Content Gap Analysis: The Complete Guide to Finding Holes In Your Content To Boost SEO Rankings

Sidra Condron
June 27, 2024
8 min read

Are you tired of seeing your competitors outrank you on Google? Do you feel like you're missing out on valuable organic traffic and leads? It's time to level up your SEO game with content gap analysis.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about the content gap analysis - from what it is and why it matters, to a step-by-step process for conducting your own analysis and filling those gaps with high-quality, optimized content.

Whether you're an SEO, content marketer, or website owner, this guide will give you the tools and insights you need to boost your rankings and crush your competition.

What is a Content Gap Analysis?

Content gap analysis is the process of identifying topics, keywords, and questions that your target audience is searching for, but that your website doesn't sufficiently cover. It involves analyzing your own content as well as your competitors' to find opportunities to create new content or optimize existing pages to better meet searcher intent and outrank your rivals.

How content gaps impact SEO performance

When you have content gaps, you're missing out on valuable opportunities to rank for relevant keywords and attract qualified traffic to your site. Your competitors are likely taking advantage of these gaps to outrank you and steal your potential customers. By identifying and filling content gaps, you can:

  • Improve your website's relevance and authority in your niche
  • Capture more organic traffic for a wider range of keywords
  • Provide a better user experience by thoroughly answering searchers' questions
  • Establish your brand as a go-to resource in your industry

Content gap analysis vs content audit—what's the difference?

While content gap analysis and content audits are related, they serve distinct purposes:

Content Audit

A content audit evaluates your existing content for quality, performance, and alignment with your goals. It helps you identify your strongest and weakest content so you can make informed decisions about what to improve, consolidate, or remove.

Content Gap Analysis

Content gap analysis, on the other hand, focuses on identifying opportunities to create new content that you're currently missing, based on competitor research and keyword analysis. It helps you find untapped potential to expand your organic reach.

Why Every SEO Strategy Needs Content Gap Analysis

Find untapped keyword opportunities

Content gap analysis helps you uncover keywords that your competitors are ranking for, but you're not. By identifying these opportunities and creating targeted content to rank for them, you can expand your organic reach and drive more qualified traffic to your site.

Identify weaknesses in competitors' content

No piece of content is perfect. Content gap analysis not only shows you what your competitors are doing well, but also reveals areas where their content falls short. You can use these findings to create more comprehensive, valuable content that outshines your competitors and better serves your target audience.

Inform content planning and prioritization

With endless content possibilities, it can be overwhelming to decide what to create next. Content gap analysis provides a data-driven framework for prioritizing content creation based on the topics and keywords that offer the greatest potential for organic traffic and conversions.

Improve topical authority in your niche

Google favors websites that demonstrate expertise and authority on a given topic. By methodically filling content gaps and creating comprehensive resources on key topics in your niche, you can solidify your site's topical authority and improve your chances of ranking for related keywords.

How to Conduct a Content Gap Analysis in 4 Steps

Step 1: Identify your top SEO competitors

Start by identifying the websites that consistently outrank you for your target keywords. Use tools like SpyFu or Ahrefs to analyze your keyword rankings and see who owns the top spots in the SERP. Focus on competitors who target the same audience and offer similar products or services.

Step 2: Analyze competitors' top performing content

Dive into your competitors' websites and analyze their best performing pages. Look for patterns in the types of content they create, the topics they cover, and the keywords they target. Use SpyFu's Kombat (gap analysis) tool or Ahrefs' Content Gap feature to find keywords that multiple competitors rank for, but you don't.

Step 3: Evaluate your existing content for gaps

Review your own website and content through the lens of your competitors' top pages. Identify topics and subtopics that you haven't covered in-depth or at all. Use keyword research tools to find related keywords and questions that your audience is searching for, but your site doesn't currently address.

Step 4: Prioritize gaps and plan content to fill them

Organize the content gaps you've identified based on factors like search volume, keyword difficulty, and relevance to your business. Prioritize the gaps that represent the greatest opportunities for organic traffic and conversions. Create a content plan outlining the new pages you need to create and existing pages you need to optimize to fill these gaps.

