What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (2023)

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Close of70% of all web trafficIt starts with a search engine query, so it's essential for businesses to optimize their website for search engine pages. A search engine results page (SERP) analysis is the process of examining the highest ranking websites for your target keyword.

A detailed analysis is an important part of the keyword research process andcontent writing. A SERP analysis not only helps content writers for their main keyword, but also provides insight into other valuable keywords to target.

SERP analysis is not reserved for people with advanced knowledge of data methods and algorithms. There are many SEO tools that help with the analysis process.

This guide covers the benefits of SERP analysis, teaches you how to perform one, and provides an overview of the best keyword research tool to use.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (1)

(Video) How To Do A SERP Analysis With Google To Bulletproof Your Keyword Research

What is SERP analysis?

SERP analysis is the study of the highest ranking pages that appear for a specific search keyword. While search engines may not reveal how their algorithm works, SERP analysis helps identify which SEO metrics are most important for ranking. By understanding what works for other sites, you can rank higher in Google and, in turn, get more organic traffic to your site.

Benefits of SERP analysis

Conducting a SERP analysis does much more than increase your organic search traffic. Can also:

  • Ensure keyword relevance:Keywords are a key factor in search engine optimization (SEO) and by extension rank high on Google. Doing a SERP analysis ensures you are using keywords that are relevant to your niche and gives you new keyword ranking opportunities.
  • Give you content ideas:Doing a SERP analysis will not only show you what is working, it will also show you what Google content is missing. You can collect content ideas that your competitors aren't testing to entice potential customers with copy that interests them the most.
  • Understanding your ranking probability– Some keywords, topics, and information are harder to rank for than others, especially if a user is just looking for a definition or a yes or no answer. As explored below, Google has a number of resources that can help users get quick fixes.

What constitutes a SERP?

Before going through a SERP analysis, it's helpful to understand the common components found on a Google search results page.

featured snippets

Snippets are the boxes of information that appear at the top of a SERP. Its purpose is to provide users with quick results for their search queries. GoogleExplainlet your system determine which web listings would provide the most relevant response to the user. It then renders that webpage as a fragment.

Snippets usually consist of lists, how-to steps, or simple definitions.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (2)

Featured snippet for the search "When was Google created?"

knowledge panel

Knowledge Panels appear to the right of a Google SERP, displaying essential facts and figures related to a person, place, or organization. These panels only appear from reputable sources on the subject. Knowledge boards sometimes include images if Google deems them relevant.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (3)

Knowledge Panel for the search "When was Google created?"

"People also ask" and "Related searches"

"People also ask" are boxes that appear on a SERP that contain questions commonly associated with the search query. They aren't just useful for users looking to learn more about a topic. You can also use them to get more keywords and content ideas.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (4)

"People also ask" checkbox for "How to change a tire" search.

(Video) What is A SERP | What Is A SERP Plan | Search Engine Result Pages

Similar to "People also ask", "Related Searches" displays popular user related searches for a topic or keyword. They are usually not in the form of a question, so it can be more work to find the right content angle for the keyword, but they can at least give you a good starting point.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (5)

"Related searches" box for the search "How to change a tire".

featured stories

Top stories appear when a user's search query has recently appeared in news articles. The publication source and publication time are included in each news article block. Google features news articles that provide clear, accurate and non-misleading information.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (6)

Main news of the search "Soccer game".


Other typical features you'll find on Google's SERPs include image and video bundles. Adding visuals to search queries helps give users more context, especially for searches that would benefit from a visual. Google's system uses an image filename, alttag, and URL to decide which images to place.

The first type of visuals are image packs. These are horizontal lines of images that appear just below the search bar.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (7)

Image pack for the search "dog breeds".

Video carousels have a drop-down list of videos that users can view. Along with each video's thumbnail, the carousel also includes its title, source, and hosting site. Typically, the first video that appears will also have a "key moments" feature that allows users to skip to the most important parts of the video. Similar to image packs, Google selects videos that it believes are relevant to the search query.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (8)

Featured video for the search "How to train your dog".

(Video) SERP Analysis Tool: Get a data-driven roadmap for creating new pages

Organic and paid results

Regarding the results that appear on Google's SERPs, the search engine offers two options: paid links and organic links. Paid links appear at the top of Google's SERPs, marked with the word "ad" so users are aware. Companies compete for these spots by bidding on keywords.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (9)

Paid results for search "Best cat food".

