Why SERP Analysis is Crucial for SEO (Step by Step Guide)

Why SERP Analysis is Crucial for SEO (Step by Step Guide)

Why SERP Analysis is Crucial for SEO (Step by Step Guide)

There’s a popular misconception about keyword research: that the process ends when we’ve found the ideal balance between search volume and keyword difficulty.

Newsflash: no, it doesn’t end there.

There’s this thing called SERP analysis, which is an inseparable part of your keyword research, and if done correctly, can be a true game-changer.

In short, SERP analysis means to check the results you get after you search for relevant keywords and decide if you’re going to optimize for these keywords based on your chances of beating the competition.

I’m not over-exaggerating when I say that it actually doesn’t matter if you’re 100% sure that you’ve found a great keyword with a reasonable search volume and level of competition.

If you skip the search results analysis, it can still be a huge miss that causes you to lose money or time, or both.

I’ve rounded-up the most important aspects of a SERP competitor analysis in 3 points:

  1. Finding the right keywords
  2. Understanding your competition
  3. Doing SERP competitor analysis

Let’s go!

Finding The Right Keywords

Wow, I found the right keywords for my website, they are not too hard to rank for and their aggregated search volume should bring me a lot of relevant traffic! But wait, look at the SERP. The results are different from what I would want to rank in. Oh, it looks like the search intention behind them isn’t what my customers would expect.

Yes, this can happen.

Here’s a simplified example that does not take the metrics into account.

Let’s say you’re optimizing a product landing page for a keyword research tool. Instinctively you may consider “keyword research” to be one of the keywords you’re going for.

But then look what happens on the 1st SERP:

All results lead to blogs and guides on keyword research.

The obvious intention behind this search query is to find free information, and not to buy a product.

If you want to rank for the correct user intention, you’re going to need a different search term. In this case, your best move is to include the word “tool” in your phrase.

The same applies the other way round.

Skipping SERP analysis is a common mistake when doing local SEO keyword research too.

A food blogger reviewing New York pizza restaurants won’t find it useful to rank their article for online pizza delivery services for the same reason as in the first example – the intention mismatch.

SERP analysis basically shows you what users mean when they search for something and it eliminates the need to blind-guess the search queries.

Taking a simple look at the search results for a particular keyword is enough to understand whether it’s relevant or not.

Understanding Your Competition

Let’s focus on your competition now.

What you’re aiming at is to rank on the 1st SERP or at least at the top of the 2nd SERP.

The CTR study chart below shows the average CTR on the 1st and 2nd SERPs. The stats for the top positions on the 2nd SERP are a bit higher compared to those of the last positions from the 1st page.

Turns out it’s not such a bad idea to appear on the second page of Google after all (as long as you nail the top spot).

However, your #1 priority is to have as many engaged organic users as possible by ranking high for similar middle and long-tail keywords in multiple SERPs.

This is what we’ll try to discover now about your competition.

To analyze properly, you’ll need a lot more data than what shows in the search results, that’s why free tools come in handy.

Back in the days there weren’t too many keyword research tools that included SERP analysis. One of the pioneers was KWFinder, and it’s their tool that I used to research “best pizza in new york”.

Thanks to the SERPChecker integration, I can analyze:

  • Link profile strength (LPS)
  • Domain Authority (DA)
  • Page authority (PA)
  • Citation Flow (CF)
  • Trust Flow (TF)
  • Facebook shares (FB)
  • Alexa Rank
  • Number of external backlinks
  • Referring Domains (RD)
  • Referring IP Addresses (RI)

Check what all of these metrics mean here.

Now, let’s talk about Moz. As you see, a bunch of the metrics above refer to them.

These guys produce a range of wildly popular SEO tools and their metrics are still among the most used by SEO managers who want to calculate the authority of websites.

As we all know, the URL link profile remains one of the top three ranking factors. By having all this data you’ve got a chance to outrank high-authoritative sites which have strong backlinks even if you don’t have any backlinks.

All you need to do is produce super relevant and well optimized content. Be useful, offer value and Google will pick you up! That’s the magic of the Google algorithm.

If you don’t work with Moz, you can still check their metrics directly in Google SERP for free with the MozBar extension available for Chrome.

Here’s a glimpse:

Not bad, right?

In a nutshell, the strongest benefits of running a SERP competitor analysis are evaluating your chances of dominating the organic search, and what’s even more important, understanding the search intent behind a keyword, which will give you additional reasons to optimize for it.

Having said this, it’s time to move on to the real action.

Doing SERP Competitor Analysis

You have 2 options:

  1. Analyze Google Search results manually
  2. Use keyword tools with integrated SERP analysis

Doing SERP Analysis in Google Search

It’s all done directly in Google Search and you get to see the results in the same way as any other user. What you’ll do differently than the average searching user, however, is to employ various SEO extensions to get an overview of the most important metrics around your competition – their DA, PA or the number of external links.

