How to Find Your SERP Competitors

How to Find Your SERP Competitors
Learning from your competitors can provide a roadmap to improving your own SEO strategies. It's essential to strike a balance between studying your rivals and focusing on your audience.

The search engine results pages (SERPs) can help you identify your strongest competitors. It can be a goldmine of information about who's performing well and what they're doing to maintain their ranking.

So let’s figure out how to find SERP competitors and strategically outsmart them.

Understanding SERP Competitor Analysis

When you search for a specific keyword, several websites appear in the search engine result pages. Your SERP competitors are the websites that appear in the same result pages as your website.

Your SERP competitors can vary depending on various factors:

🎯 The Keywords and Phrases You’re Targeting: Every SEO journey starts with a keyword. It's not only about finding the best keywords but understanding how and why your audience uses them in their queries. For instance, the search results for exact match keywords and long-tail keywords may be different.

🎯 Target Audience: Knowing who your audience is and what are their needs, wants and pain points is the secret sauce to your SEO strategy. From demographics to their interests and behaviors, all makes critical difference for the keywords they use for their search queries. 

🎯 Geographical Location: Location plays a crucial role when it comes to targeting and ranking. The location where users enter their search query greatly influences the results they see. 

How Does Google Leverage User Intent?

Google's primary objective is to serve content that best meets user intent. To achieve this, Google uses complex algorithms that assess words within the search query and understand the intent behind them.

The key to understanding user intent lies right in the search query. A user's choice of words reflects the aim of their search, which Google classifies largely into four categories:

📌 Informational Intent: When users are looking for information or answers to particular questions like, "What is a cupcake?".

informational user intent example

📌 Navigational Intent: When users are trying to reach a specific web page or website like, "SEOmator blog".

navigational user intent example

📌 Transactional Intent: When users aim to purchase something online like, "Buy a smart watch".

transactional user intent example

📌 Commercial Investigation: When users are weighing their choices before making a purchase like, "iPhone vs Samsung". 

commercial investigation example

The algorithms also evaluate the SERP performance of web pages over time. As a result, Google effectively identifies what kind of content users find satisfying for different types of intent. Therefore, the SERP for each keyword query is essentially Google's interpretation of user intent.

If your content doesn't resonate with the users' intent, it's unlikely to achieve a higher ranking on Google SERPs. By matching your content with user intent and signaling it correctly to Google, you enhance your chances of ranking higher on SERPs.

For more detailed information 👉 What is Search Intent?

Difference Between SERP Competitor Analysis and Standard Keyword Tracking?

Keyword tracking is a barometer that monitors your SEO efforts by relating your domain's performance for specific keywords. While keyword tracking focuses on following one parameter – the position of your targeted keyword in SERPs, SERP competitor analysis adopts a holistic approach. 

SERP competitor analysis not only keeps an eye on keyword positions but scrutinizes the top-ranking pages, analyzes the competition, studies the SERP features and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the competition.

To translate this, imagine you're a race car driver. Tracking your speed (keyword tracking) is crucial, but you've got to watch out for the other drivers (SERP competitors), their techniques and strategy, observe the racing field, and of course, the changing weather and light conditions (SERP features and the constantly evolving Google's algorithm).

Of course, SERP analysis isn’t just about understanding Google's ranking algorithm; it's also about finding your site's unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP differentiates you from your competitors. It provides reasons for search engines to rank your site higher and for users to choose you over others.

Why is SERP Competitor Analysis Important?

The world of search is as immense as it is competitive. To outperform your competitors, it's imperative that you know them well. 

SERP competitor analysis is your magic lens that helps you keep a constant vigil on your competition. Here are some reasons why it is so central to your overall SEO strategy:

🌟 Understanding Your Competition: Your competition is not just the businesses selling the same products or services as you do. In the world of search, your competition includes any website that occupies the space you aspire to be in. Therefore, knowing who they are and what they're doing becomes crucial to your success.

🌟 Identifying Gaps: SERP competitor analysis helps spot the gaps in your competition's SEO strategy. It aids in identifying content opportunities, or the unexplored, high-value keywords they might've missed. Filling these gaps gives you a unique advantage and helps you secure a better ranking.

🌟 Leveraging Their Strength To Your Advantage: This analysis uncovers the best practices that your competitors follow and "what's working". Are they using specific keywords, or is their user experience top-notch? You can learn from this and adapt these tactics in your strategy.

🌟 Turning Their Weaknesses Into Your Strengths: On the flip side, competitive analysis reveals their weaknesses. Are there relevant topics they haven't addressed? Are there reputable websites that they don't have backlinks from? Use this information to turn their weaknesses into your strengths.

🌟 Adapting to Changes and Staying Relevant: The SEO playing field is constantly shifting, and your competition is always strategizing to adapt to these changes. Regular SERP competitor analysis keeps you in the loop about these changes and empowers you to tweak your strategy in response.