Organic results consist of unpaid links and are ranked based on relevance, usefulness and high quality content. How they produce organic results12% more clicksInstead of paid results, many companies choose to put their efforts into organic ranking.

What is a SERP analysis and why is it important? | compose.ly (10)

Organic results for the search "The best cat food".

How to perform a SERP analysis

Now that you know the benefits of running a SERP analysis and the key features to look for in a SERP, you can start the actual SERP analysis process.

1. Start with keyword research

Keyword research is a key step in SERP analysis. You can start the process by compiling a list of keywords you want to rank for, as well as those you'd like to rank for. Type them into Google and take a look at the first organic results that come up. When developing your keyword strategy, consider the following:

Keyword Search Terms

  • keyword focus- Your content should always have a focus keyword. This is the exact keyword you want the page to rank for. It should be the main focus of your keyword analysis.
  • Secondary keyword opportunities- High ranking pages usually rank for several additional keywords. Identify other related keywords that you can naturally incorporate into your content.
  • long tail keywords- A long-tail keyword doesn't have as much volume, but typically has a lower keyword difficulty than short-tail keywords. If your site is new, consider targeting long-tail keywords to start ranking faster.
  • keyword density- A common pitfall of content creation is keyword stuffing. Only use the exact keyword in your content when it naturally fits. Otherwise, search engines will penalize you.
  • anchor text- Building internal links is an important part of any content strategy. Identify potential internal links to your content and choose your focus keyword or long tail keywords as anchor text.

Analyze top ranking web pages to see how other sites incorporate potential keywords into their content. In what context are keywords used? Are they using terms that aren't already in your keyword list? When done correctly, this can lead to hundreds of keyword ideas for your website content.

Look at the highlighted boxes on the SERP to understand how users are searching for those keywords – the “People Also Ask” and “Related Searches” features are great for this. Is your keyword usage in line with what users are looking for, or is there another angle you could use?

Paid results demonstrate keyword popularity. If a lot of ads appear on the SERP, it's very likely that a lot of users are searching for that word. While this means a greater chance of web traffic, it also means you'll have to find new and unique ways to use your keywords.

2. Understand user search intent

While it's helpful to know which keywords really rank, you also want to understand the intent behind a user's search to ensure you're creating the right type of article or blog post. Search intent will also let you know which SERP features are likely to show up after performing a search.

There are four types of search intent:

(Video) How to Use Google Sheets for SERP Analysis

  • Informative:Informational users want to find information about a topic. SERPs with this intent often include featured snippets.
  • Navigation:Navigational intent refers to users looking for a specific website or business. Knowledge dashboards are commonly displayed with navigational surveys.
  • Commercial:Those with commercial intent are researching a particular product or service before making a purchase. Users will generally find both organic and paid results here.
  • Transactional:Searchers with transactional intent are ready to buy a product or service and look for the best deal. Shopping deals will almost always appear on results pages.

Knowing user intent allows you to create relevant content. For example, those searching for "the best cat food" are likely to have a commercial intent, based on the results displayed on Google. Therefore, for this keyword, it's best to create content with commercial intent, such as reviews or product guides.

3. Do a comparative analysis

A comparative analysis will show you how the quality of your content compares to your competitors. This step involves taking another look at your competitor's content, but this time looking at measures such as copy length, use of visuals, and overall structure of the content.

You can ask the following questions to help with this step:

  1. How is the content divided? Is the information easy to read and digest?
  2. What are the general issues being discussed about this topic?
  3. Could you integrate more useful images, videos, graphics or illustrations that appear in Google search images?
  4. What formats do sites use (such as lists, walkthroughs, or in-depth articles)?

A comparative analysis aims to identify opportunities for you. What can you contribute to the topic that others lack? Also, how can you improve your current content?

The best SERP analysis tools

Fortunately, there are a variety of SERP analysis tools you can use to help at various stages of the process. Using these tools can provide a richer perspective that unaided research cannot reveal.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

HeAhrefs Keyword Explorerhas a database of over 7 billion keywords, giving you an almost infinite number of keyword ideas to choose from. However, the tool does much more than just suggest keywords. It also looks at other keyword factors including search volume, keyword seasonality, and the difference between paid and organic clicks per keyword. Also, it lets you know how hard it would be to rank for a particular keyword among competitors.

