Let’s face it:
Every business’s goal is to rank #1 on Google. Instead of performing a content gap analysis, many blogs are pumping out several articles per week in hopes that it will magically jump to the first page, generate free organic traffic, and convert into sales.
From an SEO perspective, mass publishing can do more harm than good. The internet is already filled with competing content, and truthfully, there isn’t much more room for generic articles. Google’s crawl budget is another thing to consider, and it’s limited.
Savvy SEOs know that the content gap analysis is a powerful way to leapfrog competitors and make your way to ranking on the first page.
In this article, we’ll go over what a content gap analysis is, how it works, and how to conduct one.
Let’s jump in!
What Is Content Gap Analysis?
Content gap analysis is revising existing content and finding “gaps” the content can improve on.
There are 2 ways to look at a content gap analysis.
1. Go through the existing content of your competitors on the internet and find what they lack in.
2. Go through old content on your website, find “gaps,” and reinvent the content for improved versions.
When going through your competitor’s content, look for things like when the content was last updated, if it provides good examples and enough sources to back up their points, and if it’s easy to understand and follow.
If your competitors have gaps, it gives you an excellent opportunity to swoop in and fill them. Not only will you create an outstanding piece of content, but you’ll also improve your SEO. Besides, most internet users don’t consider links past the first page. Being at the top or one of the top options on the search page is crucial for your blog’s success.
The other option is to go back and look at your content. A lot of your older pieces may need an information check and update. Look for things like expired links, a change in policies, new information, and old dates.
That’s exactly what we did.
Using the content gap analysis, we were able to revamp our client’s article completely.
The result? It’s now ranking #1 in Google’s featured snippet position and has gotten over 90,000 visits in the past 30 days.
Content gap analysis can go beyond your competition’s content and your own blog posts. You should be looking to improve your content wherever you can. Consider including the following in your analysis:
- Site pages
- Paid add content
- Landing pages
- In-app messages
- Premium content such as e-books and whitepapers
- Social media
Looking at every aspect of your content marketing campaign will help with your business’s overall success.
What Is the Purpose of a Content Gap Analysis?
So, we know performing a content gap analysis helps tremendously improve your SEO. What’s included in the SEO? What else can we expect?
1. Facilitating the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey is the active research process customers go through until they make a final buying decision.
To put it simply, what questions, problems, or opportunities do your potential customers have that you could help them with?
The content you create should target the problems your potential customers are experiencing and their needs. If there are gaps in the buyer’s journey, that customer will look elsewhere for a product that solves all their doubts.
You also want to accommodate any triggers, pain points, goals, and messaging for each purchase.
Doing a content gap analysis on your sales funnel and your landing pages can all improve the buyer’s journey and make your business more successful.
2. Finding the Keywords that Move the Needle and Using them Correctly
It’s important to do user intent keyword research and categorize your keywords within the phrases of the buyer’s journey. Doing so can help you identify where gaps exist. However, using the wrong keywords can lead to disastrous results.
For example, using the keywords “gluten-free dog treats” is narrowed down and will attract an audience that is already considering buying gluten-free dog treats, helping their buyer journey.
On the other hand, if you use the keywords “healthy dog treats,” your page may or may not be presented to people who aren’t looking for a specific kind of dog treat, and the competition is intensified.
What if your competitor is ranking for the “healthy dog treats” keyword?
It doesn’t matter. Never create content around keywords that your customers have no interest in just because your competitor is ranking well for them.
Besides, you’ll have a much better chance of attracting more traffic if you use niche keywords.
Understanding the intent behind a keyword is crucial for your content gap analysis. Optimizing a page for the wrong keyword could dramatically impact the effectiveness of your campaign.
3. Preventing Potential Customers from Going Somewhere Else
If you don’t fill the gaps, and can’t answer all of your potential customer’s questions, you can be rest assured potential customers will go looking somewhere else. Avoiding giving your competitors this opportunity is key to retaining a consistent customer flow.
4. Proposing the Right Call to Action at the Right Time
Lastly, a content gap analysis can help you ensure you have the proper calls to action, in the right place, and at the right time. Potential customers that get appropriately targeted are much more likely to buy. Missing calls to actions or including them in the wrong places and at the wrong times can cause users to leave and never come back.
Overall, the purpose of a content gap analysis is to help your content perform better in terms of SEO and social shares. Before you hit publish, you should KNOW that your content is better than anything else out there.
Having said that, here are some strategies you can use to get the most out of your content gap analysis.
Content Gap Analysis Strategies
Now that you know the purpose of a content gap analysis, how do you do one? In this next part, we’ll explain exactly how it’s done.
Use Efficient SEO Tools
SEMRush offers a “Bulk Analysis tool,” which basically performs the same as Ahrefs’ content gap analysis tool. Both tools help diagnose why your page doesn’t rank as high as the competition. All you have to do is plug in the URL you are testing, including your own, and it gives you an in-depth look at all the metrics.
- The number of backlinks each competitor has.
- How many dofollow and nofollow links they have.
- The platform’s authority score.
It’s important to note that both these tools are paid, but many free tools offer similar features.
For one, Answer The Public works like a charm for understanding questions asked around a broad topic. For example, here’s a graphic of terms generates around tea.
Keyword Sheeter is another winner in the free SEO tool list. You enter a key seed word, and it starts spitting out all related keywords. You will then need to filter them and see which keywords work and which don’t, but it’s a great tool to generate the maximum keywords possible.
Scan Google’s First Page
Possibly the most obvious way of finding gaps is by searching what’s already on Google’s first page.
Let’s say you want to write a blog post about where quality coffee comes from. Search these keywords and see what pops up:
Then, one by one, go through the results to identify gaps.
Common gaps to look for include:
- Freshness – When was the content created? When was it last updated? Are there outdated links?
- Completeness – Does the content include everything the reader needs to know?
- Shareability – Is the content worth sharing or linking to? Is it easy to read and demonstrate a good flow?
- Originality – Is the content original, including new and innovative ideas, and wows readers?
There is so much generic content on the internet that creating something outstanding isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Even if you update your old content to fill in gaps, you still have a good chance of surpassing the other results.
Revisit Your Old Content
This type of content gap analysis strategy works great for blogs that have had time to build-up their content library in the past. Revisiting old content and turning it into a better version is something many blogs do already because it works really well.
It’s also possible that you were a one-person show when you started the blog. With time, you’ve probably developed better writing skills and gained additional on-page SEO knowledge. Similar to editing blog posts a few days after writing them, you may find many problems in older posts that you may not have noticed before. Here are some common issues you may encounter:
- Excessively long intro and conclusion.
- Over explaining simple things.
- Lack of visuals and references.
- Too many awkward words that make it hard to follow.
You likely already have loads of great content with potential. Some of it may just need some TLC.
Combine Relevant Content
Do you have several weaker pages that could be stronger if made into one? If the pages are relevant, combining them could create one big authoritative blog post.
Monstrous pillar posts are often the source of a topic cluster. This type of content often attracts the most backlinks, as it ends up being the most thorough information on a topic out there.
Remember always to have a primary topic. Yes, combining signals and backlinks of two or several pages does help your SEO. However, combining with subject matter that isn’t in harmony can backfire if not done correctly. The easier your content is to digest, and the quicker the reader finds the answer, the better.
If you’re looking to scale your content output, forget pumping out content like a maniac instead of implementing a strategy. Performing a content gap analysis is one of the most effective strategies to revamp your blog’s old content and create new content that outperforms your competitors.
Follow the steps in this article, and your pages will rank in no time.