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Who’s Winning the Most Competitive SERPs, and Why?

We examine which businesses dominate competitive keywords and how their content, backlink profile, and technical SEO contribute to their success.

We’re continuously challenged to innovate, which is one of the reasons SEO is such a fascinating field.

But that doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. That isn’t scalable, particularly at the enterprise level.

Proven strategies that you may adopt and alter to inform your SEO strategy should be kept in your back pocket.

So I was thinking What can we learn by looking at the keywords that enterprise-level businesses are optimizing for?

This isn’t a comprehensive analysis; rather, it’s a high-level overview of well-known ranking elements including links, content, and user experience.

The brands that are succeeding in search can teach us a lot!

How I Picked This Assessment’s Keywords

Before we go into the analysis, let me explain how the keywords were selected.

I started by looking for a list of the top enterprise corporations in the United States.

A Fortune 500 firm is an enterprise company, which is a large corporation with a large marketing budget and thousands of employees.

I chose 21 sites that I believed would produce general keywords while avoiding brand-specific terms like “iPhone.”

Then, using Ahrefs, I looked into which organic keywords the sites were ranking for that had a keyword difficulty score of 90 or above.

I ordered the list by site traffic because this indicates whether or not the web page is related to the user’s search query. They would not have clicked through otherwise.

After that, I ran a short Google search to determine if the results page had a variety of websites or if one sort of website dominated.

This eliminated certain possibilities, such as “weather,” because the weather channel, national weather service, and new stations are all expected to rank.

Finally, I chose three enterprise-level keywords that cover a wide range of industries:

Wholesale (coffee).

Industry of service (life insurance).

Financial technology (NFT).

SEO strategy

Coffee SERP Analysis

Because it’s so tidy, the search engine result page (SERP) for the keyword “coffee” piqued my interest

For the term “coffee,” the SERP covers almost every possible search intent.

And I noticed a few peculiarities that could provide us with more information about Google’s algorithm.

This section will start with a quick overview of what makes “coffee” an enterprise SEO keyword, then go on to an examination of what the SERP tells us, and then analyze the link profile and content to see what we can learn.

Coffee Keyword Stats

Avg. Monthly Volume: 6.6 million in the United States.

Difficulty Rating: 96.

Average CPC: $1.80.

SERP Review

When you search “coffee,” you may see a carousel of shopping ads and a map of your local coffee shops.

You can read a knowledge panel with information from Wikipedia and nutrition facts sourced from the USDA on the right-hand side.

Then there are suggested searches for Starbucks coffee drinks, coffee music, and other common terms like tea, espresso, drink, and so on.

In the standard organic results, we have Wikipedia, Peet’s Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Starbucks, the National Coffee Organization, and a healthline.com article.

Hmmm, I wonder why Peet’s coffee ($7.9 billion in total sales) is beating Starbucks ($24.6 billion in net revenue).

And how did the article from healthline.com get in there?

Let’s investigate!

Review of Links

The ranking page for Peet’s Coffee has 6,900 referring domains, whereas the home page for Starbucks has 4,900.

Approximately 1,500 internal backlinks point to Peet’s Coffee’s ranking page.

The anchor or surrounding text of 440 of the 1,500 internal backlinks includes the word “coffee.”

Starbucks has 13,400 internal backlinks to the ranking page; 9,600+ backlinks include “coffee” in the anchor or surrounding text.

Content Review

Peet’s home page has “coffee” in the page title and as the first menu navigation item.

Subheaders include anything from coffee roasting to coffee history.

Out of a total of 1283 words on the main page, the term “coffee” appears 42 times.

In contrast, Starbucks appears to use its website as an extension of its physical locations.

The home page resembles a coffee ordering app or a corporate bulletin board the digital equivalent of a break room corkboard.

Although coffee is mentioned in the page title as part of the brand name, it is not the main focus of the home page.

Coffee appears just 12 times in a total of 515 words.

Review of Technical SEO/UX

Additional issues could be at play here because I did not do a complete technical audit for this investigation.

To swiftly check what schema is on-page and the individual web page’s key web vitals, I used a schema validator and Page Speed Insights tool.

Peet’s Coffee fails the core web vitals assessment because it employs organization, webSite, Product, and Store schema.

Primarily in the first and largest contentful paints (FCP and LCP) (LCP).

The cumulative layout shift (CLS) and initial input delay (FID) look fine.

The home page of Starbucks.com passes all four essential web vitals: FCP, LCP, FID, and CLS, however, there is no schema markup.

The position history between May 2020 and April 2021 was fascinating. For the past year, Starbucks appears to have dropped out of the top 100.

Is there a penalty for Starbucks?

Getting Listed On A Competitive SERP

We need to discuss what Healthline did because it is such an excellent example.

On January 11, 2022, Healthline released an article titled “9 Unique Benefits of Coffee,” which ranked third for the query “coffee” on March 4, 2022.

Are you curious how Healthline got the wedge in?

They detected the missing SERP component.

Shopping, local stores, definitions, nutrition statistics, songs, recipes, and videos were all covered in the SERP, but not why consumers would want to drink coffee the benefits.

People also ask (PAA) questions like “What are the benefits of coffee?” and “Is coffee beneficial for your health?” given a strong indication.

Outranking websites like hopkinsmedicine.org, rush.edu, and harvard.edu, are presumably more trustworthy.

Healthline page structure and author biographies should be given special consideration by YMYL sites.

Finally, did you see anything unusual about how the Healthline story ranked?

The time between when the Healthline article was published and when it was ranked was nearly two months.

What’s going on?

In March 2022, Healthline pounded the “benefits of coffee” page with internal links (first spotted March 2, 2022), and the article shot to the top!