Use this content gap analysis checklist to stay on track:

  • [ ]  Identify top SEO competitors
  • [ ]  Analyze competitors' top content and keywords
  • [ ]  Evaluate your own content for gaps and weaknesses
  • [ ]  Research related keywords and subtopics to cover
  • [ ]  Prioritize gaps based on traffic and conversion potential
  • [ ]  Plan new content and optimization tasks to fill gaps

Scaling Content Gap Analysis with the Right Tools

Must-have tools for content gap analysis

To conduct an effective content gap analysis, you'll need a reliable keyword research and competitor analysis tool. Some of the best options include:

  • SpyFu - offers a dedicated gap analysis tool called Kombat that compares your website's keywords against competitors
  • Ahrefs - provides a content gap feature that identifies keywords your competitors rank for but you don't
  • RivalFlow AI - compares your content to competitors that outrank you for a target keyword and identifies gaps, plus ways your competitor answers questions on the topic better

How to use RivalFlow AI for content gap analysis

Filling Content Gaps with High-Quality, Optimized Content

Best practices for creating content that ranks

Filling content gaps is not just about creating more content, but creating better content that comprehensively covers a topic and satisfies searcher intent. Follow these best practices:

  • Focus each piece of content on a specific keyword or topic
  • Use keyword-rich headers to organize your content and signal relevance
  • Cover subtopics and related questions to fully address the searcher's needs
  • Include images, videos, and examples to enrich your content
  • Optimize your title tag, meta description, and URL for your target keyword
  • Internally link to and from related pages on your site

Optimizing new content to fill gaps

As you create new content to fill gaps, make sure each page is optimized for search and ready to outrank your competitors:

  1. Do thorough keyword research to identify semantically related keywords to include
  2. Analyze competitor content for the same keyword to find opportunities to improve
  3. Ensure your content matches the search intent behind the keyword
  4. Provide unique perspectives and original research when possible
  5. Include a compelling CTA to guide readers to the next step

Updating existing content vs. creating new content

In some cases, you may be able to fill a content gap by updating and expanding an existing page on your site, rather than creating a new one from scratch. Evaluate the page's current keyword rankings and content to decide whether to update it or create a new page. If the page is already ranking well for relevant keywords, update and optimize it to rank even better. If the page is not ranking or covers an unrelated topic, create a new dedicated page to fill the content gap.

Using AI writing tools to streamline content creation

Creating comprehensive content to fill gaps can be time-consuming. AI writing tools like Jasper and can help you streamline the process by:

  • Generating topic ideas and outlines based on your target keywords
  • Drafting sections of your content that you can then edit and refine
  • Suggesting semantically related keywords and phrases to include for optimization
  • Analyzing your content's readability and suggesting improvements

While AI tools can be a helpful aid, always review and edit the generated content to ensure it meets your quality standards and brand voice.

Measuring the Impact of Your Content Gap Analysis Efforts

To measure the success of your content gap analysis and optimization efforts, track these key performance indicators (KPIs):

  • Organic traffic - monitor increases in organic sessions and pageviews to your site overall and to specific pages you've optimized
  • Keyword rankings - track your rankings for the gap keywords you targeted and look for improvements over time
  • Organic conversions - measure conversions from organic traffic to gauge the quality of traffic you're attracting

Attributing ranking gains to content updates

Isolating the impact of your content updates can be challenging, but there are a few ways to attribute ranking gains to your efforts:

  • Mark the dates in your content calendar with notes for when you made significant content updates
  • Monitor keyword ranking changes for the specific pages you optimized
  • Set up a custom Google Looker dashboard to visualize correlations between content updates and SEO performance

Content gap analysis is a powerful strategy for any business looking to boost their organic search performance and outrank tough competitors. By identifying untapped keyword opportunities and creating content that comprehensively addresses searcher needs, you can attract more qualified traffic and establish your brand as an authority in your niche.