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How Brands Can Use STAT To Thrive Amidst SERP Chaos

Free Content

Over the last 24 months, marketers and SEOs have gone through a lot of pain. 

The changes that have taken place have been nothing like any marketer has ever seen. Artificial intelligence sent Google down a path to flag a “code red,” licensing deals with Reddit changed the dynamics of the SERP, algorithm updates have changed what content ranks, leaks have happened, and AI Overviews were launched. 

To suggest that it’s been a lot to monitor would be an understatement…

At Foundation, we work with some of the top brands in the world, helping them understand their position on the SERPs, the success of their SEO initiatives, and the growth of their brand. The ability to understand how to think both on a micro level and a macro level is something that we pride ourselves on and believe gives our clients the edge they need to thrive amidst chaos. 

In this article, I’m going to be pulling back the curtain a bit on how we use one of my favourite tools — STAT Search Analytics — to support our clients in monitoring their rankings, understanding trends happening in the industry, and keeping tabs on the competitive landscape at large. 

The Changing Tides On The SERPs

You have likely noticed how volatile the SERP has been over the last few months. 

Reddit is now on the SERPs. LinkedIn articles are now on the SERPs. Coupon sites have vanished. Directories are evaporating unless they follow EEAT best practices. AI Overviews are appearing for top keywords. The entire landscape of the SERP is changing.

So, how do you overcome this change? 

One of the best things that a brand can do to inform its organic growth strategy is to monitor the ways the algorithm is changing and the type of content showing on the SERPs. In STAT, we like to monitor how our clients are doing but also monitor how sites are doing that our clients have the ability to influence and create content on. 

In STAT, you have the ability to monitor the things that are featured on the SERPs at scale. In an X post, Lily Ray, who is the VP of SEO Strategy at Amsive, shared the growth of the discussions and forums SERP feature over time: 

Overview of the STAT Search Analytics tool interface, showcasing various features used for monitoring rankings, trends, and competitive landscape in SEO

This spike showed a significant changing tide in SEO. In 2023, the vast majority of the content showing on the SERPs was news, but in December 2023, there was a significant shift as more discussion sites and forums started to appear.

One of those sites that skyrocketed up the SERPs was Reddit: 

Graph showing the significant increase in Reddit's organic traffic on SERPs, highlighting its growth over time.

As you can see in this visual, the growth of Reddit capturing organic traffic has been significant. 

We’ve helped many of our clients start implementing strategies around both inspiring and creating content that lives on Reddit. To ensure that we’re monitoring the success of these initiatives, we have been monitoring success using STAT to see how Reddit is performing on the SERPs across high-priority keywords for our clients. 

The “Daily Snapshot” in STAT provides a great glimpse into seeing trends on the SERPs: 

Daily Snapshot in STAT showing Reddit ranking in the top 4-10 positions for over 550 high-priority keywords relevant to clients.

In the snapshot above, we can see that across 2,200 high-priority keywords, Reddit ranks in the top 4-10 for 550+ keywords that are relevant to our clients. The “Share of Voice” leaderboard is also helpful because it provides us with insight into understanding what other sites exist that we should be considering as places for our clients to have a presence. 

Using STAT to Gauge Directory Investment

One of the most highly valued assets on the internet is a review. People leave (and want to read) reviews for travel, consumer goods, movies, and almost everything in between. Our team at Foundation works with and has worked with some of the top software brands in the world, ranging from companies like Procore and Snowflake to Webex and Canva. Two of the sites that every software company competes with are the software review sites G2 and Capterra. 

G2 and Capterra generate millions of visits every single month. The visitors to these sites tend to be B2B tech buyers and decision makers looking to decide what software they should buy to solve a certain problem. These sites rank for keywords like:

  • Top CRM software
  • Top marketing automation software
  • Top waste management software
  • And much, much more

We use STAT to monitor closely how these two directories show up on the SERPs for highly valuable keywords. The chart below gives us and our clients a snapshot of how these sites are doing on the SERPs for their bottom-of-funnel keywords: 

STAT Share of Voice leaderboard indicating the top 10 sites on SERPs, featuring a slight dip for G2 and a rise for Capterra, with Zapier appearing as a notable competitor.

This type of data can inform our decision making in three ways: 

  1. We can use this data to better understand which directory we should be prioritizing as a part of a full-funnel SEO strategy. 
  2. We can use this data to gain insight into understanding whether or not clients should be investing more intentionally in BOFU-related keywords in their niche. 
  3. We can identify net new competitors on the SERPs that might be worth investigating.

Shown in the screenshot above, the Top 10 Trending chart is one of my favourite features within STAT as it showcases the top 10 sites on the SERPs based on Share of Voice. The fact that G2 has shown a slight dip while Capterra is on the rise is an interesting changing tide that would be worth monitoring. In addition, it’s important to note the inclusion of Zapier on this list, which stands out as being different from the rest of the sites. Zapier is an actual software product, but they’re ranking on the SERPs for keywords (BOFU specific) that are similar to directory sites and media publications like Forbes and TechRadar. A closer look at their content shows the full picture: 

Chart comparing SERP performance for Capterra and Reddit, showing Capterra’s dominance among directories and Reddit’s increasing visibility for valuable bottom-of-funnel keywords

It appears that Zapier has embraced a strategy where they created hundreds of blog posts that are going after “Best [Software Category]” keyword variations. 

Using STAT, we’re able to get an even closer look at the state of the SERPs and see how change is happening across multiple domains at scale. The chart below shows us that while Capterra is winning on the SERPs against directories, Reddit is showing up more than ever on the SERPs for keywords that are highly valuable BOFU phrases:

Chart displaying the Share of Voice for current leaders on SERPs, including Quora and YouTube, used to gauge the relevance of Q&A and video content in the marketing mix.

We can also look at the Share of Voice: Current Leaders chart and see where sites like Quora and YouTube are showing up. The constant monitoring of these channels gives us the ability to gauge and decide whether Q&A content or video content should be part of our marketing mix. 

Making the Case For Video SEO

The rise of YouTube on the SERPs is also something that every brand should be monitoring. In STAT, you’re able to upload the keywords you’re prioritizing and see how often video content is showing up directly on the SERPs in comparison to other keywords. 

Here’s an example showing how often YouTube is appearing on the SERPs for one of our enterprise clients: 

Example from STAT showing the frequency of YouTube videos appearing on SERPs for an enterprise client, emphasizing the importance of a YouTube-specific SEO strategy

In a case where a client is looking to achieve complete SERP domination, a YouTube-specific strategy can make a lot of sense. The thing I love about STAT for monitoring this process is that you can track SERP features beyond just video content. You can monitor Recipes, Ratings, Q&As, Podcasts, Popular Products, Stores, Things to Know Features, Price Features, Video Carousels, and so much more. This type of insight is immensely valuable for helping you understand the types of content you should be investing in and Google’s interpretation of what searchers are looking for when typing in certain keywords and queries. 

As the SERPs continue to change and AI overviews start to roll out in different regions, tools like STAT become even more important for monitoring volatility. The data should guide decision making and can help you maximize your investment for capturing market share on the SERPs. If you’re interested in learning more about how STAT can be used to support your business, let me know or reach out directly to their team. The STAT team is always great to work with, and their customer support is far beyond what is common in the industry. 

It’s more important than ever for all of us to monitor the changing tides. 

I hope this guide will help you steer your ship in the right direction toward organic traffic and long-term brand success. 

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