Here’s what we do every other week as SEO specialists: We perform keyword research AND we “check in” on (read: spy on?) our competitors to see what they’re paying for, working on, and ranking for.
Don’t think for a minute that our competitors are not doing the same thing because they ARE.
The purpose of performing keyword gap analysis is to find opportunities and potential keywords to rank for compared to our biggest competitors.
The process is tedious and time consuming. We can either do it manually or use paid tools to get it done. SEMrush offers one of the most popular keyword gap analysis tools; if you’re going full throttle on SEO, it’s a great investment.
Using these tools, it’s also easier to run comparisons for social media activities, ad campaigns, keyword ranking, and PPC campaigns.
As mentioned, it’s possible to perform this task manually but it’s going to eat up a bit of your time.
The math is actually pretty simple.
Take the keywords your competitors are ranking for, subtract the keywords you are ranking for, and you’ll get a list of keywords that you should start targeting.
What The Keyword Gap Analysis Shows
With the report, you can sort out keywords based on their search volume, relevance to your business, your keywords for your website, the page URL, and marketing strategy as a whole.
When you compare the keyword list side by side, you will see clusters of keywords where your competitors are ranking for that you think you should also be ranking for too.
Even more interesting is the list of keywords they’re NOT ranking for. I would consider those.
It’s great if you have an online tool to help you with competitor research and keyword analysis because there’s better visibility into:
- shared keywords
- keywords your competitors are ranking for
- keywords your competitors are NOT ranking for
- strong keywords
- weak keywords
- untapped keywords
- unique keywords
How Does SEO Work Together With Keyword Gap Analysis
There are a few things to keep in mind when we’re doing keyword gap analysis for SEO purposes.
First, we want to see if there are windows of opportunity or untapped corners of the WWW where we can go into that our competitors are not prominently ranked. If there are, what are the improvements we can make to steal the traffic?
Secondly, we want to use keyword gap analysis to show us pillar pages that can be improved and new content ideas we can add to the content calendar. The process helps lay the foundation for discoveries of new topics and keyword ideas.
Thirdly, you can also improve on old content that is ranking on the 2nd or 3rd page of SERPs so that they can start showing up on the 1st.
Using Keyword Gap Analysis to Tighten META Tags
Sometimes, keyword gap analysis is done together with or as a part of a complete site audit. With the results, we will see a list of pages with META tags that are not performing well.
Based on the comparisons, we will also have a basic idea about what can be done to improve them. If the page is already ranking on search engines, albeit not as favorably as we want them to, a revamp of the page’s title and description tag is the fastest way to change things around.
The good thing about revamping the Title and Description tag is that we may see an increase in Click-Through Rates (CTR). Maybe it is simply a case of underperforming keywords.
Better Content Flow and CTA Placement Throughout the Page
You don’t need another SEO ‘specialist’ to tell you that people are IMPATIENT. The idea is that when the flow of the information is good for the readers, it’s great for search engines too.
Search engines are now reader-centric. That explains why there’s an emphasis on having content writers and copywriters adopt the readers-first mentality when writing.
When working on the Title and Description META tags, I would also pay attention to how the content is presented and where the CTAs are. If the bounce rate is high and CTR low, launch an investigation into why the content is not performing. Is it the flow? Can the placement of CTAs be better?
I would also have a look at my top competitor’s pages. Are they better at presenting their data?
Focusing on Other Types of Keywords and Some Combos
Apart from trying to rank for primary keywords, I’ve always tried to work my content around some secondary keywords, long-tail ones, and geo-targeted keywords. Here is an example.
Some of the secondary keywords, long-tail keywords, and geo-targeted keywords may not be the most searched ones but they may bring in the precious qualified traffic that your competitors are not focusing on.
It’s a known fact that people tend to use more than 3 to 5 words for their searches when they have high intent.
For example, when I search for “buy brown retro-style handbag gift online”, it is clear that I am looking for something to purchase within the next few clicks. Compare that to when I search for “brown handbag”.
So, when you center the content around these long-tail keywords, you might be increasing the page’s probability of converting site visitors into customers.
Suffice to say, primary keywords are, most of the time, extremely competitive and expensive. Even if you rank well for some primary keywords, it’s tough maintaining the rank especially when there’s an algorithm update from search engines.
I hope I’ve done a credible job in helping you understand more about what keyword gap analysis is so, be sure to keep that in mind going forward. If you’re on social media, do hit me up and follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ve also just started producing some videos on Youtube as I explore Tiktok, so, please subscribe there too.