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What is Serpstat and How Do You Use It for Keyword Research?

Written by James Parsons • Updated June 14, 2024

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The Serpstat Logo

There are easily hundreds, if not thousands, of tools on the internet that help you do some kind of keyword research. Some are cheap shells for ChatGPT, some are scrapers that harvest Google autocomplete suggestions, some are white-label resellers of others, and a few of them are robust research platforms.

Serpstat is one of the bigger names in keyword tools, but the question is, are they one of the good ones, and if so, how do you use it?

What is Serpstat?

Serpstat is a large, all-in-one SEO research platform. You can view the website here.

The Serpstat Homepage

You are immediately given the option to type in a domain and start your analysis of that site in just a single click, but scrolling down gives you more of an idea of the tools and options available to you.

  • Competitor analysis. By searching a domain, you can see their search visibility, estimated website traffic, number of ranking keywords, number of paid keywords, a list of their keywords and rank for those keywords, their position distribution, and more.
  • Site audit. This is a technical site review, which can show you things like the site speed, HTTP response codes, page title lengths, meta description links, meta tag analysis, and various common SEO problems like overlong titles or missing titles.
  • Keyword research. A dedicated keyword analysis platform that shows your top competitors and their top keywords, along with tons of data about each keyword, including difficult estimates, search volume, CPC, and even the number of results.
  • AI content. This is a two-for-one, both a tool for generating content similar to GPT, and an analyzer that can estimate how likely a piece of content is to be made with AI. Neither are likely as good as dedicated platforms for the intended purpose, but having both on hand alongside everything else is handy.
  • Keyword clustering. Content/topic/keyword clustering is the art of taking one keyword and spinning off all the variations that can give you distinct topics to talk about. Their example is the latest iPhone, with subtopics like the Pro Max version, the release date, the price, the specs, and similar keywords.

Those are the core offerings of Serpstat, but they have other smaller tools available as well. For example, they have a backlink checker and auditor, a rank tracker, and SERP crawling tools you can use as well.

How Much Does Serpstat Cost?

As a large and dedicated platform, you might expect Serpstat to be pricey, and you’re not entirely wrong.

Serpstat Pricing Plans

They have four possible packages:

  • Individual, which costs $60 per month.
  • Team, which costs $120 per month.
  • Agency, which costs $480 per month.
  • Enterprise, which is customized to your volume needs.

Each of these has limitations on how many searches, reports, and other metrics you can gather in a given month. For example, Individual limits you to 100 searches per day, Team to 500, and Agency to 5,000. You can see the full rundown on their pricing page.

How to Use Serpstat for Keyword Research

The first and easiest thing to do with keyword research on Serpstat is to use the keyword research tool to gather information about a particular keyword.

To do this, all you need to do is type in a keyword, make sure the search type is set to keyword and the search engine is Google, and click search. You will then be given a report screen about that keyword. It gives you a lot of useful information, including:

  • Volume, which is the monthly search volume as they have recorded for the keyword.
  • Competition, which is how difficult it will be to compete for that specific keyword on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the hardest. Note that this is for PPC competition.
  • CPC, which is the cost per click if you were to pay for Google ads for that keyword.
  • Keyword Difficulty, which is a more subjective rating from 1 to 100, of how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword in organic search.

You also get two charts of sub-keywords, one for organic keywords and one for paid keywords. These are keyword variations, the ones used for organic searching and the ones used for PPC advertising. Both also give you the search volume and the cost per click for those keywords.

Serpstat Keyword Research

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There are essentially three ways you can use this data.

First, you can see the vital stats for any given keyword. Plugging in a long-tail keyword you’re considering targeting gives you a good idea of both how difficult it will be to rank and what the search volume you can expect to potentially reach with it is. Targeting keywords with very high difficulty is usually a wasted effort unless you’re very sure of yourself. Targeting keywords with very low search volume isn’t worth the effort simply because the reward is so low. Though, of course, these niche topics can be part of content clusters and can still be valuable when looking at your site as a whole.

Second, you can scope out keyword variations and subtopics. A huge part of good content marketing is coming up with content clusters, which means taking a top-level keyword and spinning it off into variations. “Shoes” might split off into “athletic shoes,” “dress shoes,” “steel-toed shoes,” and more, for example. While each of those can be further split into topics worth writing about, you may have to repeat your searches a few times to dig down enough to find valid topics.

Third, you can view organic search competitors for a keyword. This allows you to estimate what kind of competition you’ll be up against and can give you some idea of what you need to do to compete. Something like “shoes” is going to have a ton of e-commerce sites, for example, and the top competitors are sites like Amazon, Zappos, DSW, Nike, and Target. Niche sub-topics, though, will show you a different story.

Another feature of the Serpstat keyword report is the option to request more SEO keyword data. It takes them around a week to harvest more data for queries they haven’t researched before, which can be an unfortunate delay, but it’s good to know that if there’s nothing populated right away, you can still get that information eventually.

As you browse through their tables of possible keywords, you can select some to dig deeper into, and export lists for your use in other ways.

