Neil Patel

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How to Do SERP Analysis Like an Expert

A graphic saying "How To Do SERP Analysis Like An Expert."

What is a SERP analysis, and why does it matter?

It may sound like a simple question, but it means everything in the world of SEO.

Let me begin by explaining the SERPs. Search engine results pages (SERPs) are the listings you see whenever you search online.

For most of us, Google is the search engine of choice. According to Oberlo, Google manages 90 percent of searches globally.

When your website reaches the top of the SERPs, you get more organic traffic and increased conversions.

In digital marketing, organic traffic is something of a Holy Grail. Why? Because it’s free and qualified, and searchers are actively looking for what you have to offer.

However, these days, SERPs aren’t so straightforward, and different SERPs can influence the amount of organic traffic you get in different ways.

Does that sound confusing? It doesn’t have to be. By reading through my SERP guide, you’ll understand how to do SERP analysis and its features. You’ll also discover how SERP analysis helps to get you ahead in the search results.

Ready? Let’s go!

Key Takeaways

  • Doing a SERP analysis involves examining how your website performs on the search engine result pages so you can improve your SEO strategy and direct more traffic to your site.
  • There are many different types of SERPs, including paid, organic, video, featured snippets, and the Local Pack.
  • Click-through rates for each SERP feature vary considerably.
  • Understanding search intent is crucial to ensure your content answers users’ queries. 
  • Conducting a competitive analysis to see which keywords your competitors focus on can give you insights into their strategies and allow you to outrank them on search engines.

What Types of SERP Results Are There?

When you look at a Google SERP or any other search engine results page, you see two types of results: organic and paid.

The click-through rates for each of the different Google SERP features vary.

For example, the first SERP snippet has a click-through rate of 42.9 percent. The top organic result is 39.8 percent, while People Also Ask has 3.0 percent.

You can see paid listings in the red box, featured snippets highlighted in black, visual results in green, exploration features in orange, and organic results in blue. Each has its positives and negatives and influences the SERPs.

Different types of SERP features.

I’ll look at the various types of SERPs next.

Paid and map results in the SERPs.
PAA, Video, and text organic search results.

What do SERPs mean in relation to online marketing? There are lots of different types, including organic and paid, so let me go into more detail and explain some of the most popular forms. 

Paid SERPs

Google Ads allows websites to show up at the top of the SERP pages for their chosen keywords, and they pay Google every time someone clicks their ad.

These results are displayed at the top and bottom of the SERP and have “Sponsored” written in bold letters above the URL.

As you can tell from their prominence at the top of the SERP, these ads can be crucial in getting targeted traffic to your website. This can be multiplied by running paid advertising campaigns alongside search engine optimization (SEO) to get more presence for certain keywords.

Organic SERPs

We’re all used to the traditional organic listing of a meta title and description, but Google has added more SERP features in recent years. Competition for organic results is fierce and more complicated than paid listings.

However, if you do a SERPs analysis, learn how to feature your pages in the SERPs, and earn people’s clicks, you’ll see far more organic traffic.

Featured Snippets

A featured snippet example.

These are the small blocks of information you see at the top of the SERP. They help searchers access the information they want quickly and easily without scrolling through multiple pages. They effectively increase your visibility, drive extra traffic, and boost brand awareness and  SERP-featured snippets come in various formats, including text, tables, and videos.

Creating high-quality content that answers common questions about your niche or sector improves your chances of securing a featured snippet to enhance your SEO efforts.

Local Pack

This refers to the three local business listings you see close to the top of a SERP when looking for a local product or service. The Local Pack is displayed alongside a map showing the businesses’ locations.

The local pack in Google SERPSs

You might also hear it called the Snack Pack, Map Pack, or Google 3-Pack.

Like featured snippets, the Local Pack helps websites get increased visibility and traffic and it’s essential for brick-and-mortar local businesses that want to stand out in SERPs.

Shopping Results

Shopping results in Google SERPs

If you’ve ever entered a shopping query online like “best deals on iPhones,” then you’ll already be familiar with this type of SERP.

However, for store owners, these listings don’t appear by magic. If a business wants to appear in the Shopping Results, it must create a product feed that details all the core information about a product, like its name, description, images, and pricing.

