how to do a serp competitor ranking analysis

How to Do a SERP Competitor Ranking Analysis

Understanding the dynamics of search engine results pages (SERPs) is crucial for anyone looking to improve their online visibility. Each element on a SERP, from competitors to keywords, plays a role in determining who captures the attention of potential visitors. Given the fact that the vast majority of search engine users never go past the first page of results, it’s clear that ranking highly is essential. Recognizing the importance of this, conducting a SERP competitor ranking analysis has become a fundamental task for businesses aiming to enhance their digital presence.

What is a SERP analysis?

SERP analysis involves a detailed examination of SERP results to understand which elements appear for specific queries. This process includes looking at organic listings, advertisements, and any special features like featured snippets. Through SERP analysis, businesses and marketers can identify how to adjust their content and SEO strategies to improve their search engine rankings and attract more website visitors.

What is a SERP competitor ranking analysis?

A SERP competitor ranking analysis focuses on comparing your search engine results positions against those of your competitors for relevant keywords. This type of analysis provides insights into the SEO strategies and keywords your competitors are using to achieve their rankings. With this information, you can tailor your SEO efforts more effectively, targeting areas where your competitors may be vulnerable or strengthening aspects of your strategy where you already have an advantage.

The benefits of conducting a SERP competitors ranking analysis

The benefits of conducting a SERP competitors ranking analysis
  • Provides a clear view of the competitive landscape in search rankings
  • Aclear view of the competitive landscape in search rankings
  •  Pinpoints strengths and weaknesses in your current SEO approach for more informed decision-making
  •  Identifies high-value, underutilized keywords for capturing market share
  •  Enables adaptation and enhancement of content strategy by observing successful competitor content and features
  • Improves understanding of the target audience through analysis of competitors’ high-ranking queries and content
  • Drives the development of more relevant and engaging content to improve SEO performance and user experience
  • Allows for agility in SEO efforts by tracking competitor rankings over time, adapting to search engine algorithms and competitor strategies
  • Leads to increased traffic, better engagement, and higher conversion rates through more effective SEO strategies

How to find your top SERP competitors

  1. Compile a List of Your Key Keywords: Begin by listing the keywords most relevant to your business, products, or services. These should include both broad industry terms and more specific phrases related to your offerings.
  2. Conduct Manual Searches: While tools offer a broad overview, nothing beats the accuracy of manually checking search engine results for your keywords. This can reveal competitors that tools might overlook, especially local competitors or niche sites.
  3.  Analyze the Search Intent: For each keyword, examine the search intent behind it. Is the user looking for information, trying to make a purchase, or seeking a particular website? Understanding this can help you identify competitors who are successfully addressing the same user needs.
  4.  Identify Common Competitors Across Keywords: Look for patterns in the data. Are there websites that appear consistently across multiple keywords? These are your primary SERP competitors, as they are effectively targeting a similar audience.

How to find your main SERP feature competitors

Part of understanding your SERP landscape is identifying competitors who consistently win special features like Google’s featured snippets, knowledge panels, or local packs. Here’s how to spot these competitors:


– Target Featured Snippet Opportunities: Use your SERP analysis tools to find keywords that trigger featured snippets. Then, analyze which competitors are capturing these snippets and study their content format and structure.


– Monitor Knowledge Panels and Local Packs: For brand-related searches or local keywords, observe which competitors appear in knowledge panels and local packs. This requires optimizing your Google My Business listing and ensuring your site is rich with relevant local information.

– Evaluate Rich Snippets and Other SERP Features: Look for competitors who frequently appear in rich snippets (like recipes or reviews) and other SERP features unique to your industry. Analyzing the structured data and content strategy they use can offer insights for your own SEO efforts.

Key SERP metrics to analyse

When delving into SERP competitor analysis, understanding which metrics to focus on can provide you with actionable insights that directly impact your website’s performance. Here are the key SERP metrics you should analyze to gauge your competitors’ success and identify opportunities for improvement:


  1. Search Visibility: This metric represents the percentage of clicks a website is estimated to receive based on its ranking positions for a set of keywords. High search visibility indicates that a site is effectively capturing a significant share of clicks for its targeted keywords.


  1. Average Position: The average ranking position of a website for a specific keyword or set of keywords over time. Monitoring this metric can help you identify trends in your and your competitors’ search engine rankings.


  1. Domain Authority/Page Authority: These metrics, developed by Moz, predict how well a website or specific page is likely to rank on SERPs. They are calculated based on multiple factors, including linking root domains and the number of total links.


  1. Backlink Profile: The quantity and quality of backlinks pointing to a website are crucial for SEO. Analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles can uncover link-building opportunities and strategies.

