If you’re just getting started with your content marketing strategy, chances are you’ve been asking yourself, “How do I know what to write about?”
Starting with researching keywords is important, especially if they’re relevant to your site’s niche.
However, keyword research isn’t just about coming up with keywords. Rather, it’s also an opportunity to find new ways to talk about what your readers care about.
A good strategy for identifying these topics is to conduct a content gap analysis.
With content gap analysis, you’ll drive more traffic with your content, convert more leads, and add substantial value to your readers.
We’ll be discussing what content gap analysis is and how you can use it to evaluate and improve your own website’s content.
So let’s dive in!
- What Content Gap Analysis Exactly Means
- What Makes Content Gap Analysis Significant?
- Doing Content Gap Analysis
- Best SEO Tools to Scale Content Gap Analyses
- How to Add the Results of Your Content Gap Analysis to Your Topic Clusters
- Getting Your Content Gap Analysis Right
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Content Gap Analysis Exactly Means
It is a process in which you evaluate your existing content on a topic and identify any existing gaps. These gaps are topics that you haven’t yet covered or areas where your current piece of content is lacking.
In order to improve your website’s content, you need to fill these gaps with new or better content.
It can help you improve your strategy by identifying these gaps and providing direction on how to fill them.
Content gap analysis comes after your keyword research. You should already have an idea about the keywords you want to rank for. Next, find out the type of content produced around those keywords.
You can then compare this information against your list of keywords and see what gaps exist.
The best part is that this method helps you identify the types of content that you may not have considered before.
Imagine your initial plan is to focus on creating blog posts around a specific keyword. But after conducting a content gap analysis, you see that your audience is seeking video content around that keyword. The optimal solution here would be to produce a video instead.
The same goes for images, infographics, eBooks, and so on. It’s all about finding the right balance between different types of content so that you don’t end up spreading yourself too thin.
What Makes Content Gap Analysis Significant?
Content analysis allows you to take a step back and look at your website from a bird’s eye view.
It can be easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details of creating and managing content.
But it can help you audit your content to identify areas of improvement as you evaluate your overall strategy.
It can also help to improve your website’s SEO. By identifying gaps in your content, you can make sure that you are covering all of the relevant keywords and topics for your audience.
This will help your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), making it more visible to potential customers.
Common Content Gaps Include
- Content freshness: Is this piece of content recently created or updated?
- Comprehensiveness: Does this piece of content include all information that covers this topic?
- Usability: Is it easy to read and understand what’s on the page?
- Wow factor: Is this piece of content impressive enough to share with others?
Doing Content Gap Analysis
1. Lay Out Your Customer’s Journey
The first step is to identify your buyer’s journey. This means understanding the different stages that a potential customer goes through when they’re considering a purchase. There are typically three stages to any buyer’s journey:
- Awareness: The stage during which a potential customer realizes they’ve got a specific need or problem.
- Consideration: The stage during which a potential customer begins to look for available options that can help them solve their need or problem.
- Decision: The stage during which a potential customer makes up their mind and starts to take action.
For each stage of the buyer’s journey, you need to identify:
- The content that already exists on your website.
- The gaps within that content.
To do this, you can use a spreadsheet to track your content and make notes on where gaps exist.
Here is an example of how you can do it:
|Buyer’s Journey||Existing Content||Content Gap|
|Awareness||Blog post on problem-solving||eBook on problem-solving|
|Consideration||Case study on the product||Video testimonials from customers|
|Decision||Product page||FAQ section|
Another example can be:
|Buyer’s Journey||Existing Content||Content Gap|
|Decision||Live Demo||Products Comparison|
As you can see, content gap analysis provides a way to quickly identify where your content is lacking and what needs to be created.
By mapping out your buyer’s journey, you can make sure that you are providing the right content for each stage to drive them to their decision-making process.
2. Audit Your Content
In addition to market research, you also need to do a content audit for your current content to see if there are any gaps.
