Content Gap Analysis and Execution: A Primer for Organic Growth
Published: January 6, 2020
Author: Zach Morgan
Clients often come to us looking to increase their organic traffic. As a member of 3Q’s SEO team, I’ve had the opportunity to perform a content gap analysis for a spectrum of clients with varying products, industries, and goals.
The purpose of a content gap analysis is to evaluate the content a client has and determine any missed opportunities by looking at: keywords the client is ranking for; keywords competitors are ranking for; and complementary keywords audiences are searching for. This can be a tricky process, and it requires a great deal of focus, but if you’re willing to put in the time, the results can be powerful.
We recently performed a content gap analysis for Astrology.com, a leading publisher of astrological content. Below, I’ll walk through a particularly lucrative area of content expansion we identified during our analysis. I’ll also lay out the key steps we took to build out and proactively optimize content to capitalize on this expansion opportunity.
Identify Your Opportunity and Challenge
During the content gap analysis, we spend a lot of time looking at the unique keyword profiles of competitors. A “unique keyword profile” is comprised of keywords that a given competitor ranks for, but for which our client (Astrology.com, in this case) doesn’t rank at all. This often allows us to quickly identify “gaps” in content between our client and key competitors.
Based on the unique keyword profiles of a few different competitors, we identified a possible area of expansion within a highly competitive space (a subset of astrological content, to be a bit more specific). At the time, Astrology.com had no visibility within this space — i.e., no pages ranking for keywords within the space, and no meaningful traffic being brought to the site from keywords in that space. The Astrology.com team wished to build out optimized content and become one of the top competitors within the space.
Get the Lay of the Land
Once the area of content expansion had been identified, 3Q took a holistic approach to content strategy to ensure that the content would be built from the ground up with organic domination in mind.
Our process included:
- Keyword Research: We identified the highest-volume keywords that existed in the space. We also focused on determining the intent behind those keywords — i.e., what type of content would most adequately answer the questions users were asking in this space?
- Competitor Analysis: We then evaluated the top competitors in the space to determine their keyword strategies, content strategies, and unique value offered to users.
Craft Metadata, Define Structure/Hierarchy, and Write Content
After getting the lay of the land with Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis, we used our findings to inform the actual creation of content.
- Metadata Drafting: We drafted keyword-inclusive metadata (title tags, H1 tags, meta descriptions) based on keywords identified in the Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis phases.
- On-Page Content Templates: Based on the Competitor Analysis, we learned that the structure and hierarchy of on-page content was paramount to organic success in this space. We crafted content templates to be used by Astrology.com’s editorial team; these templates laid out our exact recommendations for content structure and header tag hierarchy.
- In-Depth QA and Revision: After receiving our content templates, Astrology.com’s editorial team filled in fresh, relevant content and passed the content back to us for feedback. We provided further recommendations to ensure on-page copy was keyword-focused and properly aligned with the intent of users searching in this space.
Implement and Measure Results
In the case of Astrology.com, this was a fun (and successful) endeavor.
The new content section launched in January 2019. Across all new pages that were built out, 3Q targeted 23 keywords in total (previously, Astrology.com was ranking for 0 of those). Three months post-launch, the client ranked on Page 1 for 21 of 23 targeted keywords (12 in positions #2-5, 9 in positions #6-10). In that same timespan, the new pages garnered 6.6M net new impressions and drove more than 108K net new clicks to the site.
The entire process took a few months — not an insignificant period of time. However, based on the results 3Q got from this project, it’s clear that patience and diligence can really pay off when it comes to SEO.