI-powered SERP analysis tool helps to build outlines, rewrite or create the content in minutes.