Everyone has their view of what a content gap analysis is.
For example, when I created a guest post on “why sales funnels fail,” I analyzed the ranking article to see what I could add to my post to outrank it. I noticed that it lacked practical steps and examples, and it wasn’t thorough enough.
So when creating my post, I made sure it had these three things and then some. My post still ranks on the first page.
That is in itself a successful content gap analysis.
But there’s more.
Keep reading to understand the analysis, why marketers need content gap analysis, and how to execute it.
What is Content Gap Analysis?
A content gap analysis is the process where you take a deep look at the articles you’re creating along with their targeted keywords. The main goal is to determine what kind of content you need to create or what you need to improve in order to match what your audience is looking for and is missing from your website.
A content gap is a difference between what your potential customers know – your existing content, and what they want to know. It’s the gap of missing information that you need in order to fulfill the needs of your user base.
Ask yourself. Are you answering all the questions that your audience has?
For example, if you create bottom-of-funnel (decision stage) content and completely ignore the other stages of your buyer’s journey, you have a content gap.
So examples of content gaps are:
- Missing content for your personas’ buyer journeys
- Keywords that your competitors are ranking for but you’re not covering
- Outdated content on time-sensitive topics
- Content that is not thorough – lacking details, practical steps, etc.
Why should you do a Content Gap Analysis?
A content gap analysis shows you the difference between what you think your audience needs and what they are looking for.
If you want to provide the best experience for your audience (i.e., give them what they need), you should do a content gap analysis. And while it’s centered around your website’s content, it’s not limited by it. It cuts across your entire content strategy – landing pages, page speed, number of visual elements, FAQ pages, etc.
Here’s why you’d do gap analysis when creating your content marketing campaigns:
To create the kind of content that your audience is looking for
You can identify content gaps by analyzing the ranking pages in your competitors’ content outlets – blogs and social media profiles.
If your competitors are getting massive organic traffic from certain keywords, then it means that your audience is interested in such topics.
Plus, if you’re not covering those high-value keywords, then you’re missing out on SEO opportunities. You’d only need to create better content than your competitors, match the search intent, and optimize it.
The other approach is to use a tool like AnswerThePublic to find questions that your audience has that neither you nor your competitors are covering.
Additionally, you can find out what your audience is looking for through your site’s search data (in Google Analytics>Behavior>Site Search>Search Terms).
To create content for your personas’ buyer journeys
When you examine the touchpoints that your personas go through in your sales funnel, you’ll see what content to put out to meet their needs at every buyer journey stage.
That’s why marketers must create content for the entire marketing funnel.
When your personas find everything they need to know on your website, you build a relationship with them.
A Gartner research found that B2B buyers are 2.8 times more likely to buy from you if you help them make an informed purchase. And such leads are also three times easier to upsell.
So, if you want to give your customers everything they need, then fill your content gaps.
Let’s see how.
How to do a Content Gap Analysis
To complete a content gap analysis, you’ll need to audit your content and map out your personas’ buyer journeys. You’ll also analyze your competitors’ ranking content.
Let’s get into the practical steps.
You’ll need Google Sheets (or some spreadsheet software) for this.
Step 1: Outline your personas’ buyer journeys
Have a column for the Awareness, Consideration, and Decision stages for each persona.
See the image below (It’s a screenshot of my content gap analysis template).
Goal: create the buyer journeys for each persona and their KPIs
Start with your goals.
Do you want to increase traffic to your money pages? Or drive qualified leads to your website? Your goals will determine the Key Performance Indicators that you’ll track.
Then clarify your target audience. Use Hubspot’s free persona generator if you don’t have personas yet. An even option is to conduct a market research survey to gather more data about your audience.
Then map out their buyer journeys.
For example, if you’re marketing an AI writing tool, your buyer journey could look like this:
Persona’s Goal: a content marketer (Abel) who wants to produce blog posts faster. Could they be editing instead of writing from scratch? (I created this persona from a Reddit thread)
- Awareness – Abel is exploring solutions to his time-saving problem at this stage. He may have questions like, how do you write a good blog post faster? How to write a great blog post in one hour, blog post formula, how to write content faster, etc. (I got these topic suggestions from Google Search and Keywords Everywhere extension).
