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7-Step Analysis & Execution Framework for Website Content

May 31, 2024
Tamara Hellgren
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8 min

Use cases

  • Create a new web page to be visible for a keyword in Search
  • Revive an existing web page that used to be visible, but fell

What this is:

  • A great place to start if you feel daunted by the task at hand
  • A helpful reference with prompts, ideas and tools
  • A source of inspiration to get your wheels turning

What it isn’t:

  • Exhaustive and set in stone (it’s about Search!)
  • Ideal for every Search scenario ever
  • A how-to guide

If you don’t have the ability to perform the analysis or the discernment to form sound conclusions, then work with a consultant or colleague who can.


  • Dedicate a good chunk of time to this project. This is not a process you want to undertake in 15-minute increments between meetings or spread out over several days. Apply sustained attention for best results.
  • Strike a balance between obsessing over details & maintaining momentum. Exercise good judgment and move on from a particular investigation if it’s slowing things down too much.
  • Apply critical thinking & creativity. Don’t limit yourself to the points below. Searches, SERPs & user intents evolve constantly. There are more tools and tactics than the ones mentioned here. Use this process as a springboard, not a checklist. Leverage your own unique perspective and experience.
  • Be energized and ready to tackle some work! Eat something, get hydrated, do some pushups or squats—whatever it takes to get yourself ready for a focused, high-octane undertaking. Don’t come at this straight after a draining meeting or at 3pm on a Friday.


  1. SERP analysis
  2. Competitor analysis
  3. Keyword analysis
  4. Analyze your web page
  5. Summarize findings 
  6. Plan
  7. Execute 

Each step involves many considerations and activities. If you need to do it in phases, try to get all the way through one of the steps instead of pausing in the middle.

1. SERP Analysis

Analyze everything on the SERP for your target keyword. Be thorough. If the majority of your target audience is on a smartphone, start with mobile SERPs.

  • Search the keyword in a clean browser/Incognito. 
  • Search the keyword logged in to a Google account. At the time of publishing, that’s the only way to see if an AIO is triggered for a query.
  • Search using different browsers & browser apps. Use Google Analytics to see which are most popular with your website visitors.
  • Analyze each SERP: 
    • Is there a Featured Snippet? Knowledge graph? AIO?
    • Are there a lot of ads? That means it’s more competitive.
      • Is your client/website running an ad on this keyword? Should that change once you have a web page organically ranking at the top?
    • Is there local intent indicated by a maps pack?
    • Are there rich image and video results?
    • What other SERP features can you identify? Are they relevant to your website/business?
    • What are the PAAs and related searches? Do they skew informational, procedural, transactional?
    • Are there topic bubble filters? Notice the topics & what order they are in.
    • What order are the other Google products displayed below the search bar? (Images, Shopping, Videos, Forums, etc) - they’re shown in order of most to least searched going left to right.
    • Is there a Google-generated buying guide, “Things to Know” or topic pack?
    • Is there an organic product grid? If so, analyze the products and features in it. 
    • Is there a shopping filter on the SERP? Which result refinement options are shown, and in what order?
    • What other SERP features are showing up? What does that tell you about Google’s interpretation of user intent? 
  • If you have time: Do your search on multiple SEs, including Perplexity and Brave. See what ChatGPT spits out for your query. Analyze everything through the lens of your target audience: identify what’s relevant, helpful and delightful.

The point isn’t to collect every single piece of information, but to find clues about closely related topics and queries, notice patterns and trends, and identify elements that will help you build or refresh a web page that delivers what your audience is searching for.

Keep in mind a possible outcome of SERP analysis is that the keyword isn’t actually a great target. Maybe it used to be, and the dominant search intent has changed. Maybe it looked like a good keyword target until you saw what’s winning for it.

2. Competitor Analysis

Note which web pages are most prominent in search results. This includes Featured Snippets, AIO citations, image and video rich results, PAA winners, everything on the SERP.

  • Are you seeing a few dominant websites/brands or is it more diverse? Get a sense for the competitive landscape.
  • Are they direct competitors? What types of websites are winning? 