This SERP tool also allows you to see the history that the top ranking pages have for a given keyword. More precisely, it has access to the backlinks, domain authority and traffic history of the web pages. Armed with this information, you can understand what makes a specific page perform better than others.

SERP checker

One of the best SERP tools,Mangools SERP Checker, focuses exclusively on competitor analysis. Like Ahrefs, you can view metrics like competitor domain and page authority, as well as traffic stats and number of backlinks.

What sets SERP Checker apart from similar tools is the ability to see how successful your competition is with SERP features, including featured snippets. You can see the type of information snippets from competing sites that Google finds most relevant and useful.

SERP Checker also lets you track competitors over time by providing a SERP report of their performance. This helps you decide which SERPs tend to change as new content becomes available. It's better to focus your efforts on trying to rank for these SERPs than to rank for SERPs that rarely change position.

SE Classification

SE Classificationis fully Google-centric and covers all metrics from Google SERPs. It is one of the few free SERP analysis tools, offering free access to twenty keywords before charging for additional services. You can track your site and competing sites in real-time as rankings change.

Plus, you can crawl your keyword results to Google Maps, which is essential for local SEO for businesses. Based on your ranking, you can find ways to improve your local SEO performance, such as finding local keyword data and local external backlinks.

Benefit from SERP analysis for your business

To develop SEO strategies, SERP analysis provides a gold mine of knowledge and data to create better organic content. Conducting a SERP analysis allows you to understand this information and optimize your website content to outperform competitors.

(Video) Step By Step SERP Analysis For 2023 | Rank On Top Of Competitors | SEO Master Series

To start your SERP analysis, consider which keywords and phrases you would like to rank high. You can then use a combination of your own search tools and SERP analysis to find gaps in current Google content and provide resources to users that stand out in a sea of ​​content.


What is SERP and why is it important? ›

Search Engine Results Page (SERP) The page that a search engine returns after a user submits a search query. In addition to organic search results, search engine results pages (SERPs) usually include paid search and pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

What are the 3 common elements for each result on SERP? ›

Three factors drive the appearance of Site Links in a SERP:
  • Type of query – Site Links appear mainly on branded terms.
  • Site traffic – Site Links are much more likely to appear on large branded sites with higher traffic.
  • Implementation of SearchAction anchor markup on the site.

What are the components of SERP? ›

The organic search results, query, and advertisements are the three main components of the SERP, However, the SERP of major search engines, like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Petal, Sogou may include many different types of enhanced results (organic search, and sponsored) such as rich snippets, images, maps, definitions, ...

What is the importance of being at the top of a SERP? ›

It is basically because most of the leads that inbound marketers generate are directly from search engines. So, the better your SERP is, the more potential your business has. Top SERP positions can reduce your advertising costs effectively. It has significant impacts on your social media marketing as well.

What is the full meaning of SERP? ›

A search engine results page (SERP) is the list of results that a search engine returns in response to a specific word or keyword phrase query.

What does SERP mean *? ›

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. When you do a Google search, this is the page that lists the results that you can click on. SERPs used to include just ten blue links, but now they include universal search features to best answer the users search.

What is an example of SERP? ›

Common examples of SERP features include Featured Snippets, Knowledge Panels, video carousels and image packs.

What are the two types of results you can find on SERP? ›

SERPs typically contain two types of content – “organic” results and paid results.

What are the different types of SERP results? ›

Basically, the SERP consists of three types of search results: organic results, paid results, and rich results enhanced with different features, such as images, videos, rating stars, etc.

How do you evaluate a SERP? ›

SERP analysis is a process of looking at the top-ranking web pages in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) in order to evaluate whether or not the particular keyword you want to rank for is relevant and to determine how hard it would be to outrank your competitors.

How many results does SERP have? ›

Google SERPs typically include seven to ten links to different webpages that are relevant to the user's query, along with additional information or images. Many SERPs contain paid ads at the top, followed by organic results underneath.