   5. Page Speed: Page speed affects user experience and is a known Google ranking factor. Comparing your site’s speed with that of your competitors can highlight areas for improvement.

How to do a google SERP analysis for you and for your competitors

1. Identify Your Target Keywords: Start with a comprehensive list of keywords that are relevant to your business, products, or services. Include both broad and specific terms that potential customers might use to find your offerings.

2. Use Google Search Console: For your own website, Google Search Console is an invaluable tool. It provides data on your site’s performance in Google search results, showing which keywords your site is ranking for, your positions for those keywords, and how often people click through to your site.

3. Analyze the Top Ranking Pages: For each target keyword, perform a Google search and analyze the top-ranking pages. Look at the type of content that is ranking (blog posts, product pages, videos, etc.), the topics covered, and the depth of the content. This can give you insights into what Google and searchers find valuable.

4. Check for SERP Features: Note any SERP features (such as featured snippets, knowledge panels, local packs) that appear for your target keywords. If your competitors are consistently appearing in these features, analyze what content or attributes might be contributing to their visibility.

  1. Evaluate Competitors’ On-Page SEO: Look at the on-page SEO elements of your competitors’ pages, including title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and content structure. Understanding how they optimize these elements can provide clues on how to improve your own pages.

6. Assess Content Quality and Relevance: Review the quality and relevance of the content on competitors’ pages. High-quality, relevant content is more likely to rank well in Google. Consider how you can create content that meets or exceeds the standard set by your competitors.

  1. Analyze Backlink Profiles: Using SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz, analyze the backlink profiles of the top-ranking pages. Backlinks from high-authority sites can significantly impact rankings, so understanding who is linking to your competitors can guide your link-building strategy.

  1. Monitor User Experience (UX) Factors: Google places a strong emphasis on user experience, including page speed and mobile usability. Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly Test to evaluate how your site and your competitors’ sites perform in these areas.
  1. Implement Findings: Based on your analysis, identify areas for improvement on your own site. This might involve optimizing on-page elements, improving content quality, enhancing mobile usability, or pursuing backlinks from authoritative sites.

The #1 factor in an SERP competitor analysis: How to analyse SERP features

SERP features such as featured snippets, local packs, knowledge panels, and others can dramatically increase visibility and click-through rates. To analyze these features for your own and your competitors’ benefit:


– Identify Which Features Appear for Your Keywords: Use Google searches and SEO tools to see which SERP features are triggered by your target keywords.

– Understand the Criteria for Each Feature: Each SERP feature has specific criteria. For example, featured snippets often pull from content that directly answers a question. Understanding these criteria can help you optimize your content accordingly.

– Analyze Competitors’ Content in SERP Features: Look at the content your competitors have that is being featured. Note the structure, format, and type of information provided.

– Optimize Your Content for SERP Features: Based on your analysis, adapt your content to better meet the criteria for SERP features. This might involve adding Q&A sections, optimizing for local search, or ensuring your content provides clear, concise answers to common questions.

– Track Your Performance: Use SEO tools to monitor your success in gaining visibility in SERP features and adjust your strategy as needed.

The best SERP competition ranking tools logo

This tool specifically zeroes in on monitoring your competitors, providing updates on their rankings, marketing strategies, and more.

semrush logo transparent


SEMrush is a favorite among digital marketers for its comprehensive features that allow users to conduct in-depth SERP analysis, track rankings, and assess competitor strategies.



Known for its powerful backlink analysis capabilities, Ahrefs also offers extensive features for SERP competition analysis.

Moz Pro

Moz Pro offers a suite of tools including keyword research, site audits, and rank tracking.

spyfu logo


SpyFu is a dedicated competitor analysis tool that allows users to see every place their competitors have shown up on Google.

seranking logo


SERanking provides a comprehensive set of SEO tools, including competitor analysis features.

Free tools to check SERP competition

ubersuggest logo

Ubersuggest Free Version

The free version of Ubersuggest offers limited but useful insights into keywords, competitor analysis, and SERP analysis. It's a great starting point for beginners.


MozBar is a free Chrome Extension that provides instant metrics while viewing any page or SERP. logo (Free Trial)

This tool specifically zeroes in on monitoring your competitors, providing updates on their rankings, marketing strategies, and more.

How to track competitor SERP rankings

  1. Select Competitors to Track: Begin by identifying a list of your main competitors. These can be direct business competitors or any website that competes for the same keywords as your site.


  1. Choose Your Keywords Wisely: Select a set of keywords that are crucial to your business and for which you want to track your competitors’ rankings. These should include a mix of high-volume keywords and long-tail phrases that are relevant to your products or services.


