Content Gap Analysis: How to Identify and Close Your Content Gaps
Everyone knows that great content is essential to business marketing. After all, great content can help your business grow sales, increase brand awareness and more. Offering the right blend of content is something you just can't fall short on if you want to build long-term success online.
What is a Content Gap?
The term content gap refers to a situation where your competitor is able to meet a customer need that you aren’t meeting. Content gaps represent lost opportunities to earn customer attention online. They’re often described as instances where a competitor has earned search engine ranking for a keyword that your organization hasn’t ranked for. Identifying content gaps is a matter of conducting both keyword analysis and qualitative research to determine where your content marketing is falling short.
Why Should You Do Content Gap Analysis?
If you already see decent results from your online marketing efforts, content gap analysis might not rank high on your priority list. Maybe you feel like it will take too much time compared to its potential ROI. Maybe you want to analyze your SEO efforts for content gaps, but you think you don’t have the resources to do it.
Content gap analysis is essential regardless of your organization’s current position in SERPs. Losing out on traffic for an important keyword or failing to align your strategies with the customer journey might not have a big impact on your business today, but content gaps can lead to serious shortcomings over time.
Analyzing your content helps you get a realistic picture of how you’re doing compared to major competitors. It also helps you discover potential for new customer traffic via improved keyword strategies. Looking at the big picture of your content can also help you increase the overall relevancy of your website and improve relationships with potential customers.
How to Perform a Content Gap Analysis
Content gap analysis might sound time consuming or complicated, but it’s one of the easiest and quickest ways to evaluate the success of your SEO and content strategies. You may already know how you’re doing in some key areas used for content gap analysis, including
- keyword analysis,
- site traffic and
- search engine rankings.
However, successful content gap analysis goes beyond these basics to look at how well your content meets customer education and onboarding needs.
Performing a content gap analysis is a two-part process that involves reviewing both your content and your competitor’s content. Remember that one of the primary goals of your content strategy should be to add credibility to your company. To build credibility, you need to provide consumers with a wide variety of information about your company and its products and services. Analyzing your content for gaps is a great way to find the holes you need to plug in order to get better ROI from your marketing efforts.
Reviewing Your Own Content
You’ll start your gap analysis by taking a look at how well your content measures up against consumer and SEO needs. Set goals for your analysis before you dive in. For example, you might want to improve how well you answer consumer questions or attract a new customer segment by identifying keyword opportunities.
Once you’ve set goals, spend time thinking about your target audience. Who are you trying to reach online? If you haven’t already done so, create buyer personas that describe the demographics, tastes and preferences of your target audience. You can’t perform a fruitful content gap analysis if you don’t know who your buyers are and what they’re looking for.
If you’ve set buyer personas, your next step is to create a customer journey map. A customer journey map helps you understand the process that potential customers go through as they evaluate your business or products. A good customer journey map will reveal the questions that customers need you to answer before they’ll buy your products or recommend your brand to others.
The next step in a content gap analysis is to dive in and complete a content audit. During your audit, you’ll gather information about all the content on your website.
Start by deciding which metrics you need to look at. Some of the most common metrics used during a content audit include
- page traffic,
- unique page visits,
- time on page,
- bounce time and
- audience engagement stats such as likes, shares and comments.
Note and record the statistics for each of your individual content pieces in a spreadsheet.
You’ll need to think about what measures of success you can determine from the metrics you’re using. Then, determine which pieces of your content are the most relevant to your customers. Things like long time on page and low bounce rate indicate that your content is successful. As you analyze your content, make a note of whether each piece is
- good and needs no revision,
- relevant but needs to be updated or
- needs to be removed.
As you review your own content, be sure to look at both overall, sitewide performance and the performance of individual content pieces. Sitewide analysis is something that you only need to do once or twice a year. However, you should do an indivdual content analysis more often. Conducting an individual analysis is a simple matter of looking at a piece of content to determine how thoroughly it answers the questions that it’s designed to answer.
Reviewing Your Competitor’s Content
Once you have a good understanding of your own content’s quality, you should then take a look at what your competition is publishing. Analyzing your competitors‘ content will help you discover relevant topics and keywords you may have missed. It‘s a great way to determine whether you‘ve covered the entire customer journey with your content. Closing content gaps you find during your analysis will give you the opportunity to take a portion of your competitor’s website traffic.
Here are some questions your competitor content analysis should answer:
- Which keywords are they ranking for on page 1?
- On which URLs are they getting the most traffic?
- Which of their articles have the most shares on Social Media?
- Which articles are receiving the most backlinks?
