Posted December 17, 2012 11:17 am by with 4 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page post comes from our Search Marketing Channel sponsor

It was written by’s VP of Client Services, Greg Shuey.

A lot of SEOs still believe that setting an SEO strategy is as simple as performing site optimization, maybe adding some content to the site (landing pages or blog posts), and then link building like a mad man. Putting heavy emphasis on link building used to work for SEO because the algorithms would consider external anchor text links as credible sources of tying together content and keywords.

In this post, I’d like to address a component of strategy setting that is often overlooked or completely ignored and can have a massive impact on your ability to rank well in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and drive revenue for your business. We are going to be discussing gaining insight from SERP analysis.

Before setting or revising an SEO strategy, it is important to understand what the SERP landscape looks like and try to understand what it might take content-wise to compete.

What do I mean by SERP analysis and SERP landscape? When I talk about SERP analysis, I am referencing the practice of analyzing a search engine results page to determine what types of web pages and what forms of content are ranking. In the image below, you can see that a few product pages are ranking and a bunch of review pages are ranking.


When I talk about SERP landscape, I’m talking about learning if and when universal search comes into play and what media sections (images, video, products, news, etc) show up. In the image below, you can see that the first thing to show up is a news section.


Now that we understand the difference between the two, let’s dive in.

SERP Analysis

In my opinion, SERP analysis should be performed on all head keywords in addition to some longer tail or related keywords that are uber important to your business.

For, this may include:

• SEO agency
• Search Engine Optimization
• Online marketing

Again, the whole point of this activity is to get a feel for what types of web pages and forms of content are ranking for the keywords you are going after. Here’s what I’m looking for:

Are informational pages ranking?
Are blog posts ranking?
Are landing pages ranking?
Are digital assets (eBooks, white papers, infographics, etc) ranking?
Are product pages ranking?
Are home pages ranking?
Are deep pages ranking?

What I’m ultimately looking for are trends. If mostly deep pages are ranking and happen to be informational vs lead generation pages, Google might be favoring that type of content. When strategizing, it may be in my best interest to push a deep page that is built out to attract individuals seeking information on what I sell, then work to move them into the funnel once they consume my content.

SERP Landscape

In addition to analyzing the types of web pages and forms of content that are ranking for important keywords, you should be looking to see if any queries are triggering universal SERPs. Maybe one of your keywords brings up a video or news section. Wouldn’t you like to be visible there as well?

Let’s take the iPad Mini as an example. When I perform a search for iPad Mini, I get news, shopping, and image results all on page one. This tells me that in addition to working to get one of my web pages showing up, I need to get my images optimized and showing up, put some product listing ads together, as well as putting together a press release and syndicating it to the major news outlets. This is true analysis and execution!


In closing, being able to properly analyze the SERPs a well as understanding what the landscape of each SERPs looks like can be a huge competitive advantage to your business. It will not only help you put together a killer SEO strategy, but a well rounded content marketing strategy .

In my next post, I will be discussing how to brainstorm content pieces to take advantage of the insights you gained from your research.

Greg ShueyAbout the Author

Greg Shuey is the VP of Client Services for, a leading online marketing agency located in Utah. Greg runs the day to day operations of the client services team and guides SEO strategy for all clientele.

  • Wow, that’s interesting. Nothing of mine ranks for anything…not really sure why that is. Guess I”ll try to look into it a bit more. :/

  • You’ve helped me a lot in understanding how this SERP works. I was a bit confused with how some keywords gives different results of products and reviews etc. Now I understand SERP better. Thanks!

  • So glad to find this. Thank you for this guidance!

    If I may ask, how to you account for regional and history-targeting variations in the SERPs? Do you use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool in AdWords, or is there a more convenient way?

  • This is really good info and it shows how important keyword research is in SEO. Infact, this is something that people usually skim over when considering their competition. If Google favors news sites there’s probably no way to get a product page in the results. However, if you had a news site or timestamped blog you could probably get a reasonable rank – or just look for another keyword set.