It was written by SEO.com’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.
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 SEO.com, 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.
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.
About the Author
Greg Shuey is the VP of Client Services for SEO.com, 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 SEO.com clientele.