  1. Utilize SERP Tracking Tools: Invest in a SERP tracking tool that suits your needs. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and SERanking allow you to monitor your competitors’ rankings for chosen keywords over time. These platforms provide insights into ranking changes, helping you to identify trends and react accordingly.


  1. Analyze the Data Regularly: Consistent analysis is key. Schedule regular intervals—weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly—to review the ranking data. Look for any significant changes in your competitors’ positions and try to correlate these changes with any known updates to search engine algorithms or notable shifts in their SEO strategies.


  1. Monitor SERP Features: Besides traditional rankings, pay attention to SERP features such as featured snippets, local packs, and knowledge panels. Tracking who occupies these features for your target keywords can provide insights into areas where you might be able to gain additional visibility.


  1. Evaluate Their SEO Strategies: Use the ranking information to deduce your competitors‘ SEO strategies and find competitive keywords. Are they focusing on content quality, backlinks, specific types of content, or technical SEO? Understanding their tactics can help you refine your own strategy.


  1. Respond Strategically: Use the insights gained from tracking to inform your SEO strategy. If a competitor consistently outranks you for a key term, analyze their content and backlinks to understand why. Then, adjust your approach to compete more effectively.

The importance of tracking SERPs

stay agile

Stay Agile

Search landscapes change rapidly. Regular tracking allows you to respond quickly to these changes, keeping your site competitive.

understand market dynamics

Understand Market Dynamics

By monitoring how rankings shift, you can gain insights into consumer search behavior and emerging trends.

identify opportunities

Identify Opportunities

Tracking can reveal gaps in your competitors' strategies that you can exploit, such as targeting underutilized keywords or SERP features they’re missing.

measure seo success

Measure SEO Success

Comparing your ranking progress to your competitors gives you a clearer picture of your SEO strategy's effectiveness.

How to set up a SERP competitor ranking alert

To set up SERP ranking alerts for your competitors, follow these steps:

– Choose a ranking tracking tool that offers alert features like Competitors App.

– Add your competitors’ domains and the keywords you wish to track.

– Configure the alert settings to your preference, such as the frequency of alerts and the conditions that trigger an alert (e.g., a competitor entering the top 10 results).

– Provide an email or other contact information where you wish to receive the alerts.

By implementing these monitoring practices, you can ensure that your SEO strategy remains agile and responsive to the ever-changing search engine landscape, keeping you one step ahead of your competitors.

How to monitor your SERP competitors with

Competitor Analysis - use competitors app

Sign Up and Set Up Your Account: Begin by creating an account on Once set up, you’ll have access to the dashboard where you can start adding your competitors.

competitors app add competitor

Add Your Competitors: In the dashboard, there’s an option to add new competitors. Enter the URLs of the competitors you wish to monitor. allows you to track multiple competitors across different aspects, including their SERP rankings.

competitors app competitors keywords and ranking

Select Keywords to Monitor: After adding your competitors, the next step is to specify the keywords for which you want to track their rankings. Choose keywords that are crucial to your business and relevant to the content on your and your competitors’ websites.

competitors app competitors traffic data

Analyze Competitors’ SEO Strategies: Beyond just tracking SERP positions, provides insights into the SEO tactics your competitors are employing. This includes changes to their website content, meta tags, and even backlink profiles, offering a comprehensive view of their approach to SEO.

competitors app schedule email alerts

Set Up Alerts for Immediate Updates: To stay agile, you can configure to send you real-time alerts whenever there’s a significant change in your competitors’ rankings. This feature ensures you’re always informed about shifts in the competitive landscape, allowing for timely adjustments to your SEO strategy.

Incorporating insights into your SEO Strategy

Transforming the insights gleaned from SERP competitor analysis into actionable strategies is crucial for enhancing your SEO and boosting your online visibility. Here’s how to effectively incorporate these insights into your SEO plan:


  1. Keyword Optimization: Based on your analysis, identify gaps and opportunities in your keyword strategy. Incorporate underutilized keywords that competitors are ranking for and refine your content to better target these terms.


  1. Content Enhancement: Analyze the content of top-ranking competitors for insights into structure, length, quality, and types of content (blogs, videos, infographics). Use this information to enhance your own content, ensuring it provides value and meets the needs of your target audience.


  1. On-Page SEO Adjustments: Make adjustments to your on-page SEO elements, including titles, meta descriptions, and header tags, to improve relevance and keyword optimization. Ensure your site structure and URL hierarchy are logical and SEO-friendly.


  1. Improve User Experience (UX): SERP competitor analysis can reveal the importance of a seamless user experience. Focus on improving site speed, mobile responsiveness, and easy navigation to reduce bounce rates and encourage longer site visits.