Scrutinize the organic blue links winning in Search for the target keyword. Notice which page titles are most attractive and think about why. Notice the bolded words in results snippets and look for patterns there. Look for site links, review stars, image thumbnails & other rich results around each blue link.

  • If you’re using a browser extension like Keyword Surfer it can show you the number of words on each web page, and how many times the exact keyword is on the page: look for patterns there.
  • Visit the winning pages and figure out why Google decided these were the top results. Remember the SERP analysis you just did: how does that relate to the winning organic results?
  • Is there a publish date displayed for web pages and does that seem like a factor in who ranks best?
  • Run Semrush or Ahrefs reports on competitor pages. How long have they been visible for your target keyword? What other keywords draw organic traffic to the page? What’s the organic traffic trend for the page? 
  • Identify successful aspects of winning web pages. Where do your eyes first go? What do you love about the page?
  • Notice what’s frustrating or lacking as well. Does the page fail to deliver on the promise made by the title? Do you have to scroll past long boring passages to get to the good stuff? Are the images generic, irrelevant or distracting?

Use what you learn about competitors to analyze (or plan) your own web page:

  • Think about how you can emulate successful elements of other web pages in your own way, ideally even better.
  • Notice whether you have any of the annoying types of content you spotted on other sites, so you can improve or get rid of it.
  • Figure out if there are opportunities current winning pages are missing, that you can capitalize on. Remember you’re not trying to be like other web pages, you’re trying to create the best possible resource for your audience.
  • Compare where your web page is ranking for this keyword (if not easy to spot “near” the top, check using Semrush). How big of a lift will it be to get where you want to be?
  • If your page is ranking organically for your target keyword, is Google displaying the page title & meta description as defined, or a dynamic title tag and results snippet? Look for dynamic changes when you search related or longtail keywords. Look for opportunities to tighten up wording to supply a more condensed and attractive snippet.

How to Identify & Reverse-Engineer a Successful Web Page

Here’s a specific report you can use in Ahrefs to see which of competitor pages are getting more traffic, and why.

Phase One

  • Start in Site Explorer
  • Enter a page path, for example
  • Go to Top pages in the left-hand nav (it’s under Organic search)
  • Look for steep recent growth in the line graph, then use the date dropdowns to choose the dates you want to compare 
  • Look at the change column in the table below the graph - green represents increase

Phase Two

  • Take a URL that grew a lot and throw it in another Site Explorer report
  • Click on Page inspect on the left nav (second item from top)
  • You’ll see a calendar of recent months - pick a recent dark green square (the darker, the more changes were made to the page)
  • It’ll show you a side-by-side comparison of page content, with changes highlighted

Use this analysis to figure out why the changes they published resulted in traffic growth. Decide how you can use that information to make effective changes to your own content.

<div class="post-note-cute">You don’t want to copy competitors and make incremental improvements to your content. Analyze everything through the lens of what’s best for your specific audience, and how you can provide truly unique information and value not found anywhere else. That could mean additional text, but it could also mean a video, a diagram, an infographic, a new analysis of relevant research or data, collaborating with a new SME or tying your topic in to recently trending topics. Be creative, original and helpful!</div>

3. Keyword Analysis 

In Semrush: pop that target keyword into the Keyword Magic tool:

  • Look at Broad Match and notice the most popular qualifiers and any themes that stand out. 
  • Look at Questions and and identify which ones would be helpful to answer on the page, and which would be better candidates to target with a separate blog or FAQ (e.g. how closely related are they to the target keyword, and what would be most helpful?) - topical authority.
  • Look at Related and see if there are related keywords that it makes sense to include on the page or target with an informational page - topical authority. Make sure the intent aligns with your target audience.
  • Look for your branded search terms in all the categories you explore (Broad Match, Questions, Related). Search any branded queries listed and see if you’re winning on them, and note which pages.
  • Keep the Semrush Keyword Magic tab open as you move on to the next step.

