Using Serp Analysis to Refine the Keyword Research Process

SERP analysis

The search engine rankings have changed. With the introduction of feature snippets and knowledge panels, ranking in the top position doesn’t always result in clicks. This is why checking the SERP results can help you get a better picture of the ranking potential of a keyword.

 In this article, we will look at the meaning of SERP analysis and how to use it to refine your keyword research process.

What is SERP Analysis?

SERP stands for Search Engine Result Page, the pages generated after a user submits a Google search query. SERP analysis involves studying the top search results to determine the strategies they use to rank there. 

This also gives you an idea of the relevance and competitiveness of your target keywords. The process will give you a better idea of a keyword’s competitiveness and opportunities.

Importance of SERP Analysis

There are several benefits of SERP analysis. These include:

Determine the Relevancy of a Keyword

By doing SERP analysis, you can determine whether a keyword is relevant to your site. You can decide if the keyword matches the search intent and whether the content you want to create will answer the search intent.

Determine If There Are Content Gaps

By checking the keyword on the SERPs, it’s possible to determine if there are specific content gaps that the top results aren’t covering. You can fill those gaps with great content to increase your ranking potential.

Measure the Keyword Difficulty

While many keyword research tools include a difficulty score, this figure isn’t always accurate. In fact, if you compare this score on different tools, you will see a great variation. 

Therefore, one of the most precise ways to measure the keyword difficulty is by manually checking the SERPs. This will provide you an idea of the content ranking well and if it’s possible to outrank them. Therefore, SERP analysis is one of the steps of competitor keyword analysis.

How Content is Displayed on SERPs

To determine the ranking potential of a keyword, you will need to understand the different kinds of results shown on the SERPs. These are:

These brief webpage excerpts are shown on top of the SERP page. They provide quick answers to the question that the user is searching for. This also means the person searching for that query may not need to click on the results to get their answer. Featured snippets can be in the form of:

  • Definitions
  • Lists
  • Paragraphs
  • Tables
  • People Also Asked
  • Steps

Make sure you understand how to optimize featured snippets.

Knowledge Panels

This information box appears on the SERPs responding to searches for people, places, things, or organizations. The information in the search box also includes an image, definition, and other details. Google only displays information that it considers to be from a verifiable source on the knowledge panel.

Infotrmation box on the SERPs


When you search for places, businesses, or local SEO queries, the SERPs will also include a map on the SERP. The map will be the first result if you use a mobile device. On the desktop site, it will appear on the right side. Some of the details shown on the map include the location, geographical information, relevant links, and reviews.

Video Carousels

Mobile users searching on Google often see a list-like result they can scroll through. This is the video carousel. The results often have a box with a thumbnail of the video, title, uploaded, and the link to the video.

Image Packs

Where Google thinks a visual image is the best way to address a search query, this will be displayed on the SERPs. The images are often included in a row at the top of the page. They can also be a block on the SERPs and include links to the images.

How to Do SERP Analysis 

These are the steps to follow when doing SERP analysis

Determine Your Relevant Keywords

Before you start your keyword research, you must determine your niche and seed keywords. This will give you an idea of the keywords your competitors are ranking for that you will be analyzing. You can use free keyword research tools to find keywords.

Consider all the keywords in your industry that you would like to target. One of the tips for Yelp local SEO is to include local keywords with the location name. There are also top but paid keyword tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to determine keywords that are worth pursuing. You can then analyze them using search volume and keyword difficulty score. 

Check the Search Intent

Now that you have found keywords that you think are relevant t your site and are worth going after, you will need to determine if their search intent aligns with your content creation goal. Look at your current keywords to determine what a searcher needs. Is it general information that there is a product they are searching for? 

Consider keyword search intent

Once you determine the search intent, you can answer the search query in your content. You can then optimize your content for the search intent.

Do a Competitor Analysis

As we noted earlier, one of the benefits of competitor analysis is determining if it’s possible to rank a phrase. When doing SERP analysis, you must pay special attention to sites ranking for a keyword to determine if you can beat them. Perform a content gap analysis to find areas you can capitalize on.

If you find that the sites ranking for the phrase have a domain of over 80, it can then be really hard to beat them. But if you notice that social media sites such as Linkedin and Quora rank on the top results, it can be easy to outrank them by creating better content. Some of the metrics to check when doing competitor analysis are:

  • Domain and page authority
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Average CTR of the top sites
  • Number of external backlinks
  • Link profile strengths analysis

Pay special attention to the type of content the top results have. This way, you can add a unique angle to your content.

Determine the Ranking Opportunities

Another reason you are doing SERP analysis is to determine if a keyword has ranking opportunities. On top of the organic results, we also saw other results on the SERP pages that you can take advantage of.

The featured snippet, People Also Ask, and Related Searches will also hint at what people are searching for. You can optimize your site for these SERP features so your page appears on these results. For instance, to optimize for featured snippets, use structured data for your pages, which can improve your page’s visibility.

Optimize Your Pages

Now that you have obtained the data necessary for ranking for a particular keyword, you must use it to optimize your pages for SEO. Some ways in which you can incorporate data from the SERPs into your content strategy include:

  • Focus on the SERPs you can outrank
  • Find sites that are linking to your competitors. You can reach out to them for backlinks.
  • Improve your title tags, meta descriptions, and other HTML tags.
  • Optimize your content for different SERP features
  • Create better content than your competitor
  • Create structured data 
Keep doing SERP analysis


By following the above steps, you can do SERP analysis to help you enhance your content and find content gaps to rank highly on the search engines. However, you should remember that SERP analysis isn’t a one-time event but an ongoing endeavor. Therefore, track your results, keep analyzing the SERP results, and improve your pages. With such measures, you will soon be headed to the top of the SERPs.

Benjamin is a writer with over ten years of experience in the content writing field. He holds a Bachelor's degree in  Journalism from Strathmore University. He writes on various niches such as product reviews, self-improvement, and making mone online. You can find him curled on his couch with a self-improvement book when he is not blogging.