As you embark on your SEO journey you may find that it can difficult to find topics to write about. You may know nearly everything about your niche, but determining what your audience is looking for can be difficult. The best way to determine what your audience is looking for is to begin looking at what other people in the space are doing. To help discover the gaps in your content, we’ve put together this quick guide on what a content gap analysis is, why they matter, and how to do them.
What is a Content Gap Analysis
Content gap analysis is the process of viewing and comparing the content of your site and a competitor’s site. This helps you identify content gaps that you can work to fill. The overall goal of a content gap analysis is to discover content your audience may find useful and then fill in those gaps on your site so they can find you. As with any piece of content, you want to serve your audience with relevant, accurate, and quality content.
Why is a Content Gap Analysis Important
1. Identifies Areas of Improvement
One of the first benefits of performing a content gap analysis is discovering any areas of improvement in your content. While you may be an excerpt in your specific area, this expertise can often get in the way of understanding what people outside of your position may be looking for. Looking at competitors can identify pieces of content you are missing that provide useful information for your audience. The first step to closing these gaps is understanding them.
2. Comprehensive Content Strategy
When creating content, it’s important to have a clear strategy for what content you are going to create and when. Performing a content gap analysis can create a kick-off point for a comprehensive content strategy. You can determine what some of the most important content topics might be for your audience based on what you’re competitors are discussing in their content. This strategy is key to ensuring you are meeting the needs of your audience.
3. Stay Ahead of the Competition
While understanding what content your competitors are making will help you fill any gaps in your content, it can also help you discover gaps that exist in your competitor’s content that you can preemptively fill. Maybe you notice none of your competitors are discussing a topic you think is important and know a lot about. This is the perfect opportunity to create a piece of content around that idea and position yourself as a thought leader in your niche.
4. Improves SEO Performance
One of the best things about performing a content gap analysis is that it helps you find topics you know people are searching for. If any of your competitors are writing about a similar topic, it probably means there is some SEO value in that topic. Of course, you also need to perform some keyword research to determine the correct keyword to target and its SEO value, though that process will be much easier if you have a general idea of the topics your competitors are finding success with.
5. Increase Customer Satisfaction
Finally, all content you create has the explicit purpose of meeting the needs of your customers. If there are gaps in the content you are creating, you may be missing important opportunities to meet those needs and make connections with your audience. Instead of coming to you for answers, they will go to your competitors. Filling these gaps ensures your audience gets what they need from you first.
How To Identify Gaps in Content
1. Identify Your Target Audience
The first step is to identify your target audience. Before you start writing any content, you need to understand who you are trying to serve. Additionally, each piece of content you write may serve a different audience. Maybe you need to write a piece of content that aims to serve a segment of the audience that is just entering your niche for the first time and knows very little. Maybe you are writing a piece of content aimed at those who have some knowledge but aren’t experts. Knowing specifically who the content is for will help you know what to look for during a content gap analysis.
2. Evaluate Your Existing Content
The next step is to evaluate what content you already have. There’s no need to double up on topics. However, this can also help you keep an eye on potential content optimizations. If you see a competitor that has a content topic very similar to yours but handled in a better way, you can find the piece of content you have to optimize and best serve the needs of your audience. Plus, you’ll need this list to compare against the list of the content your competitors have.
3. Research Competitor Content
Next, search through the content your competitor has and create a master list of the topics they cover. This does not need to be an exhaustive list but should contain enough information that you understand which topic areas they are covering. This list should continue to be updated frequently with new content and topic areas the competitor posts. It is best to have a separate list for each of your competitors. If you create just one giant list of everyone’s content, it can get confusing. This way you can have each list available to view and compare against your own.
4. Identify Gaps
Now that you have your lists of the content, you can begin comparing and contrasting to determine where potential gaps may lie. Mark missing content pieces and topic areas on your list so you can easily identify the gaps in your content. During this stage, you should also notice any gaps in your competitor’s content. As stated above, we can also use this analysis to get ahead in topic areas and become thought leaders.
5. Prioritize Content and Create a Plan
With our content gaps identified, now we get to determine which topic areas are most important. If you notice there are topic areas that all of your competitors cover, but you don’t it is likely that should be high on the priority list of content. Similarly, if there is a topic area that one or 2 competitors have, but you know is something that comes up frequently, that can also become a priority. There is no hard and fast rule for what content should be made first. You are an expert in your niche and this strategy should be made at your discretion.
6. Evaluate and Refine
As you begin pushing this content live, you can analyze the results and determine if your current strategy is working the way you want it to, or if you need to evaluate. While a content strategy is a great guide, it is not necessarily set in stone. Be flexible, and react to what your audience is looking for.
A content gap analysis is a powerful tool for driving your SEO strategy. With it, you can identify places you are lacking in content, how to fill those gaps, and even get ahead of your competition. If you need any help filling those content gaps, contact BASE Search marketing to help you write high-quality SEO-optimized content.