In Ahrefs: pop that target keyword into Keyword Explorer:

  • Notice any significant differences in the keyword difficulty & search volume compared to Semrush.
  • What’s the parent topic for this keyword? It’s often the same, but notice if it’s different. Does your website have any content fulfilling queries for the parent topic?
  • In the Keyword Ideas section, skim the Terms match, Questions, Also rank for & Also talk about. Apply critical thinking: how much existing content does your website have for those related terms and topics? Do you see any related terms, questions or themes you didn’t see in Semrush? Try and develop a comprehensive understanding of the search activity around your keyword. 
  • Scroll down to Position history: Do rankings fluctuate a lot for this term, or are they pretty stable? What patterns do you notice? Is there a specific web page that’s been consistently killing it for this keyword? If yes, they deserve extra scrutiny: use the Organic Research tool in Semrush / Site Explorer in Ahrefs to do deeper analysis on that page to reverse engineer their success.
  • Scroll down to SERP overview for target keyword. It shows you organic rankings without the SERP features. Here are your competitors at a glance. 
    • This is a good way to skim all the winning Page Titles together. How can you craft something that will stand out? What words or phrasing are overused?
    • Go to the ‘Compare with’ dropdown and select a date one month ago, six months ago, one year ago (whatever makes sense for your situation). How has the SERP changed in that time interval? What does that tell you about evolving user intent? 
    • Which competitors have stayed dominant? Which have made leaps? Which have fallen? How do those findings relate to the analysis you did of those competitor web pages? You can learn from both the winners and the losers.

In Google Trends: you know what’s up - pop that target keyword into Google Trends!

  • Stretch the time period out to 5 years (or more) - notice patterns
  • Check out Interest by subregion (if relevant to your service/product) - are there any helpful, meaningful ways to take searcher location into account when updating/creating content? Note: Choosing an industry vertical with the ‘Categories’ dropdown can change this section!
  • Look at the related topics - does your website have content about those? Should it?
  • Look at the related queries - is there anything new here you didn’t already see in Semrush/Ahrefs?
  • Are there any breakout topics/queries relevant to your audience?

If you’re targeting a super competitive keyword you might need to go even deeper. In Semrush under Content Marketing click on Topic Research and pop your target keyword in there. Analyze the top and trending subtopics that come up for it. Decide whether your web page needs to expand to include more and/or become part of a cluster of related pages fulfilling a broader range of related search queries.

4. Analyze Your Web Page

Skip or modify the pointers below as needed in light of your goal: whether it’s improving an existing page, or creating a new page (or more than one).

  • Go to your page currently ranking for the target keyword.
    • Analyze the content: 
      • How does it compare to the pages currently winning?
      • Is anything broken?
      • How does it look on a smartphone? 
      • If you were a potential customer, what would you find helpful or frustrating? Delightful or disappointing?
    • Analyze the URL in GA & GSC:
      • Look at traffic volume, seasonal patterns & long-term trend
      • Look at traffic channels and any changes in those trends over time (Did Paid Search start eating up Organic Traffic at some point? Did you lose a big referrer to this page?)
      • Are people entering this page a lot, or navigating to it after entering the site through another page? Which one(s)? 
        • Are there more places on the website where it would make sense to add a link to this page? Answer this based on logic/relationship. Also do a site: search and look for where the target keyword appears on other pages - would it be helpful to add a link from there? Can people get to this page from the navigation and/or footer? If not, would it make sense to add a link from there?
      • Look at the organic search terms getting impressions & clicks for this URL. Look at the overall trend as well as YOY comparison. 
      • Note the room for improvement, but also note the ways your page is performing well and don’t break what’s working!