  1. Build a Strong Backlink Profile: Identify where competitors are getting their most valuable backlinks and strategize how to acquire similar links. Consider guest blogging, collaborations, or creating shareable content to enhance your backlink profile.


  1. Leverage SERP Features: If your competitors are consistently capturing SERP features like featured snippets or local packs, analyze their content and structure to understand how to optimize your own content for these features.


  1. Monitor and Adapt: SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. Continuously monitor your rankings, as well as those of your competitors, and be prepared to adapt your strategy in response to new insights.


By systematically incorporating insights from SERP competitor analysis into your SEO and Paid Ads strategy, you can more effectively compete for top rankings, attract more traffic, and achieve your digital marketing goals.

Making a SERP ranking graph

Visualizing your SEO performance and that of your competitors over time can provide clear insights into trends, successes, and areas needing improvement. Creating a SERP ranking graph is a powerful way to achieve this visualization. Here’s an example from

Preparing a SERP report

Creating a SERP report involves summarizing your website’s search engine performance, comparing it with competitors, and strategizing future SEO efforts. Here’s a simplified guide to crafting a SERP report:

  1. Set Goals: Define what you aim to achieve with the report, such as understanding visibility, keyword performance, or competitor comparison.
  1. Gather Data:  Collect information on rankings, search volume, CTRs, and SERP feature appearances.
set goals and gather data for SERP ranking
  1. Competitor Analysis: Track and compare competitors’ rankings for the same keywords, noting any shifts and potential causes.


  1. SERP Feature Overview: Identify which SERP features are displayed for your keywords and who’s capturing them, influencing your content strategy.
Competitor analysis and serp feature overview
  1. Visualize: Present data through charts and graphs for clear comparison over time or against competitors.


  1. Insights and Trends: Analyze the data to offer insights, identifying trends and implications for your SEO strategy.
visualize your data and identify SERP trends


  1. Actionable Recommendations: Conclude with specific, actionable recommendations for next steps, such as targeting new keywords or enhancing page content.
  2. Regular Updates: Since SEO is ever-changing, periodically refresh your report to stay current and adjust strategies accordingly.
Actionable recommendations and regular SERP updates

The importance of SERP reporting

SERP reporting is not just about numbers; it’s a strategic tool that can significantly impact your SEO success. Here are key reasons why SERP reporting is important:


– Tracks Performance Over Time: It provides a historical view of how your and your competitors’ rankings have changed, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.


– Identifies SEO Opportunities: By analyzing ranking changes, keyword performance, and competitor movements, you can uncover new opportunities for optimization and growth.


– Informs Content Strategy: SERP reports can highlight which types of content are performing well, guiding your content creation efforts towards topics and formats that resonate with your audience.


– Guides Decision Making: With concrete data on what’s working and what isn’t, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources for the greatest SEO impact.


– Demonstrates ROI: For businesses and agencies, SERP reports can demonstrate the value of SEO efforts to stakeholders, showing tangible improvements in search visibility and competitive positioning.


Incorporating regular SERP reporting into your SEO practices ensures that your strategy remains data-driven, responsive, and aligned with your business objectives, ultimately leading to improved search engine rankings and online visibility.

Best Practices & Common Mistakes to Avoid

SERP Competitor Ranking Analysis best practices and mistakes to avoid

To optimize your SEO efforts and improve your SERP rankings, it’s essential to follow best practices while steering clear of common pitfalls. Here’s a guide to both:

Best Practices

  1. Continuous Keyword Research: SEO is dynamic, so your keyword strategy should be too. Regularly update your keyword list to reflect changing search trends and user behavior.


  1. Focus on Quality Content: High-quality, relevant content is the cornerstone of good SEO. Create content that provides value to your audience, answers their questions, and keeps them engaged.


  1. Optimize for User Experience (UX): Ensure your website is user-friendly, with fast load times, mobile optimization, and intuitive navigation. A positive user experience can decrease bounce rates and improve rankings.


  1. Build a Strong Backlink Profile: Quality backlinks from reputable sites are a significant ranking factor. Focus on earning backlinks through high-quality content, guest blogging, and partnerships.


  1. Leverage SERP Features: Aim to capture SERP features like featured snippets, local packs, or FAQ sections by optimizing content specifically for these opportunities.


  1. Use Analytics to Drive Strategy: Regularly review your SERP performance and analytics to understand what’s working and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Ignoring Search Intent: Failing to align your content with the intent behind users’ searches can lead to poor rankings and high bounce rates. Always consider why someone is using a particular search query.