You can audit your content by looking at your website’s analytics data and seeing which pages are performing well and which ones are not.
You can also use a tool like Google Search Console to see the keywords that your website is ranking for and the ones you’re missing.
By analyzing your current content, you can identify your well-covered topics and the ones that need more attention. You can then use your observations to create a plan to improve your content strategy.
Going through this process will help you make sure that you’re providing the correct information for your audience.
As a result, you devise an effective strategy and improve your website’s visibility on SERPs.
3. Do Content Marketing Research
In addition to mapping out your buyer’s journey, you must do market research to understand what content exists on your topic.
You can do content marketing research by searching for your target keyword on Google and taking notes of the results that show up for you.
You should also look at what your competitors are creating. What do they do in their high-performing content? Are there any gaps in their content?
Your market research should answer the following questions:
- What pieces of content exist on your topic?
- What are you missing in your topic?
- What can you improve in your content?
Once you’re done with your market research, you can use this information to create a plan for filling the gaps in your content.
This plan should include the content you want to create and when you want to publish them.
4. Analyze Competitors’ Content
In addition to market research and analyzing your own content, you should also analyze your competitors’ content.
Take a look at their website’s analytics data to see which pages are performing well and which are not. You can also use a tool like Google Search Console to see the keywords they’re ranking for and the ones they’re missing out on.
By making a competitor analysis, you create a plan that will improve your own content strategy.
5. Fill Any Gaps
Once you have done your research, it’s time to fill any gaps that you may have discovered.
Create new content or improve the existing ones. If you’re not sure where to start, consider hiring a professional content writer or digital marketing agency to help you with this process.
Best SEO Tools to Scale Content Gap Analyses
If you want to create a comprehensive list of competitive keywords, you might consider compiling them manually.
This involves looking at the top results for high-priority keyword opportunities. You can also use tools like Google’s Search Console, KeywordTool.io, or AnswerThePublic to uncover new keyword ideas, content ideas, or keyword variations/subtopics.
If you get stuck with keyword research tools, you can use Google AdWords Auction Insights report (amongst other things) to identify and classify your competitors’ organic strategies.
1. Using Ahrefs to Do a Content Gap Analysis
From the dashboard choose “content gap”. Then, write your competing websites’ domains in the specified place.
Next, add your domain in the separate label box and click “Show keywords”.
Make sure you filter keywords based on your desired location because keywords can differ from one region to another.
Click on “All intersections” to filter keywords even further.
Then select the number of targets based on your desired outcome:
- All intersections: Shows you keywords that are covered in all your competing links.
- 3 targets: Shows you keywords that are covered by three of your competitors.
- 2 targets: Shows you keywords that are covered by two of your competing links.
- 1 target: Shows you keywords covered by one of your competing links.
2. Using SEMRush to Perform a Content Gap Analysis
SEMrush has a special tool that can help you identify keywords and topics with lots of content gaps so you can start writing articles for them right away.
To use it, simply enter a competitor into the tool. Look at all of their top-performing keywords.
Next, check out each of those keywords individually, looking at the first pages they appear on.
You may sometimes come across a first page with rock-solid results. The content is legitimate and has few gaps.
However, you’ll also find some first-page results that are filled with holes. That’s when you can swoop in with some amazing content and create something better than anything else out there.
3. Using Frase.io to Identify Content Gaps
Frase Content Analytics is a great tool for identifying content gaps. It provides insights about ranked pages on your site and which queries drive traffic to these pages.
It gives you an idea of what kind of content you should create to address these gaps.
3.1. Auditing Your Content
To use Frase.io to conduct a content gap analysis, choose one of the ranking pages that have a low position.
Then, click on its link to check the queries that the page ranks for.
Now, set your impressions status to “descending order” to sort from highest to lowest amounts of impressions on Google.
The query “Limited Company Tax” has 435 impressions, a position valued at 37.46, and zero clicks.
To analyze the page for this query against the top results, tick the box next to the query and the “+” sign at the end of the row.