Keep in mind that since Google has updated their local results, you won’t be able to inspect the SERP for specific locations unless you use specialized tools or know a couple of hacks.

You can use Nightwatch Search Simulator for instance. It’s a free Chrome extension that helps you simulate search engine queries on Google and compare the rankings of your website to these of your competitors.

Using keyword tools

In order to analyze location-specific SERPs, we have to use either keyword research tools with SERP analysis for selected locations or tools designed to generate accurate search results for these locations.

The few I mentioned earlier – KWFinder (Discount Coupon) or SEMrush (SEMrush Free Trial) can do this and I noticed that Long Tail Pro has incorporated this feature too.

In my opinion, the biggest added value of these tools is that you can do everything in one place. Not need to manually inspect the Google Search or use another tool and stretch your attention.

More and more keyword tools include this single dashboard organisation, so thumbs up for their developers.

They must have realized how important it is to do the SERP competitor analysis in the process of keyword research, so we’ll surely see even more improvements in the future.

Conclusion

To sum it up, here’s a list of things to keep in mind during a SERP analysis:

  • The SERP analysis helps you decide if you’re targeting a relevant keyword
  • Additional SEO metrics will help you analyze your competitors and if you have the potential to beat them
  • Inspect location-specific search results. It is a good idea to use keyword research tools which offer SERP analysis
  • Google SERP features such as answer boxes, featured snippets, AdWords, etc. may lower the CTR of organic results

I hope that this piece gave you new ideas on how to improve your keyword research. If there’s one thing that’s absolutely fundamental to take from this article, it’s to remember that SERP analysis isn’t only about your competition – it’s a crucial step of your own keyword research process.

Maros Kortis

Head of Marketing at Mangools

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Content Mapping Made Simple: A Step-By-Step Guide

Content Mapping Made Simple: A Step-By-Step Guide

Content Mapping Made Simple: A Step-By-Step Guide

The importance of content has been proven numerous times through various tests and “leaks” from Google on how their algorithms work.

However, not all content is important or relevant, that is why websites and their blogs need to have a clear structure and idea behind them.

Studies have confirmed that small businesses with blogs get 126% higher lead growth than small businesses without blogs. That is the reason why content mapping became an important process for every business.

But, what is content mapping?

Content mapping is a tool/process that helps businesses to understand their audience better. More precisely, it explains how to effectively guide potential customers through the customer journey.

The point of successful content mapping is to gather a bigger number of leads that will become buyers one day.

Advantages of Effective Content Mapping Strategy

Many businesses are not aware of the benefits they can get thanks to this method.

We would like to highlight 2 advantages that will help you make better results.

1. Meeting Your Customers

You will define the path which each customer takes before he does business with you.

On that “road”, they will show which needs, goals, and concerns they have.

Understanding the characteristics of your target audience will help you develop a better marketing strategy.

2. Better Sales

It doesn’t matter if you actively update content on your website.

If the number of sales remains the same, your strategy is not effective enough.

This method of work helps business owners make a catalog of their content.

First of all, you won’t duplicate the content that you have. Doing something like that is monotonous and it will have a negative impact on your potential buyers.

Besides that, it will show you which content is perfect for a certain stage of a sales funnel.

Publishing many things on your website daily will not guarantee you success. Each piece that you publish needs to have a purpose.

How to Develop Successful Content Mapping Strategy

Content production is a complex process. It is recommendable to surround yourself with quality people that will help you scale content production successfully.

You will have to use different methods to satisfy visitors in different stages of the funnel.

Anyway, there are 6 different steps that you need to go through that will help you use this tool successfully.

Develop a Buyer Persona

Getting to know your target audience is the first step that you need to take.

A buyer persona is an in-depth analysis of your ideal audience. It explains what your potential customers would want to see, know, and need.

There are several different things that you will discover thanks to this step:

  • Demographics – These are basic things such as gender, age, geographical location, family situation, etc. Many businesses focus too much only on demographics. Yet, these pieces of information are not enough to make a clear picture of your audience.
  • Professional Role – You will find out the industry, current job title, the size of the company they work at, etc.
  • Goals and Values – This part is especially important. You have to find out which things your customers value the most. When you understand their mentality and lifestyle, you will exactly know which things they want to see.
  • Their Reliable Sources – Your potential customers will probably have the same interests. This also means that they love similar books, blogs, individuals, etc. These pieces of information will allow you to target the so-called “look-a-like” audience.
  • Buying Habits – How much are they ready to spend? Do they hesitate a lot before they need to buy a certain product? Do they individually make the buying decisions?

You can design a buyer persona template on your own. Still, there are plenty of templates around the web that can make the entire process easier.

Create a Customer Journey Map

When you find out how your ideal audience looks like, the next step is to make a customer journey map. Each potential buyer will go through a purchase funnel before he buys a product that you offer.

