Assuming you’ve chosen your keyword, you should have a balance of:
- Difficulty (similar page/domain authority to competitors)
Next, let’s look at Google – just like the searcher would! The 1st page results in the SERP for your keyword are your competitors.
We need to figure out:
- Who is our competition?
- What type of content owns the Top 3 positions?
- What other keywords are related to your keyword?
SERP Analysis Example with Incognito mode
First Page Competitor’s Content Analysis
- Open Google in incognito mode and search for the keyword (Note: your results will still be regionally tied to your location. Tools like Ahrefs can show the US SERP results, UK, etc. But Incognito Mode will avoid biases associated with your personal Google account).
- Analyze the search results for the following (in general) to give yourself an understanding of the landscape:
- Website Types (Vendor? Review website? Government?) ○ Page Types (Product page? Review page? Official Document page?)
- Content Type (How To; Review; Comparison; Overview; Guide; etc)
- People also ask (do we see a ‘people also ask’ [PAA] section? These questions can be very helpful when creating your blog)
While you look at these factors, ask yourself:
- How similar is all the content (do the results match the Keyword’s intent in a similar way,or are they all very different?)
- How authoritative are these websites on their given subject? (ie. Apple discussing iPhones vs a real estate website discussing cookie recipes.)
Top 3 Competitor’s Content Analysis
In assessing the top 3 pages, which includes the Featured Snippet result, ask yourself about the structural similarities of the content. Consider:
- Do all Top 3 answer the same questions, or are there gaps?
- Where are their keywords featured? (Headings only? Multiple times?)
- Is the competitor an authority on the subject? (website type)
- What type of page is this? (landing page for a product? Guide? Personal blog?)
- What type of article did they create? Is it beginner or advanced? Well structured?
- Did they format this with a lot of lists? Or schema?
- Are there graphs, images, and/or ideo? Is it academic, or a general help page?
- How do they end their article?
Note: Don’t fixate on what the competitor is or isn’t doing – remain open during this stage of analysis.
You’re looking for:
- What to do (helpful elements – formatted lists, a clear definition of the main subject, video content)
- What not to do (unhelpful elements – missing steps, unclear writing, a useful graph. Are there PAA questions that this article does not answer?)
From here, you should have a clear understanding of the type of blog you are going to create. Check out the WordPress Blog Types for Beginners article.
Take note of all the details you’ve gathered – these details will inform your title and outline in the next steps.