If your business blog, website, or social media content isn’t performing as well as you’d like, it’s time to complete a content gap analysis. In this report, you’ll identify problem areas with your existing content marketing strategy and brainstorm new ideas to improve traffic and engagement. Here’s everything you need to know about doing a content gap analysis.
- What Is a Content Gap Analysis?
- How Often Should You Do a Content Gap Analysis?
- Steps to Conduct a Content Gap Analysis
What Is a Content Gap Analysis?
A content gap analysis is the strategic process of auditing your published content and addressing any missing or underdeveloped copy using reoptimization techniques and competitive research. You conduct content gap analyses for several reasons:
- Improve the quality of your content (accuracy, relevancy, and engagement)
- Enhance your search engine visibility
- Keep up with or gain an advantage over competitors
- Realign your content with your overall business goals
- Gain a deeper understanding of your target audience
How Often Should You Do a Content Gap Analysis?
“You should conduct a content gap analysis at least once a year to make sure your content strategy is in line with business goals, market changes, and audience needs. For industries and topics that are fast-evolving, you may need to conduct content gap analyses more frequently, such as on a quarterly basis.” —Kennedy Martinez, Content Director at Hurrdat Marketing
For a more data-driven approach to answering how often you should review and refresh your content, you’ll want to analyze the search results page for your target topics. Look at how old the average date is on each topic’s top-performing content (or if there are dates at all), and then update your content based on that frequency. And if there aren’t dates, that likely indicates that blogs aren’t the best format for the topic and you should instead consider restructuring—like to a landing page, social media post, video, or even a calculator—to better fit the searcher’s intent.
Steps to Conduct a Content Gap Analysis
Google and social media platforms’ algorithm updates can negatively impact the performance of older content. To maintain your standing as an experienced, expert, accurate, and trustworthy source in the eyes of search engines, follow these six easy steps during an SEO gap analysis.
Step 1: Identify Relevant Keywords & Topic Clusters
Search volume and intent are always changing, so fresh, comprehensive keyword research will be vital to finding any “gaps” in your existing content and improving its performance. There are plenty of free SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner you can use to conduct keyword research, or you can use paid options like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, HubSpot, or Moz Keyword Explorer.
While researching keywords, you’ll likely notice related concepts that are new (or just more popular now than when you originally published your content). If these ideas have enough search volume and depth, you should consider building them into topic clusters on your main site or blog.
Step 2: Map Out the Buyer’s Journey
Reevaluate how you serve your target audience at all stages of the buyer’s journey. If there are steps that are currently underdeveloped or you notice friction from customers at a certain stage in your sales funnel, this is a strong indicator that you’re missing valuable content that would smooth out the process and lead to more conversions.
To fix this issue, you should make your website copy more user-focused, create new high-converting landing pages, and fine-tune your blogging strategy to develop educational content that addresses customers’ frequently asked questions.
Step 3: Analyze Competitors
With a competitor analysis, you’re not trying to copy or replicate others. Instead, you’re comparing your competitors’ techniques to your current content marketing strategy in order to identify what you can do better than them. Here are the main questions to ask during competitor research:
- What types of content do my competitors produce (blog posts, infographics, videos, webinars, e-books, etc.)?
- What are their most popular and engaging content pieces?
- What are their target keywords and topics?
- What content topics or formats are they missing that I could explore?
- How do they structure and organize their content?
- How often do they publish new content?
These questions will help you differentiate your content strategy and stand out in SERPs to surpass your industry counterparts online.
Step 4: Audit Your Content
Conducting a content audit across all your active platforms—including social media, blog, website, email, and others—will highlight any opportunities you’re missing to capture potential customers. Looking at Google SERPs to determine what you currently rank for is a good start, but also consider:
- Content Recency: When was your content published? Has it been revised in the last one to two years? Is there more up-to-date information to add?
- Content Relevancy: Is this topic evergreen? Does your content still align with business goals?
- User-Friendliness: Is your content easy to read and comprehend? Do you have a mobile-friendly website?
- Quality of Content: Does your content engage your audience? Is it shareable? Is the existing content too thin (in length or depth)?
- Target Keywords: Are you focused on semantic keywords? Which medium or long-tail keywords are within striking distance?
Step 5: Fill Your Content Gaps
After determining the issues with your content, create a plan to address them. We recommend prioritizing tasks with the least effort/least impact to most effort/most impact, like this order:
- Purge content that does not provide value to your audience and/or your business
- Repurpose top-performing content
- Reoptimize all remaining content with current SEO strategies
- Create new content that follows best practices and topical authority
Purge Old Content
Having mature content can demonstrate authority and legacy, but if that content is duplicate, irrelevant, or isn’t written to provide evergreen information, then it can hurt your overall performance in SERPs.
That’s because with Google’s helpful content update, search engines prefer to show the most recent and most relevant information to their searchers, which means content that’s older and less useful will likely not get as much visibility or traffic.
The best course of action for SEO growth is to remove this type of content from your website entirely.
Repurpose Existing Content
Sometimes, you don’t have to start from scratch when creating content. You may have already explored a topic on one platform that you can expand, condense, or otherwise rework to fill gaps on another platform.
Repurposing content allows you to extend the life of your work with low effort. Some examples of repurposing content include:
- Creating a YouTube video from a blog post
- Turning a long-form video into short-form snippets, like YouTube Shorts or Tiktoks
- Cross-posting social media content on several platforms
- Turning website copy into an infographic
Update Existing Content
Any content that has been identified as outdated or under-performing but not duplicate or irrelevant should be kept. However, for these assets to provide value (to your audience and search engines), the content needs to be refreshed using current SEO tactics. Generally, here are the biggest opportunities:
- Meta Data: Craft strong meta titles and descriptions that accurately reflect your content, incorporate relevant keywords, follow the character count, and entice users to click your link instead of competitors from SERPs.
- Keywords: Ensure the content is properly optimized for relevant keywords that align with search intent. Use keyword research tools to identify high-volume, low-competition keywords that you’re not currently ranking for.
- Formatting: Enhance the content’s readability and structure by incorporating clear headings, subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists. Improve the overall flow of the content to make it more engaging and easier to consume.
- New Media: Add relevant multimedia, such as images, infographics, videos, charts, graphs, tables, calculators, and other visual elements to break up text-heavy content, make your content easier to skim, and give you more opportunities to rank in SERPs.
- Alt Text: Add alt text to make your content accessible to a wider audience and signal to Google that your website is ADA compliant. Descriptive alt text helps search engines understand the content and relevance of images, even if they cannot be visually displayed.
- Link Hygiene: Confirm all external and internal links are sending users to active, relevant webpages. Replace broken and outdated links (more than two years old) with appropriate alternatives and add new links for content that has been published since the original post went live.
- Link Building: Get high-quality backlinks from reputable websites to enhance the credibility and authority of your content. A strong backlink profile improves your website’s domain authority and signals to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy.
Create New Content
To see continued benefits post-audit, it’s important that fresh content is added to your blog or social media account on a regular basis. All content going forward should cover relevant topics, interest your audience, include a competitive analysis as part of the writing process, and be in line with SEO goals.
Step 6: Monitor & Measure Success
Every three months, create reports for both newly created and updated content. Track marketing metrics like organic traffic, user engagement, and conversion rates to fully understand how your content is performing. Then, based on the data you collect and your ROI, you can determine if this process is worthwhile for future content creation and strategy.