All of this is just with the keyword reports, but that’s just one small part of how real keyword research should work.

Keyword Research from Competitive Analysis

If you’ve read through the above and thought, “Big deal, I can get that from ___,” where the blank is filled by something like the Google keyword planner or from some random free tool, well, you aren’t wrong. There’s nothing truly unique or innovative in the data Serpstat gives you about these keywords. The real value comes from other tools, like the competitor analysis tool.

The site analysis tool works more or less the same way as the keyword analysis tool: just plug in the domain at the top, make sure the drop-down is on the domain, and search.

Serpstat Competitive Analysis Keyword Research

This tool gives you a lot of useful information about a given site, but the biggest is seeing the keywords they’re ranking for. You can use this to view what your competitors are doing, what keywords they’ve targeted, and how well they’re doing with them.

You can also check to see where your competitors are getting their traffic. This is a combination of volume metrics and backlink analysis and can offer some pretty good insights. A keyword that doesn’t look like it would give you much can be pretty valuable if you get a few top-tier backlinks pointing at it.

You can do a top-level analysis of up to five domains at once, as well. This can be five competitors or your own domain and four competitors, and it gives you basic metrics like what keywords they’re ranking for now that they didn’t use to be, how many keywords they’ve lost or gained rank for, the domain rank, referring pages, and so on. It’s all basic data, but you can dig deeper as well. The deeper domain versus domain report has eighteen different metrics you can compare.

Keyword Research with Content Clustering and Trend Data

Another source of data Serpstat offers that can be helpful to your keyword research is the combination of the keyword trends and the content clustering tools.

The keyword trends tool is a Google query trend tracker that shows city-level data. This is very handy for local businesses but a little less so for more generalized online services. Unfortunately, it’s pretty generic data, but if you’re a local brand chasing local topics, it can be a good resource.

Content clustering, on the other hand, is super useful.

Serpstat Content Clustering

Here, you can start a keyword clustering project and fill out the following information:

The title, domain, search engine, country, region, and keyword list. This is all the basic information to get you started. You can plug in a ton of possible keywords in the list – up to 50,000 – but you don’t need that many if you don’t want that many.

The keyword relationship strength. Weak means that the keywords have to share at least three URLs in the top 30 search results to be considered related. Medium means at least 8 common URLs, and strong means at least 12. Basically, the more the keywords have in common in search results, the stronger their relationship.

The cluster type. There are two kinds: soft and hard. Soft clusters are clusters where keywords can chain off of other keywords, so you can have multiple keywords in a cluster that are related to a central keyword but not to each other. Hard requires that they all be related to one another.

Once you’ve set all of this information, Serpstat will map out the keyword relationships and provide you with a cluster chart. You can then use this to come up with your own content clusters. It’s very handy!

Are There Downsides to Serpstat?

A few.

First and foremost is the price. There are a lot of top-tier keyword and competitor research tools on the market. Serpstat is cheaper than something like Semrush or the middle plans of Ahrefs, but there are other research tools that get you 80-90% of the way there for closer to $30 per month. If you’re relatively new to keyword research, try those other tools – or even free tools – first and see if they get you what you need. Then, once that additional 10-20% of data those tools can’t give you is worthwhile to you, use Serpstat to get it.

Serpstat Plan Differences

Another potential downside is the speed and reactivity of the platform. I haven’t been too bothered by it, but some people are very sensitive to delays, and Serpstat is not the fastest platform on the block. You run a query and it takes time to gather, calculate and generate your reports. In cases where the data doesn’t exist and they need to harvest it, which can happen a lot for smaller-scale sites, you end up with that week-long latency.

Serpstat is very good at a few things, decent at a lot, and chooses to simply not have some features rather than do them half-assedly. If you’re more used to a huge enterprise-grade platform that does everything, you might feel limited; if you’re used to trying to lump together the results of a dozen free tools, having most of it in one place is very convenient.

Don’t get me wrong, Serpstat is still pretty great. I wouldn’t call it a bad tool or even bad for the price. The few drawbacks it has are easily ignorable depending on what you want to get out of it.

Are There Good Serpstat Alternatives for Keyword Research?

Of course! I have three main tools I recommend. The first is Ahrefs, which is simply an incredible research tool all around. The second is Semrush, which is my pick for “if I could only use one tool for the rest of my career, which would it be?”

Topicfinder Competitor Research

The third is Topicfinder. I made Topicfinder as a quick and easy solution to keyword research and topic ideation. It’s not here to provide you with a huge dashboard full of keyword data, though; no, it’s here to scrape out the useful topics from all of your top competitors in a matter of seconds and give you a nice, workable list you can use to generate your own content. You can export the data and filter it through other tools or just use it as-is; it’s up to you! Why not give it a try?

Written by James Parsons

James is the founder and CEO of Topicfinder, a purpose-built topic research tool for bloggers and content marketers. He also runs a content marketing agency, Content Powered, and writes for Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and other large publications. He's been a content marketer for over 15 years and helps companies from startups to Fortune 500's get more organic traffic and create valuable people-first content.

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