People Also Ask

People also ask SERP results in Google.

This SERP feature displays when you search online, and it’s great for gaining organic traffic. Google generally shows a list of three or four (but sometimes more) additional related questions and answers. Creating content around the questions in People Also Ask is an excellent way to rank in the SERP.

Generative AI in SERPs

With AI seemingly taking over the world, it wouldn’t be long before search engines like Google and Bing caught on.

Generative AI uses machine learning algorithms to create and present unique and relevant content to users in response to their search queries.

What does that mean for users?

Well, it means search results are more conversational and personalized to a person’s search. Results are also more contextual, improving the overall search experience. As Google explains, generative AI allows you to understand subjects quicker, find fresh insights and views, and answer complex questions like this one:

SGE results in Google.

You’ll then have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions that retain context and provide web links to give you more perspectives to explore.

And you know how overwhelming it can be when searching for the ideal product with all the features you’re looking for, right? Well, generative AI provides you with a handy snapshot of suitable products along with:

  • Product descriptions
  • Ratings
  • Prices
  • Product images

Additionally, shoppers can ensure they’re getting the most relevant reviews, as generative AI uses Google’s Shopping Graph to update results hourly.

If you want to understand what it’s like, you can sign up for Google’s Search Labs.

What Is SERP Analysis and Why Does It Matter?

The SERPs and SEO are intrinsically linked.

SEO is critical in determining how a website or webpage ranks on the SERP. Optimizing certain pages is responsible for ensuring that a website appears as high up on the SERP as possible, increasing the chances of that website getting clicks and driving traffic to the site.

A SERP analysis is vital to SEO because it helps you understand the search intent behind a given keyword,  discover featured snippet opportunities, optimize for rich snippets, and determine which competitors use the same keywords as you and their strategies. 

Your typical SERP analysis has four steps:

  • Do an online search for your chosen keyword
  • Analyze the top-performing sites
  • Decide if a specific keyword is relevant to your niche/website
  • Assess if you could rank for the same keyword

You can reach the top positions in the SERPs and build a significant volume of organic traffic.

How To Do a SERP Analysis of Your Business

Doing a SERP analysis involves examining how your website performs on the search engine result pages so you can improve your SEO strategy and direct more traffic to your site.

Sound good? I thought so! Need a helping hand? Here’s a step-by-step guide explaining how to do a SERP analysis.

1. Choose the Right Tools

Want a quick tip on how to do SERP analysis like a professional? Then, get yourself some tools. Here are three you can use to get started.

  1. Ubersuggest: Use my tool to find backlink data and top SEO pages to see which of your competitors rank for top organic keywords, content ideas, and keyword suggestions.
SERP analysis results in Ubersuggest.
  1. Mongools SERP checker: This free Google SERPs analysis tool gives you local SERPs for over 50k locations and discovers competitors’ weak spots. Just enter your keyword, select your location, choose from “desktop” or “mobile, and click “analyze SERP”. 
  2. Moz Pro SERP Analysis Tool: Moz’s “Keyword Explorer” lets you perform a SERP analysis. Add your keyword, choose your location, and click “Analyze.” You can then click “SERP Analysis” on the left side or find “SERP Analysis” in the box at the bottom right-hand side of the dashboard.

2. Find Your Keywords

Begin by assessing keyword difficulty and traffic potential. You can use one of the SEO SERP tools like Ahrefs. While Ahrefs is a paid tool, the keyword difficulty tool is free. 

You should also consider doing a competitive analysis to see which keywords they focus on and where they might fall short. 

Your next step is to find the keywords you want to target. You’re looking for keywords related to your niche. Again, you can use Ubersuggest for keyword research. Just enter your keyword and click “search.” 

Another option is AnswerThePublic. This search listening tool gives you consumer insights to discover new ideas for the content, products, and services.

3. Understand Search Intent

You must understand what users want and ensure your content answers their queries. In other words, you’re looking for their search intent or why a consumer searches online.

Search intent can fall into the following categories:: 

  • informational, where they’re looking for answers
  • navigational, where they’re looking for a specific website
  • transactional, when the searcher is looking to buy
  • commercial, when a person is actively researching products or services

You can tell search intent from the questions people ask. For instance, a person searching for the “Best iPhone Deals” is likely looking to buy the latest iPhone.

