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SERP Analysis for Content Strategy #SEERFest


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Every search result tells a story of how our content should be structured, and what content types we should include. In this presentation, originally given at the SEERFest conference, I detail the different elements we should think about in terms of informing our content decisions.

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SERP Analysis for Content Strategy #SEERFest

  1. 1. SERP Analysis for Content Strategy Ross Hudgens, Founder/CEO
  2. 2. @RossHudgens Every 
 Page tells a story.
  3. 3. @RossHudgens A story of competitiveness, of need, of semantic fit.
  4. 4. Content marketing should align to the SERP, in order to best match every intent.
  5. 5. How about “how to tie a tie”?
  6. 6. @RossHudgens One way of doing it… write a basic blog post… but use illustrations.
  7. 7. @RossHudgens Another… video.
  8. 8. @RossHudgens Both of 
 these content types rank.
  9. 9. That said, who wins? Those that do it all… quickly.
  10. 10. Takeaway: You can’t guarantee SERP success unless you have content that maps to each of the elements the SERP is showing you.
  11. 11. How about “flower quotes”?
  12. 12. On the surface, this seems like a SERP that would want text or a list of quotes.
  13. 13. @RossHudgens Look a little deeper, and you’ll see people actually want images.
  14. 14. @RossHudgens Feature higher up on the SERP = 
 higher priority/ importance on the post.
  15. 15. BrainyQuote and Google both show “images” 
 of things people want to share.
  16. 16. @RossHudgens If you don’t create sharable images of things people can pin, you’ll lose.
  17. 17. @RossHudgens And not just one… many.
  18. 18. Takeaway: Proximity to the top of the page 
 (not counting ads) means higher importance that be included/be great.
  19. 19. How about “best headphones”?
  20. 20. @RossHudgens To compete, 
 we don’t need to publish every month. But we do need to QA and update our timestamps at least once a month.
  21. 21. @RossHudgens Similarly, there are only 3rd parties here. You can’t be Bose and rank on this search result… Users want publishers.
  22. 22. Takeaway: Use timestamp trends on SERPs to determine post update requirements.
  23. 23. How about “how to fly a kite”?
  24. 24. @RossHudgens That said, 
 perceived “brand” wins… even if not 
 a real brand. Even if the content isn’t good.
  25. 25. @RossHudgens Sometimes, brands can break these rules, if they’re well known enough/good enough.. 
 But you shouldn’t rely on that.
  26. 26. Takeaway: Brands can break the SERP rules. 
 As an SEO who wants to dominate, 
 you never should.
  27. 27. How about “marketing automation”?
  28. 28. @RossHudgens Further down, you can find many references to tools.
  29. 29. @RossHudgens Two to three word jargon terms almost always share this look.
  30. 30. @RossHudgens Solve for them by building in “What is X?” 
 As the first H1 and/or title.
  31. 31. @RossHudgens Make the answer under the H1 “KEYWORD is…” to win the QA.
  32. 32. @RossHudgens For marketing automation specifically, I would then sequence in resources and tools after the definition.
  33. 33. Takeaway: Two to three word jargon KWs use 
 “What is” as primary elements. Solve for them by creating a “X is..” structure or making the post “What is” focused.
  34. 34. How about “living room ideas”?
  35. 35. @RossHudgens The largest number is 45.. so aim for 50+ to have a content depth & possible CTR advantage.
  36. 36. Takeaway: Analyze the SERP and aim for 
 “best in class” title+content 
 depth+CTR combo.
  37. 37. How about “email marketing tools”?
  38. 38. @RossHudgens Differentiate between “inspiration” SERPs which demand volume, and 
 limited-curation posts that don’t.
  39. 39. @RossHudgens In software, most industries really have 6-15 truly good tools.
  40. 40. You can tell the UX difference by the numbers being low and no “inspiration” images.
  41. 41. VS
  42. 42. Takeaway: Know when not to shoot for the highest # on the SERP because it actually removes value from your content due to poor curation.
  43. 43. What can we learn from Quick Answers?
  44. 44. Theory: Google is A/B testing quick answers to see who results in the least clicks and/or most ad-clicks.
  45. 45. @RossHudgens You can use best practice, but you are 
 also (possibly) partially at 
 the whim of who’s bidding.
  46. 46. @RossHudgens To more reliably win, whoever is bidding on PPC must be present on your page, and extractable in an easy/reliable way in the quick answer.
  47. 47. Takeaway: Look at the consistent bidders on each SERP. Make sure they’re included in your well-optimized QA.
  48. 48. Warning: This is just an (educated) theory.
  49. 49. How about “waffle recipes”?
  50. 50. @RossHudgens On SERPs like this, Google is extracting 
 “quick meta descriptions”.
  51. 51. @RossHudgens If you aren’t structured “quick”, you won’t get a 
 big meta and you won’t compete.
  52. 52. Takeaway: Quick answer optimizations 
 aren’t just for quick answers. 
 They’re for meta description height, CTR and better rankings.
  53. 53. This is just the beginning of the rabbit hole.
  54. 54. @RossHudgens Every SERP is a story, one that can and should inform the exact structure of your content.
  55. 55. @RossHudgens If you use that story, you’ll win more often than you lose.
  56. 56. @RossHudgens If you don’t, you’ll never show up.
  57. 57. San Diego, CA | Austin, TX | | 858.609.9118 Questions?