SERP Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide

At the heart of every winning SEO strategy is an in-depth SERP analysis. It’s one of the first things you should do to improve your site’s rankings, and without it, you can spend a lot of time on tasks that don’t move the needle. 

If you’re already working on your site’s SEO strategy, it’s likely you’re already carrying out some SERP analysis, even if you don’t realize it. And if you’re not, it’s time to get started!

What is SERP Analysis?

SERP analysis is the process of analyzing the top results for target keywords to understand what kind of pages appear in search engine results page (SERP) results and what strategies the top ranking sites are using. Armed with this knowledge, you can create an SEO strategy that applies similar methods to your website, aiming to rank on the first page of Google. 

Why is SERP Analysis important?

When you conduct a SERP analysis, you gain insights into three key areas to inform your SEO strategy:

  • Keyword Analysis: Seeing which keywords bring up successful competitors helps you to choose the most appropriate target keywords.
  • Audience Analysis: Reviewing the types of content ranking on page one (i.e., videos, products, blogs, etc.) helps you to understand what searchers want and create content to suit.
  • Competitor Analysis: Analyzing what the top pages are doing teaches you what works for a top-ranking page and how to apply it to your own.

How to do SERP Analysis: Step-by-Step

Conducting a SERP analysis typically follows these 4 steps:

  1. Choose target keywords & assess suitability
  2. Examine the search engine results for opportunities
  3. Analyze the top-performing sites
  4. Create a strategy to outrank competitors

We’ll walk you through each of these steps below.

1. Identify target keywords

If the keyword has a low search volume or high keyword difficulty, you can put a lot of work into optimizing your content that doesn’t bring you any meaningful results in traffic or rankings.

You also need to review the keyword’s search intent to ensure it is a good fit for your content, which will increase the chances of ranking for the keyword and converting traffic that comes with it.You can use Wincher’s Keywords Overview and Keyword Explorer tools to find this data, as well as other important metrics to help you identify the best target keywords, depending on whether you want to boost underperforming keywords or target new keywords.

Underperforming keywords

Open Keywords Overview to review current rankings for your tracked keywords and sort by the position column to quickly identify underperforming keywords. To find keywords that have experienced the biggest drop in rankings, change the position column’s sorting preference to Change.

wincher keyword overview

Note: You can toggle on/off columns here by clicking the Settings button on the top right of your results.

This report provides you with metrics on the keyword difficulty, search volume and search intent for each keyword so you can decide if the keyword is worth carrying out SERP analysis on.

New keywords

If you want to target new keywords, your keyword research starts in Keyword Explorer.

wincher keyword explorer SERP Analysis

Once you’ve entered a seed keyword, you’ll see a list of related keywords with their search intent, search volume, keyword difficulty and SERP previews.

If you have a specific page you want to optimize, you can filter this list by search intent to find keywords that will match the intent for your page.

wincher SEO search intent

Once you’ve found your keyword to target, it’s time for an in-depth SERP analysis.

2. Examine the SERP

Examining the first search engine results page allows you to:

  • Confirm your content is similar to the top results.
  • See if the top results align with the keyword’s search intent.
  • Identify SERP feature opportunities.

Depending on how competitive the keyword is, you might find that the top results don’t actually align very well with the search intent and topic.

For example, if you search “mindfulness tips for beginners” and the top results are pages related to the benefits of meditation, this is an opportunity for you to publish more relevant content and outrank the existing SERP results.

Featured snippets, local packs and knowledge panels often feature on Google’s search results pages, and they tend to have a higher click-through rate, providing unique opportunities to rank on the first page.

In your SERP analysis, you could identify a featured snippet that doesn’t align well with the target keyword. By creating a section that answers the question directly in your own content, you can “win” the snippet and rank at the top of page one.

3. Analyze SERP Competitors

Knowing who you’re up against is crucial when assessing your chance to rank for a particular keyword. You can identify your SERP competitors and find detailed insights using SERP preview in our Keyword Explorer tool.

wincher SERP Analysis

SERP preview lists all pages that rank in the top 10 on the first search engine results page for your chosen keyword. These are your main SERP competitors.

This report provides data on the word count, load speed, domain strength, backlinks and referring domains for each result, making it easy to determine how likely you are to rank for this keyword.

Once you know who is ranking at the top of the SERP and their key metrics, you can dig deeper by visiting the pages to review their content.

Is their content longer or more detailed? Do they answer the user’s question thoroughly? Does it include headers, bullet points, and images to break up text?

Make a note of whatever you find to use in the next step.

4. Create Your Strategy

Now you’ve completed your SERP analysis, it’s time to create a strategy to outrank your competitors. 

If your competitors have a higher domain strength, focus on building links, whereas if your competitors have richer content, focus on on-page optimization. It’s likely that your SERP analysis will uncover several areas you need to work on to get to the first page, so use your findings to create an action plan that brings results.

If you’re trying to boost underperforming keywords, you can quickly compare your findings with your own pages from the On-Page SEO tab in Keywords Overview.

wincher seo on-page checker

Once you find an area that needs work, you can review our recommendations to add to your strategy to maximize your chances of ranking.

wincher seo on-page checker opportunities

SERP Analysis Tips

Even with a good plan and the right tools, you’ll likely encounter some obstacles during your SERP analysis. Here are our top tips to make sure you get the most out of it.

SERPs are volatile

Search engine results can change frequently, influenced by factors like algorithm updates, new content, and changing user behaviors, so regular monitoring is key. Set a schedule to do SERP analysis regularly, like every month or every couple of months, to stay up-to-date with changes and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Competitors aren’t always competitors

Sometimes, the websites that rank for your target keywords might not be direct business competitors but still dominate the SERPs due to their authority. You should focus on analyzing niche-specific competitors who share your target audience and business model for more relevant insights.

SERPs may not be accurate

Your search results might vary depending on where you (or your customers) are located, making it difficult to understand how your site performs nationally or globally. They are also often personalized based on the user’s past behavior, so you might not see the same as what others see.You can combat this by using an SEO analysis tool, like our Keyword Explorer, to give you a clearer picture of how your site ranks for specific locations without personalization.

Too much data

SERP analysis can produce a lot of data, which can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to SEO. Start by focusing on a few key metrics that are most relevant to your goals. As you get more comfortable, you can gradually start to incorporate more data points into your analysis.

Ready to take SERP analysis to the next level?

Whether you want to boost existing content or create new content as part of your strategy, our Keyword Explorer tool provides detailed SERP previews and keyword data to carry out in-depth SERP analysis. Start your 7-day free trial today and get access to everything you need for data-driven results that drive revenue to your business.

SERP Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide

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