BLOG
What-is-Content-Gap-Analysis-and-How-to-use-it-for-your-Content-Strategy-
Click to hear an audio recording of this post

If you’ve been leveraging SEO and content marketing, you’re already familiar with this dilemma: “What topics should we write about?”

With most of the brands increasingly using content marketing to drive traffic, leads, and sales, the content creation landscape is more complex and competitive than ever before. 

So how do you stay on top of your content strategy and stay ahead of the competition?

The solution is content gap analysis. Once you get it right, it goes a long way in helping you with your content creation goals.

So let’s understand what content gap analysis is and how to do it the right way to improve your content strategy. 

What is Content Gap Analysis? 

Content gap analysis is the process of analysing the existing content on specific topics and finding gaps that you intend to fill by creating better content

Here, we can define the content gap as the gap between the content that your target audience wants versus the content that’s available on your site. 

Content Gap explained

It allows you to get an idea of missing content pieces from your site that can help your customers move forward in the buying process. 

Think of it like this:

When you go shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, what questions come to your mind? And how these queries are addressed helps you make a decision. 

Similarly, your target customers may also have many questions when they go through an online buying process. And you resolve their queries through your content resources such as:

  • Blog posts
  • Whitepapers
  • E-books
  • Webpages
  • Landing pages
  • Videos, etc. 

That being said, let’s understand why conducting a content gap analysis is crucial for your content strategy. 

Why Bother Doing Content Gap Analysis?

Do you know what’s the easiest and most attractive trap to fall into when planning your content strategy? 

Designing your content strategy around what you think is important for your target audience. Whereas you might be in for a surprise when you actually figure out what’s really important for them. Content gap analysis helps you identify these holes in your content plan.  

Besides, here are some other reasons why you should invest your time in identifying the content gaps. 

Attract and Acquire New Customers

If organic search is your primary channel of customer acquisition, then you would already be creating content that attracts traffic to your site. 

Now, if you’re operating in a competitive niche, it can be difficult to stand out and outrank the high-authority websites. 

However, during content gap analysis you may discover some less competitive sub-niches. You can take advantage of such opportunities by creating high-quality content and ranking for search queries in these sub-niches. 

Improves your SEO

The content gaps — topics that you haven’t covered so far — are the opportunities for you to rank for new keywords and improve your overall SEO performance.

Here’s how it works: 

When you find these gaps and fill them with high-quality content, it strengthens your content and SEO strategy. As a result, your site’s authority and credibility would also increase. 

As your authority grows, it becomes much easier for your content to rank higher. This is because Google strives to provide its users with relevant content from sites with expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T)

Thus, initially, you work on your SEO to create a strong brand presence and eventually your brand authority contributes to your SEO. 

Supports Users’ Buying Journey 

Usually, customers don’t come to your site and hit the “buy now” button straight away. They go through a dynamic buying journey which can have many stages in the process. We’ll talk about these stages in a later section. 

Content gap analysis helps you identify areas within each stage where you can create valuable content assets and improve your buyers’ journey.  

Setting Content Gap Analysis Goals

Before you start analysing the content gaps, first, you need to set clear objectives as to what you want to achieve through this process. 

For instance, do you want to:

  • Increase organic traffic?
  • Rank higher?
  • Get more qualified leads?
  • Improve your conversion rate?, etc.

Pro Tip: Your content gap analysis goals should be aligned with your content marketing and SEO KPIs. 

This way, you can put things into perspective rather than finding content gaps blindly because everyone else is doing it. Also, this would help you customise your content gap analysis goals as per your business needs. 

Additionally, setting clear goals would also help you filter out the irrelevant content gaps that you might have found in the process. Here, when we say irrelevant, it means it might be relevant for other sites but not yours. 

Thus, when you’ll fill the gaps with new content, you’re not shooting in the dark. You’ll know what you’re doing exactly. 

If you’re not sure about your content marketing KPIs or you don’t have an SEO strategy in place, consider hiring competent SEO services. They can help you with the entire process. 

How to Perform a Content Gap Analysis?

Now that we’ve gathered most of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, let’s get to the final and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle — how to perform a content gap analysis. 

Here’s the step-by-step process. 

  1. Map the Buyer’s Journey

Although the buying process would most likely vary from customer to customer, it can be broken into the following three stages:

  • Awareness: The buyer becomes aware that they have a problem and it needs to be solved. 
  • Consideration: The buyer starts searching for potential solutions and compares them. 
  • Decision: The buyer narrows down to one solution and purchases it. 
Stages of buyers journey

So an ideal content strategy involves creating content that helps buyers move from the awareness stage to the decision stage. 

To understand your buyers’ search behaviour during different stages, you need to tap into their search intent — “the why” behind their search query. 

Let’s assume you offer Career Coaching Services in Australia. Besides the young professionals, your buyer persona also includes senior professionals who want to switch careers.

Now let’s see what a buyer’s journey would typically look like in your niche. 

Awareness Stage

A potential client — Gary (in his 30s) is not happy with his current profession and he wants to change his industry. At this stage, he has just become aware of his problem. So he Googled “how to change career”. 

Awareness stage- Content gap buyer journey example

Here we can see that apart from generic topic angles about how to change careers, the one highlighted in red, addresses people who want to change careers but are clueless about what to do next. 

Let’s see what else people that fit into a similar buyer persona search. For this, you can check the “people also ask” box in search results. 

Awareness stage- Content gap buyer journey example 2

These are some more queries that your target audience searches on Google during the awareness stage. You can address them with such specific content pieces. 

Consideration Stage

At this stage, Gary would’ve gone through some resources and realised that he needs someone to guide him personally. 

