Google algorithm is a mystery but we do know there are plenty of factors and signals taken into account. Thus, one thing is for sure: you can’t take SERPs analysis lightly: there are plenty of things to consider to make some judgments as to how easy it will be to achieve top ten rankings.
So how do you evaluate your future SERPs neighbors and competitors? Here’s a list of various factors to pay attention to:
- Average toolbar PR (while most people prefer to ignore this completely, I still think it is important when taken NOT in isolation). Tool: SEOquake FireFox addon
- Average backlink power (how many backlinks – on average – does each page have?) Tool: SEOquake FireFox addon
- Average domain power (domain age, backlinks, etc) Tool: SEOquake FireFox addon
- QDF (Query Deserves Freshness) factor: how many (if any) “fresh” results are there in top 10 results? How often do search results change. Tools: choose any of these SERPs tracking tools.
- Page type tendency? Do most pages among top SERPs reflect informational, navigational, or transactional intent? Here’s a great observation expressed in a recent WebmasterWorld thread:
Yesterday I had a discussion with a “deep pockets” corporation who wants to rank organically for a query term where there are currently ONLY informational sites at the top – and no corporate sites at all for two pages. Years ago they ranked very well on that particular SERP, but today they need to buy Adwords if they want to have what is essentially a branding presence on that keyword
- Average brand power: how often the brand is mentioned across the web? Tool: Google search [brand name -site:brandname.com]
How do you analyze Google SERPs to get an idea how hard it is going to be to rank and to amend your SEO strategies?