How do you target SERP features? ›

How to Win SERP Features
  1. Do keyword research to find SERP features opportunities.
  2. Make your content clear and answer the searcher's query.
  3. Implement structured data to help Google understand your content.
  4. Submit your sitemap to Google.
  5. Use a tool to optimize your content and track.
May 24, 2022

What is the best way to improve SERP ranking? ›

  1. Create & Manage Your Google My Business Account.
  2. Submit Your Sitemap to Google & Bing.
  3. Connect Your Social Media Accounts to Your Website.
  4. Optimize Your On-Page SEO.
  5. Create Engaging Content (Blogging, Whitepapers, Downloadable Assets)
  6. Use Paid Ads to Drive Traffic & Awareness.
May 25, 2021

Is a SERP a defined benefit plan? ›

There are a variety of possible SERP designs. Most commonly, they are designed either as defined benefit or defined contribution plans. A defined benefit SERP provides a benefit in the form of an annuity at retirement.

What does SERP stand for in business? ›

A supplemental executive retirement plan (SERP) is a set of benefits that may be made available to top-level employees in addition to those covered in the company's standard retirement savings plan. A SERP is a form of a deferred-compensation plan. It is not a qualified plan.

What is SERP answer box? ›

What is Google's Answer Box? In 2015, Google introduced a new rich featured snippet to their SERP results – the answer box. Google's answer box is a box at the top of the SERP that provides quick and easy answers to questions by featuring a snippet of information from one of the pieces of content on page one.

How does SERP work? ›

A Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP) is a deferred compensation agreement between the company and the key executive whereby the company agrees to provide supplemental retirement income to the executive and his family if certain pre-agreed eligibility and vesting conditions are met by the executive.

How do you use SERP features to inform your content strategy? ›

Instead of asking what you can do to rank for SERP features, ask what SERP features can do to inform your content strategy.
Top organic SERP features
  1. Knowledge Graph.
  2. Featured Snippet.
  3. Related Questions.
  4. Image Pack.
  5. Reviews.
  6. Video.
  7. In-Depth Article.
Jul 26, 2021

How do you stay on the top of SERP? ›

Most SEO experts use things like link building, social media platforms, and content marketing to achieve higher positions on SERPs.
Using SEO Strategies to Improve Where You Appear on SERPs
  1. Research your keywords. ...
  2. Target the right keywords. ...
  3. Understand the rankings. ...
  4. Track your rankings. ...
  5. Keep going.

What happens to my SERP if I quit? ›

Much like other tax-deferred retirement plans, SERP funds grow tax-free until retirement. If you withdraw your SERP funds in a lump sum, you'll pay the taxes at all once. If you decide to take those funds in monthly distributions, taxes will be deducted from each payment.

What are the key features of SERP? ›

SERP features are elements that appear on Google's search engine results page that go beyond the traditional “10 blue links”. Common examples of SERP features include Featured Snippets, Knowledge Panels, video carousels and image packs.

Is a SERP a good investment? ›

The SERP can accumulate significant income, making it a valuable tool for building your nest egg. Not to be confused with a Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plan (NQDC), when the employee defers their own compensation, the employer designates contributions to the executive in a SERP plan.

How can I improve my SERP? ›

How To Improve SERP Rankings Using On-Page SEO
  1. Research Targeted Keywords. Keyword research is huge in the world of marketing. ...
  2. Create Quality Content. ...
  3. Understand Search Intent. ...
  4. Optimize Meta Description and Title. ...
  5. Optimize Media and Images. ...
  6. Update Your Content Over Time. ...
  7. Get More Backlinks. ...
  8. Create Guest Posts.
Sep 26, 2022

What is SERP employee benefits? ›

A SERP is a non-qualified retirement plan offered to executives as a long term incentive. Unlike in a 401(k) or other qualified plan, SERPs offer no immediate tax advantages to the company or the executive. When the benefits are paid, the company deducts them as a business expense.

Is SERP income taxable? ›

Income Taxation: The benefits received under a SERP plan will generally be taxed to the employee as ordinary income when received. At that time, your business will receive an income tax deduction for the benefit paid to the employee.

What are the different types of SERP? ›

Basically, the SERP consists of three types of search results: organic results, paid results, and rich results enhanced with different features, such as images, videos, rating stars, etc.


1. The Art of Manual SERP Analysis
(Let's Talk SEO)
2. How to Analyze the SERPs with NLP
(SMA Marketing)
3. How to conduct Competitor SERP Analysis for SEO
(Launch Site Boost - SEO Agency)
4. SERP Analysis Tool in Rank Tracker
(SEO PowerSuite)
5. 10 Tips To Choose SERP Analysis Tools 2023
(Long Tail Pro)
6. How to use SERP analysis to create content?
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