There are 5 different stages of a sales funnel:

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Evaluation
  • Purchase
  • Post-Purchase

You will be able to document some details for each stage of the funnel.

For instance, you will find out which actions customers take, which thoughts and questions they have, in which stage they spend most of their time, etc.

All these pieces of information will tell you which content attracts your customers the most.

Pick the Best Type of Content for Each Phase of Customer Journey

Let’s now analyze the previous step in detail.

Awareness is the first phase that attracts first-time visitors to your brand.

Logically, they will have many questions before they decide to buy a product. This type of content includes:

  • Buying Guides
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Blog Posts
  • Social Media Posts, etc.

The next step is – Engagement!

Keep in mind that not every visitor is immediately going to buy some of your products. They won’t come back again if the content on your website is not interesting and engaging.

This type includes:

  • Interactive Content
  • Engaging Videos (Usually short, but with a valuable message)
  • Email Newsletters (Call your visitors to subscribe to your newsletters)
  • Blog Posts, etc.

Evaluation content is “located” in the middle of the purchase funnel. In this stage, customers are making the final decision. They will decide if your brand is good for collaboration or not.

This sort of content includes:

  • Reviews and Testimonials (It is recommendable to kindly ask previous customers to share their opinion about the product and customer service)
  • Landing Pages
  • Case studies
  • E-books, etc.

Finally – the next stage is Purchase.

In this stage, content needs to be completely optimized and convince potential customers to feel even more confident in their decision. For instance, “How-to” posts are good examples of that.

Purchase content mostly includes:

  • FAQs
  • Landing/Sales Pages
  • Free Trial Sign-Up Pages, etc.

Still, the purchase stage is not the last one. If you stop there, customers will think that your only intention was to sell the product, yes, we’re all driven by sales but people like to be treated nicely.

So, you need to give them something more that will be of value to them and show them that you care. That’s why post-purchase is the last stage on our list.

The examples of post-purchase content are:

  • Surveys
  • User Guides
  • Coupons (offer them a discount for the next purchase)
  • Email newsletters, etc.

You should also keep in mind that customer service is something that splits you from the masses. The market is more competitive than ever before.

Many webmasters will offer equally good products like yours. Yet, providing your customers with additional value is something that will convince them to get back and purchase once again.

They will appreciate your effort to make them feel more satisfied and comfortable.

Design a Catalog of Your Content

You have probably noticed that some examples are repeating in 2 or more sales’ funnel stages.

Well, before you start with mapping, it is crucial to get familiar with the entire marketing strategy.

In that way, you won’t create and publish duplicated things on your website. Publishing similar articles, videos, or anything else won’t cause a better conversion rate.

Do not forget to put even the smallest details in the catalog. For instance:

  • Title
  • URL
  • Category and Type
  • Conversion
  • Quality, etc.

Map the Content You Developed to Relevant Phases

After you made the catalog, it is the right time to start filling the content map. As mentioned, different sorts of contents are relevant for different stages.

There is one piece of advice that should be helpful. While it’s true that each phase works independently, they are still very much connected. Each phase needs to contain a “call-to-action”.

For example, if they’re reading an article closely related to one of your services, show them a lead magnet with a case study where you’ve provided that service. You can invite them to check out your social media pages, subscribe to your newsletter or simply offer them to check out another article on the subject.

However, all of that still doesn’t guarantee that everything you publish is going to bring good results. For instance, maybe your visitors would rather interact with video posts than with articles/blogs. However, that is something you will find out over time and will need to adapt to.

Check if Something Is Missing

This is a complex process and it takes time to develop a successful content mapping strategy. You have to be ready to learn from your customers. Still, you may make some gaps. If that happens, you have two different options.

The first one is to develop completely new content assets that will fill the gaps that you have made. The second is to once again go through the content catalog that you developed. Try to utilize things that you have in some other phases. For instance, try using videos in the engagement phase instead of in awareness, don’t be afraid to mix it up here and there. Testing never really stops and there is always room for improvement.

3 Useful Templates

Having the right tool for the job is of utmost importance, that’s why we’re always on the hunt to find those that will make our lives easier.

Here are three different guides with templates that you can use to create your own content mapping strategy:

By visualizing your strategy, you will have a clear picture of things that are working well, and more importantly, those that you need to fix.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a more of an all-rounder tool, my suggestion is to try out the SEMrush All-In-One SEO tool for free. This tool helps with SEO, keyword research, and content marketing as well.

You will be able to find out if your customers love the things that you publish or not. One more perk is that signing up for this tool is free!

What do you think? Is content mapping a useful tool for developing a successful marketing strategy? Will this process raise the number of product purchases?

Share your thoughts with us!

Nikola Banicek

Internet Marketing at Point Visible

 

 

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