How To Do A Content Gap Analysis

If your SEO content strategy constantly misses the mark, you may need to conduct a content gap analysis. 

A gap analysis is key to identifying weaknesses that can keep your SEO strategy from reaching its full potential. In this article, we’ll show you how to find shortcomings within your content inventory and individual articles so you can close those gaps and boost your SEO.

What Is A Content Gap Analysis?

A content gap analysis is the process of evaluating your content against the competition to find opportunities and topics you can cover to improve your SEO content strategy

It involves identifying missing and underperforming content and taking steps to address them in order to provide more value to your customers and the search engine. 

Regular content gap analysis is a critical part of any successful content strategy. The analysis can span your entire content library or individual content pages. Either way, the goal is always to uncover opportunities you’ve yet to consider, topics you’re not covering comprehensively, and areas where your competitors outperform you. If done correctly, the insights from your analysis can help you outrank your competitors, improve search visibility, and grow your business.

When conducting a gap analysis, the most common areas to examine include:

Topic/keyword gaps: The most authoritative sites are those that sufficiently cover all the topics their audience finds interesting in their industry. But it’s not enough to simply write about any topic. Instead, you must ensure you’re covering relevant topics across all stages of the customer journey and different reader levels. With the topics come keywords— the phrases, terms, and queries users use to find content. Your topics should encompass the different search terms and answer critical questions potential customers are typing into Google to increase your chances of ranking on the SERPs. 

– Quality: Maybe you’ve covered all the relevant topics, but are the content pieces valuable, thorough, and comprehensive? Do they convey your expertise and experience? Great content is less about volume and length and more about value. If your content is no longer accurate, reliable, or helpful, you can fill that gap by auditing and refreshing it to boost your strategy. 

Freshness: Outdated, irrelevant content is a significant gap that can impact your search visibility. If your competitors constantly update their content or your industry is rapidly evolving, prioritizing content refresh is a good idea.

How To Conduct an SEO Gap Analysis In 3 Steps

Here’s a simple 3 step process for uncovering content gaps.

1. Analyze Your Content Against the Competition At the Site Level 

This involves looking at the topics your competitors have covered and comparing them against your content inventory. It’ll help you get a broad overview of how effective your content production efforts are in relation to the competitive landscape. And it’s really simple: go to your favorite SEO tool with a keyword gap or competitor analysis feature, enter your website along with your competitors, and set the analysis to domain level. Then, look at missing, weak, and untapped keyword opportunities. 

Except you’re using an entity-based tool that analyzes underlying topics, most SEO tools will give you keywords sorted by volume and difficulty. Depending on the size and number of sites you compare, you may have a massive list of keyword variations to analyze. However, the most challenging part of the analysis is looking beyond the variations to focus on the underlying topics each keyword represents. 

For that, a keyword clustering tool that groups similar keywords together can be helpful. Once you reduce the keywords into groups, you can start focusing on the overarching topics and their relevance to your business. Relevant topics that competitors are covering but are missing from your site are content gaps, especially if they’re important to your customers. 

This type of site-wide analysis can be helpful when creating a long-term SEO content strategy or revamping your existing one. However, the emphasis is on relevance, as not everything your competitors write about may be relevant to your business and customers. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a metric or system for determining the topics and keyword opportunities that are most lucrative for your use case.

2. Spot Gaps in Individual Content Pieces

Improving individual content pages can significantly improve your search visibility and performance. A good place to start is with former high-performing pages that are still relevant. You can manually read through and compare them to the top-ranking pages for quality, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. However, analyzing multiple pages manually is time-consuming, so use InLinks’ content audit function to expedite the process. For example, let’s spot gaps in some of InLinks’ content to show you how it works.

In your InLinks account, select an existing project and navigate to website pages from the right navigation pane.

You’ll see all the pages you’ve brought into your account. Next to the URL, you’ll find an Audit button and a Target button. 

Next, click the audit button for any page you want to analyze and provide the keyword you want the page to rank for. This will help the InLinks algorithm analyze your content against Google’s knowledge graph and the SERPs.

Once you click OK, InLinks’ NLP will start its analysis, comparing your content to the SERPs so you do not have to do it manually. When the analysis completes, it’ll open the content in the editor and assign it a content score. 

A score below 80 indicates existing content gaps you should address. You can close the gap by  answering questions like:

  • Does this piece still satisfy the search intent?
  • Is this content still accurate, fresh, and helpful to the reader?
  • Does it still cover the topic comprehensively?

InLinks will provide the research data and suggestions for improving your content. And implementing the recommendations will boost your content score. As you work through each page, keep value in mind and not word count or volume. This means you should focus on:

  • Refreshing old statistics or adding new ones based on verified data
  • Demonstrating your experience and expertise on the subject with examples and case studies the reader can relate to and understand 
  • providing unique insights and information that help satisfy the reader’s search intent.

Evaluating individual content pages is not an opportunity to copy your competitor’s articles. Instead, concentrate on finding shortcomings you can improve upon with your content.

3. Audit Your Customer Journey for Untapped Opportunities

You’ll be surprised how much content opportunities you’ll uncover by diving deeper into your customer journey. You can do this by simply talking to customers and asking them the areas, or issues they struggle with the most and would like to see more resources on. 

Usually, you’ll find unique insights, pain points, preferences, and expectations you never even considered. Those insights are content gaps you need to cover to sufficiently meet your customers’ content needs. 

Doing more in-depth audience research can help you identify content gaps in the customer journey. A free tool like InLinks Audience Finder will help you identify all the types of people who might be searching for your topic and differentiate the kind of content each audience is interested in. 

For example, let’s say you run a pest control website or business. Head to the Audience Finder tool, type “pest control” into the keyword field, choose your target location and hit GO. The tool will deliver a list of target audiences, the kind of services they may require, and some content ideas to consider.

These can serve as a solid starting point for customer research and save you hours of brainstorming. Taking the time to map out the specific information each of your ideal customers needs at every stage of their buying journey will help you create better, more comprehensive content.

Reasons Why You Should Perform Content Gap Analysis

Here are three top reasons why you should prioritize regular gap analysis:

1. It Helps You Fulfill Google’s Helpful Content Criteria

Usually, you’ll conclude your SEO gap analysis by producing new content or refreshing existing ones. The insights from your analysis will guide you in making useful modifications and producing reliable content that meets Google’s quality standards.

2. It Helps You Satisfy Information Gain

Information gain encourages going beyond the status quo to provide additional value, information, and insights not already available on the SERPs. But without performing a gap analysis, you can’t know what already exists and judge currently whether or not it satisfies user intent. Analyzing existing information allows you to make an informed decision on where and how to improve on your competitors’ content. This can help you create differentiated content and, as a result, increase your information gain scores in the eyes of the search engine.

3. It Helps You Build Topical Authority

When you thoroughly cover related topics in your industry, you demonstrate the depth of your expertise, experience, and knowledge. This positions your website as a reliable authority and builds trust and credibility in the minds of searchers and the search engine. This trust and credibility can translate into improved search performance, longer dwell time on your site and more business from customers. 

Make Content Gap Analysis Part of Your Content Strategy

A gap analysis may seem hectic, but completing it is critical to your SEO strategy. Not only will it help you catch up with competitors, but it can also help you outperform them. 

However, it’s essential to go beyond simply copying your competitors and actually improve on what they have by bringing your expertise and experience into focus with new, fresh information that is difficult to replicate.

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