So, you’d create content to show Abel how to save time when creating blog posts. And in the process, suggest an AI tool as a solution.
Typical KPIs: potential leads generated (e.g., newsletter sign-ups), engagement, time on page, unique page views, and bounce rate.
- Consideration – Abel is aware that he can use AI tools at this stage. So he’s now researching AI content writers. He’d have questions like how good AI writing is, whether AI can write better than humans, whether AI copywriting is worth it, etc. Again, I got these topic ideas on Google.
So, you’d cover topics to analyze AI writing tools, including yours, why they’re worth it, what to look for in AI writers, etc.
Typical KPIs: qualified leads generated (e.g., demo sign-ups), conversion rate, nurture emails open and click-through rates, and new vs. returning visitors.
- Decision – It’s the final stage where Abel looks for an AI writer that matches their requirements. He’s currently looking at your competitors’ products and seeking peer reviews in online forums.
The best content for this stage is webinars, testimonials, case studies, demos, or white papers showing why your AI writer is the best.
Typical KPIs: sales and promotional emails click-through rate.
Besides brainstorming your personas’ buyer journeys with your team, you can get content ideas from online forums, your competitors’ blogs, and keyword research tools.
But remember, if someone buys once from you, they’ll likely buy again.
So, you also need a plan for retention content (e.g., content on how to use your product, a loyalty program, email newsletters answering user questions from the support team/social media accounts/email/product reviews, etc.)
Step 2: Audit your existing content
To identify gaps between what you have and what your customers need, you must audit your own content. You’ll see your current content performance and what’s missing in your content assets.
Goal: identify the topics you’ve already covered and their rankings/traffic/search volume
Create a spreadsheet with these columns:
- Traffic (you’ll get the data from Ahrefs or Semrush)
- Target buyer persona
- Buyer journey stage
- And other engagement metrics that are relevant to your goals
You can manually feed the URLs into your spreadsheet with a few blog posts.
But with many pages, use Screaming Frog to collect all the URLs on your site and export them as a spreadsheet.
Auditing your content also shows opportunities to improve the underperformers.
For example, if some pages are getting impressions on search engine results pages but zero clicks, you could improve the title tags and meta descriptions.
And if you notice that your pages with backlinks are doing good, you could build links to underperforming pages.
Step 3: Analyze your competitors’ ranking keywords
Goal: Identify high-value keywords that you’re not covering
Circling back to the AI writing tools example, I’ll use Moz’s Ranking Keywords Tool to find the top keywords for rytr.me and ai-writer.com.
Scroll down to find the list of ranking keywords for the two domains (which you can download as a spreadsheet in a CSV format)
So you’ll use your domain and competitors’ domains.
You can also use Semrush’s Keyword Gap Tool to see untapped keyword opportunities.
Or the Semrush Organic Research tool to see your competitors’ ranking keywords and top-performing pages. (You’ll repeat the process for each competitor)
And you can use Buzzsumo’s Content Analyzer to find content competitors (blogs ranking for your target keywords) and their social engagement.
After this step, you should have a list of relevant keywords, their search volumes, and CPC to make it easier to prioritize content creation.
Step 4: List the topics for each buyer stage for your personas
Goal: complete the buyer journeys
In the last step, list all the high-value topics and keywords that you’ve discovered from your competitor analysis and market research. Categorize them according to the buyer journeys.
For B2B content, high-value keywords have low search volume and high Cost Per Click.
An effective content gap analysis includes a content audit, analyzing your competitors’ keywords, and conducting market research to discover your customer’s pain points.
It’s a laborious keyword research process that content marketers use to find the keywords that competitors rank for and related keywords with good SEO opportunities.
While the gap appears to be between you and your competitors’ content, it’s actually between a business and its customers.
What do your customers need to make an informed decision?