Next, click on “Create Doc”.
Review your input information then press “Save and continue”.
Now, click on the “Frase Doc” link.
Review the copy and press “Confirm Import”.
3.2. Determining Content Gaps
Now that we’ve imported this webpage, let’s compare its performance against top-ranking competitors.
Click the “SERP” tab then the pencil icon next to “results processed.”
Select the top 10 links and save.
Now click the “Optimize” tab.
Compare your “Topic Score” with the average topic score of your competitors.
If you want to determine if you have any gaps in fulfilling the search intent, review competing page titles.
Select “All Scores” in the “Optimize” tab.
Compare your article’s title to those of your competitors.
Judging from our competitors’ headlines, we’re focusing on the same topic. Therefore, it’s safe to say that we’ve addressed the search intent.
Now comes your time to read through your article to see if it still makes sense today as it did when you first published it.
For example, this webpage tackles online English-learning apps. So is the information covered here still the most up-to-date information on the web?
3.3. Identifying Word Count Gap
From the “Research” tab, Frase.io automatically calculates the document’s average word count against the average word count of its top results.
While word count is not a ranking factor, if there’s a significant difference, perhaps the page you’re reviewing has content gaps.
3.4. Discovering Header Gaps
Select “Headers” and then “Topic Gap” from the “Optimize” tab.
You’ll find a gray-tiled list of several headings that appear on the top-ranking pages but don’t exist in your content.
If you hover over any gray tile, you’ll see the prompt about headers.
Adding some of these headings to your page will boost your topic score.
3.5. Long-Tail Gap
From the “Optimize tab”, select “Long Tail” and then “Topic Gap”.
You will see a list of ranking phrases that don’t appear on your page.
Cover the topic in more depth by adding the recommended long-tail keywords to your content.
3.6. Question Gap
There are two ways to find question gaps in your content:
- Finding questions that serve as main sections of your competitors’ articles.
- Finding questions that serve as complementary points to the articles, such as FAQs.
Let’s go through both of them, one by one.
To find gaps in the former way, go to the “Research” tab and select “Headings” from the “SERP Overview” drop-down menu.
For example, one of our top-ranking competitors covers the main topic of English-learning web apps using the question: “What Is an E-Learning Web App?”
Our page covers this idea using the heading: “What Is a Virtual Classroom Software?”
As part of the content audit, we’ve covered the search intent.
However, since we’re refreshing our content, we can rephrase the question to add one of our targeted keywords (i.e., “online learning app”).
Now, the latter way is to go to the “Research” tab and then click the “SERP Overview” drop-down menu.
Next, click on “Questions” to view the list of questions that your competitors are targeting.
Keep in mind that the SERP option shows you all the questions covered by your competitors whether they serve as main topics or complementary points.
To view the rest of the questions that your competitors might have missed, look at what your audience is asking using other options like “People Also Ask,” “Quora,” and “Reddit.”
Making changes to your overall content strategy based on the results you’ve found will make your content much more effective.
How to Add the Results of Your Content Gap Analysis to Your Topic Clusters
Topic clusters are sub-topics branching from a central main topic that serves as a big umbrella (also known as the “pillar page”).
Topic clusters and pillar pages offer back-and-forth internal linking opportunities to keep readers on your site.
Let’s say you’re a digital marketing agency that offers search engine optimization solutions. After doing your content gap analysis, you find a topic called “content creation process”. This topic then becomes a topic cluster for your pillar page called “SEO”.
Or imagine you’re an online fitness store. After doing your content gap analysis, you come across a topic named “workout routines to get abs”. This topic then becomes one of your topic clusters for your pillar page “workout routines”.
Getting Your Content Gap Analysis Right
Effective gap analysis is an important step in any good online marketing strategy. It helps ensure that you’re providing the right kind of info for your target audience.
By conducting market research and analyzing your existing content, you’ll make sure your strategy works and improves your site’s ranking in search engines.