In this guide, the importance of conducting a SERP analysis is analyzed. It is indeed necessary in order to choose the right keywords to target. Using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, two core metrics: Keyword Difficulty and Traffic Potential, can be used to get a top-level overview of the SERP and determine whether further investigation is warranted. Generally, it is best to look for queries with low keyword difficulty and high traffic potential, which will be the most lucrative opportunities. If a query falls into the “high effort, low reward” quadrant, it may not be worth the effort.
When investigating a keyword’s ranking difficulty, Domain Rating (DR) is one of Ahrefs’ most widely used metrics. 64.9% of SEOs pay attention to DR when analyzing their chances to rank. It may be easier for high-DR sites to rank on Google, but it is possible to outrank higher DR sites. To maximize chances of appearing on the SERP, it is recommended to look for pages ranking in the top 10 with the same DR or lower. This should be combined with assessing the estimated traffic to determine whether the effort is worth the reward.
DR plays an important role in SERP analysis, however, links are also important for ranking on Google, as they are one of eight confirmed ranking factors. We can use KD to give an indication of how many links are necessary to rank, although this will vary from site to site. Examining the lower end of the SERP, the sixth result has eight domains, which should be achievable for most businesses. However, estimated traffic for the sixth result is lower than expected at 851. We must consider search intent to determine the feasibility of ranking on the SERP.
Search intent is the primary reason for an online search and is important to consider when conducting a SERP analysis. Different types of content dominate different SERPs, so it is important to analyze the SERP to determine the dominant search intent and determine the best way to compete. For example, the SERP for ‘how to draw a picasso face’ is dominated by video content and the SERP for ‘how to leash train a dog’ is dominated by blog posts, but has a video SERP feature.
Analyzing search intent is essential when looking to compete on a SERP. Content quality is also an important factor, especially in Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topics such as medical advice, where content must be created or reviewed by doctors. High-quality sites such as Wirecutter, backed by The New York Times, can also have a large impact on SERP analysis. It is important to consider whether you have the resources to compete with them. Lastly, it is also beneficial to check for other opportunities, such as SERP features, that may be available.
SERP features are any type of result on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that is not a traditional organic search result. Ahrefs’ Site Explorer can be used to identify SERP features, and they can be useful for competitor analysis or to understand which SERP features a website ranks for. Featured snippets can provide more SERP real estate and can drive more traffic than a standard organic result. Video SERP features can also be useful as they could potentially leapfrog a website with a high Domain Rating (DR). Therefore, targeting SERP features is a valuable SEO strategy if the resources are available.
Conducting a SERP analysis can be made easier by using Keywords Explorer to provide an overview of the key metrics to consider. Asking questions such as whether there are current competitors, what opportunities are available, and what resources are available can help determine the chances of cracking the SERP. Individuals with more questions or experience with SERP analysis can reach out to the author on Twitter.
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