Using Content Gap Analysis To Keep Up With Your Competitors

Too often, we plow through content creation without stopping to think of our blind spots.

We churn out content that we think our customers want but do they?

Wouldn't it be better to take a different tack? To identify what content our customers really want and then produce this content for them?

This is where a content gap analysis comes in.

What gets measured gets managed, and there's nothing more important than the management of your content offerings.

There are very few true evergreen pieces of content that do not require some sort of updating and improving as time goes on.

With such fierce competition on the internet, relying on intuition is no longer an option. Instead, you should focus on applying a strategic approach to how you produce your content.

So lets take a look at what a content gap is, how to analyse content gaps and also how to plug them up.

What is a Content Gap?

A content gap is term in content marketing which refers to an important topic/subject in your niche that is currently not covered and/or addressed by any adequate content.

It represents a subject people are looking for information about, but there is not enough content covering it to address the current demand.

A content gap represents the link between your current content marketing performance and the desired results and goals of your content strategies.

This content gap represents how best your content strategy meets your customer needs at every stage of their journey.

Although onsite content gaps, where you are missing a page or more of content, get all the attention, on-page gaps are just as critical. This is where your existing content doesn't fulfil your target customer's needs and your content strategy needs amending.

What is Content Gap Analysis?

Content Gap Analysis is the process of finding your customers questions, goals, and concerns, identifying which of these your website doesn't address and then plugging these holes with great content as part of your ongoing content strategy.

To some people, content gap analysis is the difference between what people are searching for and what people actually find on a website.

Content Gap Analyses can help improve overall engagement by creating value and dialogue that will resonate with different target audiences and personas at different stages of the consumer journey.

The content gap may exist for a practical reason, like different service offerings.

But if the keywords apply just as much to your business and you don't address them, too, you risk falling behind your competitors in search results.

Without a thorough content gap analysis, you won't be able to fill in the blanks in the bevy of answers you provide to customers. You won't be able to create relevant new content or update existing content to satisfy your customer's needs.

Such an analysis content gives you an opportunity to create laser-targeted content that your audience is interested in and helps them move through the funnel.

Remember, not every content gap needs filling and some content gaps need filling faster than others. Your content gap analysis is a great tool to help navigate through these waters.

If creating new content to fill the content gap will take more resources than the reward warrants, you may decide to live with the deficit in content. Again your content gap analysis will guide you here.

You will need to prioritise which gaps need filling first, so you can assign resources in a way that will bring the greatest return for your business over the long-term.

A content gap analysis makes content marketing more efficient, boosts the visibility of your website, increases the ROI and raises profits.

Addressing Searcher Intent

A good search marketer knows that your best shot at ranking your website for a keyword is by ensuring that the content you create for that keyword matches the searchers intent.

Searcher intent is often one of the most overlooked ranking factors for your website but arguably one of the most important. Combined with keyword research, its one of the main factors for loading traffic into the top of your sales funnel.

It is the why behind a search query. In other words, why did the person make this search? Do they want to learn something? Or buy something?

Such an insight will provide you with the tools for a much stronger foundation to plan your next move.

Where to Find Content Gaps

We already know that the majority of customers begin their research in the search engine.

In order to fill all the gaps in your content base, you have to take the time to actively look for them. The best way to find content with gaps is to see what website is already ranking in Google's first page for your chosen keywords. (If you're not sure which keywords to use then keyword research using a myriad of available tools will help in this regard.

If there is a shortage of high-quality content on a certain topic or in a certain format, your page would have all the chances to rank highly in the search results if it includes better quality content.

Check Out the Competition

A great way to locate places where content gaps exist is by looking at your competition.

Evaluating what your competitors are doing can help you discover missed opportunities that they may have grasped.

It could be that your competitors have already done all the hard work in the initial research stage, which is there for you to take advantage of by using a few methods, strategies and tools.

To some people, a content gap analysis is basically competitor analysis where you look at your competitors content structure to identify topics and keywords they are currently ranking better for so that you could also target them with your new content.

The idea is to look for pieces of content that your competitors have created that are popular.

If any of the existing content is outdated then a content gap exists.

If you could create something similar with your existing blog posts, but of higher quality then a content gap exists.

Remember, where a content gap exists, so does an opportunity for filling your sales funnel!

Ask your Colleagues

Another group you can consult for help with finding content gaps is your peers and work colleagues.

No doubt, they will have noticed content gaps, pain points and opportunities too. Maybe they've identified sub-niches with lower competition that you can target.

Don't overlook day to day opportunities to discuss analysis content gap with those around you.

Get Involved in Community Discussions

If you don't look into your audience's online discussions, which keywords they're already searching for, and the strategies your competitors are using to rank these keywords, there will always be missed opportunities to stand out in the crowded field of content marketing.

Simply monitoring communities and forums that your target audience visit can give you an idea of where content gaps exist.

Make sure you look for any questions that have gone unanswered or content opportunities that present themselves, either for new or existing content, as part of your content gap analysis.

This will help you choose the topics that truly resonate with your target communities and match their interests.

Make Use of your Target Audience

A great place to start when trying to identify content gaps within your niche is with your target audience.

It is critical for any brand to have its content aligned with the customer journey however this is extremely hard as you will most likely fail to uncover all the phrases or even, topics, that customers use throughout the journey.

If you don't have your content fully fleshed out along the customer lifecycle, you're not serving them as best you could.

It is useful to audit your content coverage and performance, making it a habit of doing a regular content gap analysis to identify which personas need what content for what purpose.

Make use of Keyword Research

A thorough keyword gap analysis will look not only at keywords your competitors rank for but also at ones that none of you rank for.

This can be useful to find content for which you may be able to secure faster rankings because they are less competitive.

Tools for Content Gap Analysis

Two free tools which are useful for gap analysis content are Answer the Public and Buzz Sumo.

Answer the Public

Answer the public provides you with a number of real searches which have taken place around a topic, all of which have been framed as a question.

This can be a valuable source of content ideas targeting long-tail keywords, which can be an effective strategy to capture more organic traffic.

Answer the public is a free tool which enables content gap analysis. Note that can it also help you feature in a Google Answer Box too.

Buzz Sumo

This content gap analysis tool allows you to find out what people are searching for and which influencers have shared similar content in the past.

Buzz Sumo is helpful for getting insight on the hottest topics in your vertical. There is a free trial version with no signup required, and then reasonably-priced paid tiers with more features.

Final Words

Every keyword that your competitor ranks for and you don't is a lost opportunity for your organization.

Great content goes unshared all the time and its extremely hard to get the links that content deserves without deliberate effort.

If the prospect of identifying gaps in your content seems intimidating, just think of it as an opportunity, not a condemnation.

Because, if you don't answer all of your customers questions, you can bet that they will go somewhere else for their information.

The more you understand the gaps in your content, the more you can plan to fill them.

Content gap analysis is nothing new but when you figure out how to find these opportunities and refresh your old content, they can provide massive SEO gains including improved ranking positions and organic traffic.

SEO Consultant

This article was written by Gaz Hall, a UK based SEO Consultant on 11th September 2020.

Gaz has 20 years experience working on SEO projects large and small, locally and globally across a range of sectors.

If you need any SEO advice or would like him to look at your next project then get in touch to arrange a free consultation.