How to Conduct a SERP Competitive Analysis in 5 Steps

SERP competitor analysis gives you that competitive edge you need to outrank your competition. With this understanding, you can make informed decisions about your content strategy, backlink efforts, and your overall SEO game plan.

Let’s take a look at the steps to find your SERP competitors effectively:

1) Perform a Keyword Research

Keyword research, to put it simply, is the process of identifying valuable words, phrases, or queries that people type in search engines. It reveals what topics your audience cares about, and how popular those topics are among your audience. 

Start your list with a few broad keywords related to your industry. Also, indulging in audience research helps to unveil audience-specific phrases and what they use to describe your product or services.

Don’t ignore long-tail keywords as they're precise, tend to be less competitive, and more importantly, highlight a user's intent.

Keyword research is not a set-and-forget activity, it requires regular reviewing and updating. Trends shift, and so does language. Stay on your toes to adapt and refine your keyword strategy.

SEOmator dashboard to conduct keyword research

2) Examine the SERPs

After shortlisting a few keywords, it’s time to analyze the SERPs to identify your competition for these keywords. 

serp example

Assess the top 10 results on the SERP for your target keyword. Examine the titles, meta descriptions, content length & structure, use of multimedia, site speed, and mobile optimization.

Identify various SERP features like featured snippets, local 3-pack, knowledge graph, shopping results, etc. This helps in understanding the search intent — informational, transactional, navigational, or commercial.

You should also take note of the ads. Analyzing the keywords used, and the language featured in paid ads on SERPs, can reveal the keywords your competitors find valuable.

Google ads example in SERP

Take the section about what users also search into consideration. You can use these insights to expand or align your content accordingly.

related searches

3) Identify Your Top Competitors

Continue by identifying who your top search competitors are. 

Seek answers to questions like, “Who are your offline competitors, and do they compete with you online?”, “Who appears in the tops of the SERPs for your focus keywords?”, “What websites are similar to yours in terms of size and business model?”.

Using this information, draw up a list of your most formidable competitors.

It’s also vital to know the estimated traffic for each URL in the results. This helps understand whether high-rank automatically means high click-through, or if there are other factors at play.

4) Analyze Their SEO Metrics

Once you zero in on your competitors, analyze their SEO metrics.

Observe their domain authority, the number and quality of their backlinks, and their overall organic search visibility. Review their top-performing content, their most successful keywords, and study their on-page optimization strategies.

The user experience offered by your competition also plays a key role in their SEO success. So take a close look at their site structure and navigation ease, the mobile usability of their site, and their site speed, both on desktop and mobile.

A careful study of these aspects renders any hidden patterns or strategies that your competition employs.

5) Outperform Your SERP Competitors

Now that you've identified your top SERP competitors, how do you beat them?

You can gain valuable insights into new strategies by tracking the steps your competitors are taking. Are they using new keywords? Have they started targeting a new niche or a particular geographical location? Do they use any specific on-page SEO techniques?

Keep an eye out for fluctuations in your keyword rankings. Any dramatic changes could signal an algorithm update or suggest a shift in the ranking factors for that keyword.

Identifying content gaps can give a competitive edge. Analyze your competitor's blog and see what subjects they have covered. Is there a topic they haven't covered which your audience might be interested in? Is there a topic you can write more extensively or from a different angle?

Once you spot any gaps, fill them in with high-quality, engaging content. This is your chance to provide something unique and rank high.

Build a strong backlink profile. Backlinks are crucial in SEO as they signal authority and credibility. By analyzing your competitor's backlink profile, you can devise strategies to acquire high-quality backlinks yourself.

Furthermore, monitoring and adapting to changes in SERP is crucial. Keep track of your SERP rankings, keyword positions, backlink profile, and the overall health of your site regularly to stay ahead in the game.

Use SEOmator GPT to gain a competitive edge. This tool has many features like identifying optimal keywords for SEO, analyzing SERP rankings, and evaluating on-page SEO metrics. 

Similarly, adapting to changes in Google's algorithms, updates, and trends, and revising your strategy accordingly, is a part and parcel of your comprehensive competitor analysis.

a laptop- a winner prize and increasing stairs


SERPs are treasure troves of data that can render remarkable insights into your market, competition, and most importantly, your audience's intent. SERP competitor analysis plays a pivotal role in evolving a comprehensive and effective SEO strategy.

The key to SERP competitor analysis is understanding the competitive landscape. Search for your keyword in a search engine and take a look at the first page results. These are your direct SERP competitors as they are targeting, and ranking, for the same keywords as you.

Since you compete not only with your direct business competitors, but also with anyone ranking for your target keywords, you should consider all top-ranking results as your competitors.

After identifying your SERP competitors, go through their content and examine their metrics. 

Once you successfully conduct a SERP competitor analysis, you can take the necessary measures to outperform them successfully and gain an upper hand!

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- How to Do AI Content Analysis with 7 Steps

- How to Develop an Effective Content Distribution Strategy