As SEO’ers we are used to producing tons of content and publishing it on our domains, all in the name of getting those golden organic listings. Yes, the content is high quality. Yes, the content is unique. Yes, the content has that perfect balance of being optimised for keywords and being nice for real-life humans to read. But the problem is, where is all this content going to go, if Google doesn’t want to promote it anymore?
Recently, we have been spending more and more time analysing the SERP and looking at the competitive landscape before we start working on our content strategy. To do this we use STAT, which is an excellent tool that I can’t recommend enough. It is a search engine and ranking tracking tool that allows you to understand, for each keyword theme, where the SERP opportunities are, who the current leaders (i.e. top rankers) are, and how this has changed over time.
One thing that we have really noticed is that there is really no point, for most of the keyword themes that we analyse, even trying to get your website pages or blog posts to rank for keywords. Why? Because there is no space left for traditional organic rankings!
SERP – before 2012
The beautiful side bar ads, hardly any space for shopping and then plenty of plenty of traditional organic listings. Being in the top 10 easily secured you a page 1 ranking.
SERP – post 2019
Where do we start?!
- MASSIVE shopping grid
- Google localises everything, even if you didn’t use a localised search term – so always expect a big map placement
- The rest of the SERP is mainly dominated with the ‘people also ask’ boxes
- Then you’re likely to get a nice image strip, video strip or news strip…
- Maybe another ‘people also box’ or related searches?
- Right there at the bottom, if you look carefully, you will see just a few of those lucky organic listings
So what does this mean for content strategies?
It means in order to deliver results for your clients, it is essential that you understand where the SERP opportunities are for each and every keyword theme. Do you need to focus on local SEO and dominate the maps placement? Do you need to produce amazing video content and be number 1 in the video strips or do you just need to answer every FAQ going and be well positioned within those prominent ‘people also ask’ boxes. Either way, you’ll be working much smarter if you’re working on the same side of Google and not against her (yes, she’s a lady).
Hope you find this article helpful. As always, opinions and feedback welcome!