  1. Keyword Stuffing: Overusing keywords can harm your SEO. Instead, focus on creating natural, engaging content that incorporates keywords thoughtfully.


  1. Neglecting Mobile Optimization: With the majority of searches now on mobile, a site that isn’t mobile-friendly is at a significant disadvantage.


  1. Overlooking Technical SEO: Technical issues like slow site speed, broken links, or crawl errors can negatively impact your rankings. Regularly conduct technical SEO audits to identify and fix these issues.


  1. Disregarding Local SEO: For businesses serving specific geographic areas, ignoring local SEO can mean missing out on valuable traffic. Optimize for local search with location-specific keywords and by maintaining an accurate Google My Business listing.


  1. Failing to Monitor Competitors: Not keeping an eye on your competitors’ strategies and rankings can leave you at a disadvantage. Use competitor analysis to inform and refine your SEO approach.

Future Trends in SERP Analytics

The landscape of SERP analytics is constantly evolving, driven by advancements in technology and changes in user behavior. Here are some trends that are likely to shape the future of SERP analytics:


  1. Increased Personalization: As search engines get better at understanding individual user preferences, search results will become more personalized, making it essential to diversify SEO strategies to cater to different audience segments.


  1. Voice Search Optimization: With the rise of voice-activated devices, optimizing for voice search will become increasingly important. This includes focusing on conversational keywords and question-based queries.


  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: AI and machine learning are set to play a bigger role in how search engines rank content. Understanding these technologies and how they impact search algorithms will be crucial.


  1. Visual Search: As technology advances, visual search capabilities are improving. Optimizing images and videos for search, including using appropriate tags and descriptions, will become more important.


  1. SERP Feature Evolution: New SERP features are likely to emerge, offering new opportunities for visibility. Staying abreast of these changes and adapting your SEO strategy accordingly will be essential.


  1. Focus on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness): Google’s emphasis on content quality and reliability will continue to grow. Ensuring your content and site meet these criteria will be increasingly important for ranking well.


By staying informed about these trends and adapting your strategies to accommodate them, you can ensure that your SEO efforts remain effective and your site continues to perform well in SERPs.

1. What is the best way to analyze SERP competitors?

Analyzing SERP competitors effectively requires a holistic approach that encompasses several key activities. Start by identifying the keywords for which your competitors rank, using specialized SEO tools to capture a mix of short-tail and long-tail phrases. Next, closely examine the quality, structure, and variety of their top-ranking content, from blog posts to videos. Inspect their on-page SEO strategies, focusing on how they utilize title tags, meta descriptions, and headers to incorporate keywords. Additionally, assess the strength and breadth of their backlink profiles with backlink analysis tools. Finally, observe which SERP features, such as featured snippets or local packs, they're successfully occupying and analyze the content that helps them achieve these positions. This comprehensive analysis offers valuable insights into their SEO strategies and performance, guiding improvements in your own approach.

2. How often should I Monitor SERP Competitor Rankings?

Monitoring SERP competitor rankings should be an ongoing process, but the frequency can vary depending on your industry's competitiveness and how actively you're adjusting your SEO strategy. A monthly review is a good practice for most businesses, though some may benefit from weekly checks, especially in highly competitive or fast-changing markets.

3. How often should I create SERP reports?

Creating SERP reports should align with your monitoring frequency. Monthly reports are common and provide a good balance between being informed and not getting overwhelmed by data. However, quarterly reports might be sufficient for a high-level overview of trends and strategy adjustments.

4. What is the best SERP competitor ranking tool?

The "best" tool can depend on your specific needs and budget. However,, SEMrush and Ahrefs are widely recognized for their comprehensive features, including competitor ranking analysis, keyword research, and backlink tracking. Both offer detailed insights into SERP competitor strategies.

5. What is the best free SERP competitor tool? offers a free version that provides valuable insights into keywords, competitor rankings, and SEO optimization suggestions. Additionally, Google Search Console and MozBar (a free Chrome extension) can offer useful data and insights without a subscription cost.

6. What is a SERP feature?

A SERP feature refers to any result on a Google search engine results page that is not a traditional organic result. This includes featured snippets, knowledge graphs, local packs, image carousels, and more. These features often provide users with direct answers or highly visible listings on the page.

7. What is the role of user intent in SERP analysis?

Understanding user intent is crucial in SERP analysis because it influences how search engines rank pages. User intent refers to what users are actually looking for when they type a query into a search engine. Analyzing the types of pages (informational, transactional, navigational) that rank for specific keywords can provide insights into user intent, guiding content creation and optimization strategies to align with what users and search engines prioritize.


Start Tracking Competitor SERP Rankings with