In the marketing world, content reigns supreme.
After all, great content can help increase brand awareness, build trust with customers, and boost sales.
But, how can you really know if your content is on par with your competition? In this article, I’ll give you the 101 on how to do an SEO content gap analysis.
What We’ll Cover:
- What is a Content Gap Analysis?
- What are the Benefits of a Content Gap Analysis?
- How to Perform a Content Gap Analysis
We’ve all been there.
You’re working tirelessly to grow your business through content marketing, and then you find yourself at a standstill. Your growth plateaus and you lose all motivation to continue creating content that sells.
No need to worry—conducting a content gap analysis will certainly help get the ball rolling.
What is a Content Gap Analysis?
Content strategy is an ongoing process, one that needs to be improved upon and refined on a regular basis.
Essentially, content gaps represent missed chances to receive customer attention online. It requires a fair amount of both keyword analysis and qualitative research to find out where your content marketing efforts are falling short.
Given the ultra-competitive environment in content marketing these days, reviewing your content gaps periodically is a must.
Content gaps caps can take many forms and include:
- Gaps encountered during the customer journey
- Gaps where certain buyer personas aren’t being addressed
- Gaps where you’re not crafting content around certain products or initiatives
The more gaps you can identify in your content, the easier it is to create a plan to fill them. Without a comprehensive content gap analysis, you will continue to churn out new content aimlessly without stopping to think about your blind spots.
What are the Benefits of a Content Gap Analysis?
Analyzing your content gaps equips you with the information needed to concentrate your efforts. By identifying the areas in which you are lacking, you save your business time and money.
How? Well for one, you won’t bother chasing customers who aren’t fit for your product or service. And you won’t make the mistake of educating customers who are already prepared to buy.
A content gap analysis also helps you get a clearer idea of how you’re performing compared to major competitors. Plus, you can unlock the potential for receiving new customer traffic via enhanced keyword strategies. Getting a bird’s eye view of your content can even help you improve the overall relevancy of your website and strengthen relationships with prospective customers.
By running a thorough content gap analysis, you can plan your next move and use the SEO techniques you’ve learned in a more strategic way. Use the information to upgrade or eliminate underperforming content or create new content from scratch.
How to Perform a Content Gap Analysis
On the surface, content gap analysis may sound like a time-consuming or complex endeavor, but it’s one of the simplest ways to measure the success of your SEO and content strategies. The best part is that you may already have some key areas covered, including:
- site traffic
- search engine rankings
- keyword analysis
However, a content gap analysis that delivers real value to your business will go beyond these basic metrics. This may be a great foundation, but you’re going to need a lot more information to really get to the bottom of what needs to be revamped.
It’s a multi-part process that involves examining both your competitor’s content and your own content. Keep in mind—the main goal of your content strategy is to add credibility to your business. To build the kind of credibility that will catapult you to the top of the ranks, consumers need to know as much about your company and its products and services as possible. Sifting through your content for gaps is a good way to find the holes that need to be filled in order to reap the benefits from your marketing efforts.
Here’s a content gap analysis template you can replicate to help you get started.
Who are your competitors?
It goes without saying that with anything marketing-related, you must monitor your competition closely and frequently.
You’ve heard the expression, “keep your friends close and your enemy’s closer,” right? This also applies to your SEO and content gap analysis. Doing so will help you identify what the strengths and weaknesses are in your competitor’s content strategy.
For starters, you need to find out the types of customers your competitors attract, including different buyer personas or segments. Maybe there are entire customer segments they’re missing out on?
Also, be sure to check out their websites to see which keywords they are ranking for. There may be a few hidden gems you overlooked that could potentially drive some traffic to your site and in turn, steal clicks from competitors.
Which topics are your competitors writing about that you’re not?
If your competitors are publishing out-of-this-world content, you need to aim for creating out-of-this-universe content.
The good news is that there’s plenty you can learn from scoping out the competition. You can even leverage their content in your favor.
Start by taking a look at what types of content they’re publishing. Specifically, you need to find competitors who are content-rich in topics relevant to your business already. This will help you uncover relevant topics and keywords you might have missed. It‘s also a great way to determine whether your content has adequately covered the entire customer journey.
Here are some of the main questions you should consider in your competitor content gap analysis:
- How often do they post new content?
- What’s the average word count on their posts?
- Which keywords are they ranking for on the first page?
- On which URLs do they get the most traffic?
- Which of their blog articles have the most engagement on social media?
- Which articles are getting the most backlinks?
Remember—this is just a part of the content gap analysis process. As BlueGreen Marketing’s Robert Duckers explains, “The ‘Content Gap’ itself is not a gap between you and your competitors—it’s a gap between you and your customers.
The content you need to fill the gap can include similar content in topic or keyword-targeting as competitor content, but it doesn’t end there. Don’t focus solely on you vs. competitors. This mindset dismisses the true value of web content—connecting with customers.”
How to use SEMrush’s keyword gap tool
When it comes to SEO, the SEMrush content gap analysis tool is a fan favorite. It offers a variety of resources to help marketers evaluate competitors and discover new ones, find keywords, examine competitors’ marketing efforts, and everything in between.
“Keyword Gap” and “Bulk Analysis” are the most useful features for our purposes. “Backlink Gap” is also a helpful tool that allows you to track the types of backlinks your competitors are receiving and you are not.
Let’s begin with “Keyword Gap.” All you have to do is enter a competitor name followed by your URL, followed by another competitor. By choosing “Unique to the first domain’s keywords” for the first competitor and “Common Keywords” for the third URL, you’ll be presented with a report that lists keywords that each site ranks for that you do not.
The “Bulk Analysis” tool is ideal for detecting why your page is not ranking as well as your competitors. Simply plug in all of the URLs you plan to test, including your own, and voila—you can compare the metrics of more than 200 URLs. These metrics range from how many backlinks each page has to the number of dofollow and nofollow links.
How to use Ahref’s keyword gap tool
Compared to SEMrush, Ahrefs has an even wider range of tools to analyze competitors, explore keywords and backlinks, and inspect the web for opportunities. They also offer a unique “Content Gap” tool specifically designed to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for that you’re not.
First, you need to specify your article, in addition to the articles you are competing against. The more you add, the better.
To ensure you get the most accurate results, make sure you set the Intersections setting to “1 target.” This will list out all the unique keywords that one competitor ranks for, but the others don’t. It’s a quick way to find unique opportunities to ramp up your content game.
And there you go!
You can click on any of the numbers in the “Highest position” column to open to their respective page. If you feel like there are too many keywords, you can narrow down your search results even further by clicking on the plus button and adding more competing sites. We recommend that you start narrow and broaden your search from there.
Time to Close the Gap
Gaps left unfilled in your content marketing strategy will eventually become craters. Over time, these craters will continue to grow wider and wider until they’re simply not fulfilling your needs at all anymore.
That’s why a content gap analysis is such an indispensable step in the content creation process.
Not only will it keep your organization from falling through the cracks, but it will help prioritize which gaps will need filling first and reveal new growth opportunities for long-term content marketing success.
🧰What are the best tools for a content gap analysis?
SEMRush can be easily utilized to discover content gaps which you can fill.
This can be achieved by putting a competitor into SEMRush and perusing through their top performing keywords.
This is a great way to find gaps that you could write content for.
🔥How can a content gap analysis help me produce better content?
Content gap analysis makes sure that you have as much content on your site as possible that your audience will need.
It will also make sure you addressing all their needs so they don’t need to visit another site to get answers.
Content gap analysis also allows you to make sure you’re converting your customers and and answering their questions.
When all this is achieved you’ll have gained an advantage over your competition.