Analyze SERP to improve rankings

1. Analyze current features on the SERP for a term you're trying to rank for.

Look out for featured snippets, People Also Ask boxes, images, videos, related searches, and ads. Test this for a few related terms. Subtle changes to queries can change the results page. For example, searching why does my SEO suck? on Google will return an article from 2008 and a People also ask box. Search my website’s SEO sucks, and you’ll see paid ads, Quora answers, people also ask boxes, and a list of related searches.

2. Determine if it’s possible to compete with other sites in the SERP using Moz Domain Authority or Ahrefs Domain Rating.

Look at domain-level link metrics like Moz Domain Authority or Ahrefs Domain Rating, and page-level link metrics like Moz Page Authority or Ahrefs URL Rating. Compare them to your own. For example, the SERP for how to do a push up is dominated by authoritative sites. The New York Times claims the featured snippet, and wikiHow, Men’s Health, and Healthline all rank high on the first page. If you target a related term, like push up progression, you’ll have much better chances to compete since sites ranking for it aren’t as strong.

3. Use a tool like Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer to see what those top-ranking URLs also rank for, and why.

Scroll to the bottom of the report and check the links that appear in the SERP overview section to understand what type of content ranks for that specific keyword. Look into why a site is ranking well for a particular query. Do your competitors have a lot of backlinks? Is their Domain Authority high? Have they established themselves as an authority in your field? Collect this information and use it to inform your SEO strategy, so you can compete.

4. Format content so it's likely to land in the featured snippets position and People Also Ask... section of a SERP.

A clear, short summary at the top of a page dedicated to the topic makes it much more likely that Google will deem your content the best fit for a featured snippet. The optimal length of a featured snippet paragraph is roughly 40 to 50 words, or around 300 characters. The People Also Ask boxes below the featured snippet give you some ideas of what you might need to cover on your page. Do you already answer these questions? As well as the competition? Are the answers clearly defined so that search engines can find them?

5. Create video content that is likely to land in the video carousel display on the SERP. Include a person, a big title, and a colorful background in the thumbnail.

Add around a dozen specific how to optimize a youtube video and broad youtube SEO tags to your video. See which keywords your competitor videos use by inspecting the source code of the page for keywords. Upload these to YouTube and embed them in a page on your site.

6. Add a Frequently Asked Questions section to your content to boost the chances of landing a spot in the FAQ drop down display on the SERP.

Add only relevant FAQs and keep your answers short and straightforward. Find questions to answer on your page through Google’s autocomplete and People Also Ask section, Quora, Answer The Public, or via your internal site search.

7. Optimize your Google My Business profile to show your company on the map at the top of the SERP for local searches.

Verify your business on Google. Fill out all the information on your Google My Business profile. Get online reviews.

8. Optimize for the image pack by giving images descriptive names, decreasing their file size, and creating an image sitemap.

People underestimate how much traffic they can attract from Google Image results. Taking the time to optimize your images can ensure they show up for the most appropriate queries. More people will land on your site as a result.

9. Build a clear structure for your website using relevant internal links and anchor texts that are informative, compact, and avoid repetitions.

Allow Google to crawl and index important pages within your site using internal links. Make sure anchor texts describe the URL you’re linking to. For example, organic reach for many social media platforms is declining. Use Fetch and Render inside Google Search Console to check these links can be rendered properly. This shows you how a search engine will crawl and render a particular page on your site.