So he’d search for terms like “best career coaching services australia” or “best career coach”, etc. 

Consideration stage- Content gap buyer journey example

Here you can see that besides the comparisons posts and listicles searchers also ask other queries as highlighted. 

By now, Gary would’ve shortlisted a few career coaching services and compared them. 

Decision Stage

Once the research is over, Gary would be ready to make a decision. However, he may want to ensure that he’s making the right choice. Therefore, he may look for reviews or case studies during this final stage. 

So the content resources like customer testimonials, review posts, case studies, etc. give a final nudge to your buyers.

Thus, you need to understand your audience’s search intent and map out the entire path to purchase for them. So collect all the search queries for each stage and make a list in the spreadsheet to use in the next steps. 

  1. Do Market Research

Next, you need to conduct market research. For this, you can consider interviewing your current clients, potential clients, and industry experts. 

Alternatively, you can also create surveys on platforms like SurveyMonkey or Typeform and collect their responses. To make your surveys effective and relevant, design them around your audience’s buying journey. 

In other words, you should cover questions that reveal information about their behaviour in various stages of their purchase process. 

So you can consider asking them questions like:

  • Can you list your main goals?
  • What are the key challenges that you’d like to solve?
  • What kind of information can help you learn more about your goals/challenges?
  • What concerns you the most about <topic>? 
  • How do you search for solutions?
  • How do you come up with a list of solutions?
  • What are the top three factors you consider when shortlisting the solutions?
  • What made you choose “Solution X” over “Solution Y”, etc. 

Once you’ll analyse their responses, you’ll get a better idea about their goals and challenges. Also, you’ll understand their search behaviour and mindset while buying solutions. This process will give you abundant data that can be turned into new content ideas. 

  1. Conduct Keyword Research

Now you need to use the data collected from steps 1 and 2 for keyword research and check their search demand. 

Keyword research helps you:

  • Find the exact search queries or keywords that your niche audience use
  • Separate the queries with high search volume from the low search volume queries
  • Analyse the competition for these keywords
  • Revise your content strategy to accommodate these search queries

There are plenty of free and paid keyword research tools available out there. You can use tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, etc. We’ve used Ahrefs Keyword Explorer for illustration purposes. 

Let’s take the same example query for the awareness stage — “how to change career” — for keyword research. 

content-gap-keyword-research

So we entered the query in Keywords Explorer and clicked Matching Terms in the sidebar. 

Thus, we can see that there are 189 matching keywords for this query. You can scrape through them and export the list of relevant keywords in your spreadsheet. 

Here, you can also see the search volume for each query and ranking difficulty. If you’re not an authority in your niche, you should target the keywords with less difficulty and more search volume comparatively. 

This was about the awareness stage, you can repeat the above drill for all the different stages. And you’ll have a list of keywords for your content strategy. 

Once you’ve compiled your keyword list, you need to map the keywords to different stages of the buyers’ journey. This will help you structure the content topic clusters and set priorities accordingly.

  1. Audit Your Website Content

Next, you need to audit the existing content on your website. This process is called content audit. 

First, you need to assemble all the content that is published on your website. You can do it manually if you have published a limited number of content pieces. Otherwise, you can use Google Search Console

In GSC, go to the performance report and select Pages.

content-audit-gsc

Once you have all the pages, you want to check for:

  • The pages that are aligned to your buyer’s journey and performing well: Keep them as it is.
  • The pages that are aligned to your buyer’s journey but not performing: Update them with recent and valuable information. 
  • The pages that are not aligned to your buyer’s journey and performing well: Update them and align them to your buyer’s journey. 
  • The pages that are not aligned to your buyer’s journey and not performing: Remove them as there’s no point in updating them. 
Content Audit- decision graph

Besides, also keep a track of their performance on a regular basis. Also, take note of the missing content pieces that fit your buyer journey. 

  1. Analyse Competitors’ Content

Finally, analyse your top competitors’ content to get an idea of their winning tactics. Here’s what you want to check on their sites:

  • How they use buyer’s journey for content creation
  • What type of content do they publish primarily
  • How they lead visitors from awareness to consideration and consideration to the decision stage
  • The content formats they use 
  • Their topic angles, etc. 

Here, the idea is to identify the strengths that help them win and incorporate the same in your content. At the same time, look for the weak spots that you’d want to avoid in your content strategy.

Besides, also check their top-performing pages in terms of traffic and backlinks. And also see the keywords that they target but you don’t. 

For example, here are some of our top performing pages extracted using Ahrefs site explorer. 

content-gap-competitor-top-pages

Likewise, check your top competitors’ best performing pages and look for gaps. 

If you feel it’s too much to handle in-house, you can hire a professional SEO agency to help you with content gap analysis. 

Bridge the Gap

Here’s a quick recap of all the steps we discussed so far:

  • Map the buyer’s journey
  • Do market research
  • Conduct keyword research
  • Audit existing content on your site
  • Analyse competitors’ content

Once you have identified and compiled the content gaps, researched target keywords, and mapped them to your buyer’s journey, you can start filling these gaps. 

Remember, just filling the gaps is not enough. You need to ensure that you create and publish better and more valuable content resources than what’s already out there. That’s how you can get a competitive advantage. 

That said, customers’ behaviour and search patterns keep evolving. So even if you think you have created and published relevant content resources for each stage, the gaps may arise as customers’ search behaviour evolves over time. 

This makes a stronger case for finding and filling the content gaps regularly. So it’s not a one-time task, it’s an ongoing process. 

Meanwhile, if you need any help with your SEO strategy, get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to help 🙂 

 

Enter Your Website & get an instant SEO Report for FREE