4. Check Out Your Competitors

Before you analyze your competitors, take stock of where you stand in the SERPs. Does your site appear in the SERPs for your target keywords? 

Competitors of NP Digital in the SEPRs.

Then, analyze your competitors’ performance to check if they rank for the same keywords. Once you’ve found these competitors, use one of the tools I suggested earlier for a SERP analysis and look at metrics like:

  • Page quality
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Click-through rates
  • Domain authority
  • Engagement
  • Conversions
  • Backlink analysis
  • User experience (Site speed, etc).

You’ll also want to check their social media presence and see if competitors run paid ads for targeted keywords.

Other tools you can use during competitor analysis are Google’s Search Console for click-through rate data and Google’s Keyword Planner for finding keywords.

Okay, you’ve done that. Now, it’s time to find content and content quality gaps, link-building opportunities, and relevance gaps, and put them into a comprehensive SEO strategy. 

There’s a lot that goes into putting together a competitive analysis, more than I have time to cover here. With that said, I’ve got a whole blog on competitive analysis you can use to figure out what they are doing in the SERPs.

5. Optimize Your Content

By now, you’ve already done your keyword research, so let’s focus on what makes quality content. Fortunately, Google has a comprehensive guide detailing a set of questions you can ask yourself to determine content quality. Pay particular attention to Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines, too.

Once you’ve created your quality articles, optimize them for your target keywords. Include them throughout your content, title tags, headers, and meta descriptions. 

And remember that competitive analysis I covered earlier? If you find any additional optimization opportunities, create new content around the keywords or topics you want to focus on and optimize your current content with any new keywords you uncovered.

Ahrefs also advises looking for other opportunities to rank in the SERP, like video carousels, top stories, and image packs.


What is a SERP in SEO?

If you want to get a website or content on the first page of the search engine result pages (SERP), that’s where SEO comes in.
By optimizing your content with relevant keywords, implementing SEO, creating high-quality content, and addressing user intent, you can attract more organic traffic to your pages.
It’s normal to wait to see results, as optimizing content for SERPs takes time and requires long-term work.

What is SERP tracking?

SERP tracking, or SERP monitoring, involves analyzing a website’s ranking in the search engine results pages over time.

Monitoring and analyzing the SERP makes it possible to identify patterns, optimize online presence, and boost rankings over time.

What is a brand SERP?

A brand SERP is the results page for a brand name. For example, Coca-Cola or Levi’s. 
For instance, if you search for Coca-Cola, you might get a SERP with a website link, its social media profiles, and other relevant information, such as news articles or reviews.
A brand SERP can be vital for businesses because they help shape people’s perception of their brand online. 

How do I use SERPs?

Search engine result pages (SERPs) are the pages you see when you query a search engine.
If you’re targeting a keyword, start by doing a basic search. For instance, “digital marketing” or “how to do an SEO analysis.”

You can view the top-performing content from there and see what others are getting right. For example, you can see which websites rank well for your target keywords. You can also see the type of content they’re creating (blogs, long-form content, case studies, visual content, etc.).

Then, you can identify content gaps that allow you to create something better. For instance, you could write content that matches search intent or optimize an existing article.

A SERP analysis can also help you find untapped keywords and phrases.

What are SERP features?

If you search online regularly, you’ll notice that some results have additional information next to them, like a list or a map. These are SERP features.
Common types of SERP features include the Local Pack, People Always Ask, and featured snippets.
They are an effective way to gain website visibility on search engines, along with more click-throughs.


The SERPs are constantly evolving, and there’s a greater mix of results, including video content and generative AI. Other recent changes include zero-click content and a greater emphasis on search intent. That’s why you need to know how to do a SERP analysis and carry it out regularly. I’d recommend every few months.

A regular SERP analysis can maximize your opportunities for getting noticed online; combine your analysis with high-quality, relevant content, and you’ll go a long way to attracting your ideal audience.

Now that you understand the importance of SERP analysis, you can make it a regular part of your routine and optimize your SEO to help your website achieve its goals.

Did you find this SERP analysis guide useful? Share your thoughts below.

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