Based on all the information and insights you gleaned through SERP, competitor & keyword analysis:

  • Decide how to optimize the page for the target keyword. 
    • Specify what the page should include, and how the content should be structured. Use the points below to create a detailed outline for updating/creating the page.
      • Plan out your headings. Are you making best use of the h1? Don’t just match the Page Title - provide a high-value alternative (Google might display either of them depending on user’s search history & specific query).
      • What does this page need to BEST fulfill the search query? Images? Video? Infographic? FAQ? A quick answer to a specific subquery at the very top? Quiz? Calculator? A downloadable checklist, template or other resource?
      • Think about ways to make the content skimmable and avoid long passages: accordions, bulleted lists, more headings.
      • How will you need to write/revise the content, page title, meta description, and headings?
      • Does your page have structured data? Add/optimize all possible schema markup.
      • Are your images optimized for search? Think about the file type, size, load time, alt attribute and captions. Can you replace stock images with originals?
    • Specify which pages this page should link to on the client’s website. Priority: what would be helpful for a page visitor?
    • Would it be helpful to link to any offsite resources from this page?
    • Specify which of your own web pages should link TO this page internally. 
      • Refer back to your keyword analysis and make a list of the most important keyword variants. Diversify your internal link anchor text.
    • Determine if you should create additional related pages to interlink with this page.
      • Create detailed outlines for those pages as well.

<div class="post-note-cute">ChatGPT can be a helpful tool for assisting with analysis as well as summarizing your findings.</div>

5. Summarize Your Findings

This is only relevant if you have to explain your findings to a client or internal stakeholder. If not (you lucky dog!) you can skip this section.

The person you’re presenting to may or may not want to see how the sausage is made. Assume not, and keep thing simple. But be ready to provide more detail if they ask for it. 

Summarize your recommendations in a format that's easily digestible for the person whose approval you require:

  • Consider how much they understand about SEO and UX, their personality, and how much time they have for this.
  • What have they responded to well in the past? If they love slide decks, make one. If they hate slide decks, maybe a bulleted or numbered list is better. 
  • What types of communications have they historically disregarded? Some people avoid email and love Slack, or vice-versa. Sometimes you really need to sit down with someone, or at least be on a live call.

Tailor your format and delivery to your audience (in this case, your client or higher-up) to speed up the approval process so you can move forward.

6. Create a Plan

If you’re working alone, you can simplify this step.

  • Distill your recommendations into a series of action items. If it needs to happen, put it in writing. 
  • List action items in logical order. 
  • Specify who does what.
  • If a review/approval process is needed, define it and add those steps to the plan.
  • If you use a project management platform like Asana, turn your action items into tasks (or one big task with subtasks). 
  • Assign each task to an individual. 
  • Put a due date on all of the tasks. You can always update deadlines later if needed.

7. Execute

Don’t wait to get started. It's best to take action while all of this is relatively fresh in your head. 

  • Begin working on the first task(s) as soon as possible.

<div class="post-note-cute">If obstacles arise, address them assertively. For example, if a developer isn’t available to do work you need done on the web page then move on to a task you don’t need a developer for. Find out when a developer will be available, and assign a due date. Put reminders in your calendar to follow up. Don’t wait for other people to realize they’re supposed to do something and follow through of their own accord. You invested valuable time and effort in defining this work. Nobody is going to care about it as much as you do. See it through.</div>

  • After any change is made to an existing page, QC it immediately on both desktop and mobile. Click every link. Play every video. Ask someone you trust to review it with fresh eyes. Ditto for new pages that are published.
  • If you add structured data to the page, test it.
  • Use the Ahrefs Chrome extension (or similar) to make sure the page title, meta description, image alts, headings, OG markup (etc) are the way they are supposed to be.
  • Immediately QC any new interlinking you add.
  • When your tasks are complete, submit the URL for indexing (or reindexing) in GSC.
  • Determine if there are other ways this new/refreshed content should be promoted. Maybe you should share it on LinkedIn, create a GBP update or work it into an email/newsletter schedule.
  • Put a reminder in your calendar (or create a task) to check on page performance. 
  • If you need to report on the results of your work, refer back to step five and choose the best reporting format and style.

<div class="post-note-cute">If you have questions or need help developing website content for your audience, don’t hesitate to reach out to <a href="mailto:info@momenticmarketingcom"></a></div>

The image in this blog was generated by AI and all the content was written by me.

Bar chart showing increase over time with Momentic logo