There are no ties in SEO.
In order for one company to be number one, there also have to be losers. How can you make sure you’re on the right side of this equation? It’s all about strategy.
If you’ve identified your competition, you may be wondering:
- What’s the next step?
- Why are my competitors continually outranking me?
It’s likely time for you to do a keyword gap analysis.
What is a keyword gap analysis?
A keyword gap analysis is a method for choosing the best keywords for your organic SEO strategy. In a keyword gap analysis, you’ll compare yourself to your competitors to determine where they are outperforming you, and how you can catch up. Your keyword “gaps” are areas in which you have a realistic ability to overtake your competitors and outrank them. In short, it’s a way to reveal keyword opportunities you’re missing out on.
A keyword gap analysis is an essential part of an SEO competitive analysis. You’ll identify keywords that your competitors rank for, but you don’t. You’ll also identify keywords that you have a low ranking for, for example positions 5 to 15. From there, you can create a strategy to “boost” low rankings and steal keywords from your competitors.
Why is keyword gap analysis important?
The ultimate goal of any holistic SEO content strategy is to drive traffic to your site. But you don’t want just any traffic. You want high-value, high-intent website visitors whose problems you can solve. That’s just what you get when you use a keyword gap analysis to reveal areas of opportunity where you either don’t have content or where you can improve existing content.
Keyword gap analysis is vital to creating quality content that will capture the right audience at the right time. At Tuff, we use PPC and organic search together, building a strategy in which they complement each other, help drive growth on more competitive keywords, improve rankings and traffic, and increase share of voice. That translates into more traffic – and more revenue.
How to do a keyword gap analysis
You don’t need to be an SEO master to do a keyword gap analysis, but having a professional on your side is always helpful when it comes to interpreting results and creating a list of keywords. Here’s how we do it at Tuff.
Pick your tools
You’re going to need at least one SEO tool in order to perform a keyword gap analysis. The options here are similar to the tools you can use for on-page SEO analysis. We use Semrush, which does have a free version available with a limited amount of queries allowed. (That’s another benefit of hiring an agency – we have the tools and the expertise to use them!)
Get your keyword list
Open up your tool and enter your website domain. Then enter your main competitors and click “Compare.” The tool will show you a list of keywords that your competitors rank for, as well as where you appear in the SERPs for those same words. You can sort by organic, paid, or PLA, and Semrush will also show you keyword volume, difficulty, competitive density, and CPC among other metrics. For in-depth analysis, download the file as a CSV report so you can sort and search more easily.
Interpret your results
Now you need to determine where you can get the most value from your keywords. Your keyword tool will do some of the work for you. Semrush, for example, has a section showing “Top Opportunities” for keywords that your site is missing as well as weak keywords—where you have a ranking but it is lower than all of your competitors’ rankings. To discover opportunities yourself, look for keywords that are:
- Highly relevant to your business and your website
- Regularly searched for by your target audience
- Not overly competitive, but still high-value
- Easily filled using existing content or easy to create new content for
We export each keyword gap analysis into a spreadsheet to better sort, analyze, and filter the data. It looks something like this with four core tabs: Shared, Missing, Weak, and Strong.
Try a page-level analysis
You already know a few different areas where you and a competitor have similar articles. You want to determine what they’re doing right and replicate it. Doing a keyword gap analysis at the page level instead of the domain level is helpful here. You can enter the exact URL of your competitor and compare it to your own page to see what you may be missing. Then add those keywords to your page – or create an entirely new page – and start stealing competitors’ traffic.
Put it into action
How do you know whether to refresh an existing page or create a new one? What types of content will most effectively attract customers from your competitors? This is where SEO becomes not on a science, but an art. To determine your plan of action, analyze the top content that is already ranking for that keyword and look for things like:
- Content type (video, blog, gallery, etc.)
- Content length and organization
- Headers and keywords used
Do you have content that already fulfills these criteria? You can update it to use the new keywords. If you don’t, you’ll want to create something new.
Organic growth is crucial to the overall growth of your business, but it isn’t always straightforward. Tuff can help you with every step of the process, from performing a keyword gap analysis and determining the best course of action to creating content that outranks the competition. Contact us today to get started.
Ellen is the founder at Tuff and one of the team’s core growth marketers. She is a versatile marketer with expertise in multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email to others – responsible for the experiments and testing. She is happiest when she’s on the ski hill or outside pointing her mountain bike downhill.