The next step is to compare the results of your own’s content analysis to your competitor’s content analysis. In the comparison you will see
- Where you are already doing better than your competition and you can make use of your advantage,
- Where your competitors are doing better than you and you need to improve your content, and
- Where you are missing out on topics and keywords and should create new content.
You’ve spotted your content gaps,
but you need help closing them?
Let our authors help you.
Content Gap Analysis Tools
Content gap analysis consists of a great deal of qualitative research. There’s no golden set of metrics that reveals ideal buyer personas or one-size-fits-all customer journey map. Those are things that you’ll have to determine yourself or with the help of the marketing team at your organization.
Of course, gap analysis requires quite a bit of data-oriented research too. Using content and SEO analysis tools is a great way to gather the data you need. Some of the most useful tools for this type of analysis include Textbroker’s Topic Intelligence (Ti), ahrefs and SEMrush.
Topic Intelligence (Ti)
Ti is a new way to analyze your company’s content strategy and identify content opportunities. This all-in-one tool helps you assess your own content while comparing it to your major competitors. Using the tool is as easy as
- Plugging in your URL,
- Choosing the top keywords for your website from a list that Ti generates for you,
- Selecting or manually entering your competitors’ websites, and
- Sitting back while the tool completes a comprehensive analysis.
Ti is useful for content gap analysis because it automatically compares your content with your competitor’s content and shows you the keywords your competitors are ranking for and you are missing out on. You also get information about specific strategies you can use to outrank competitors for given keywords. Ti will even generate a custom author briefing that helps the writers you work with better understand your content needs. You can use Ti for free, and you don’t need to set up an account for it.
Some of the tools you might already use for SEO are also useful for content gap analysis. A leading example is ahrefs, which provides a variety of keyword and website analysis tools. You can find information about your site’s traffic and other key content audit metrics. Ahrefs also offers a content gap tool, where you can compare your competitor’s rankings with your own website to find out which keywords you are missing. In order to use the company’s tools, you’ll need to pay for a subscription.
SEMrush is another popular marketing analytics suite. It offers a gap analysis tool that ranks how well your website is doing in keyword performance and backlink structure compared to your selected competitors. To see the results, you need to create a free account, which is limited to 10 requests, or subscribe to the paid plan.
How to Close the Content Gap
The final aim of content gap analysis is to close the gaps. You know what your customers need, and you know where you’re falling short. Revising your content strategy is an effective way to close content gaps while increasing customer satisfaction.
Look at the results of your content audit and determine if any of the content on your site is redundant. For example, you might find that you’ve answered one specific customer question many times on your website. You may be able to consolidate these pieces of content into an easy-to-search customer knowledge database.
If you can’t find a new home for some content pieces, consider removing them from your website instead. Redundant content can confuse or frustrate site visitors. Imagine that you want to learn more about a certain home security system, but you keep finding the same information on the company’s site over and over. You’re likely to be frustrated and head to a competitor’s website instead.
Refresh Existing Content
Use your content gap analysis to create a list of keywords you want to rank for going forward. Before you create new content, look at your site and determine if you have content that already covers the topics needed, but is not performing well. Compare that content to the top-ranking search results and make sure it covers all relevant information and is up to date. Then, refresh the content according to your analysis.
Imagine you sell audio recorders. You have an article about “quality audio recorders,” but it doesn’t talk about “multi-function audio recorders.” The reason why you‘re not ranking on that specific keyword is you didn‘t include the relevant subtopic. Add a paragraph about “multi-function audio recorders” and monitor if the refreshed article starts to rank on this keyword. Sometimes this tactic may not work and you will need to create a new article focusing on the specific keyword. This is the case when the keyword is too comprehensive to be integrated into an article as a subtopic.
Create New Content
Now, take a second look at your keyword list and identify the keywords that can’t be incorporated into existing content. These represent opportunities to create new content optimized for user intent. You can create some of this content yourself in-house, or you can hire a writer to take care of this content for you. Remember that Textbroker Ti can create author briefings based on keywords that you need to rank for in order to stay competitive.
Aim for balance as you create new content. You’ve likely identified more than one consumer need your content isn’t meeting. Instead of focusing on addressing only one of those needs, create different pieces of content that help you address a variety of needs. Sticking to a content schedule can be helpful if you’re struggling to create diverse content.
Content Gap Analysis as a Growth Opportunity
Gaps in your content marketing strategy are like cracks in a building’s foundation. Over time, they become wider and wider until they’re simply not meeting your needs at all. Conducting regular content gap analysis will keep your organization from falling through the cracks and show growth opportunities for your content marketing success.
Need help closing your content gaps?
Let our authors help you.