It’s always good to be aware of what your competition is doing, especially online. Any sensible business owner would be reading their competitors’ social media page, visiting their website, and picking apart their ads. Besides these, you should also be doing a keyword gap analysis. It helps you gain more insight into competitors' digital strategy.
What is a Keyword Gap Analysis?
Also known as competitive keyword analysis, a keyword gap analysis lets you identify keywords that you don’t rank highly for but your competitors do. The phrases should be high volume, related to your business, and likely to convert. They should also be ones which you could rank for better.
Don’t settle for analyzing one competitor, either—looking at the data on two or more of them will give you a better view of what works in your niche. The downside is, this type of analysis takes a lot of time. You’re monitoring the ranking of thousands of keywords, which is tough to do manually.
Why Conduct This Type of Analysis?
When a person enters keywords or questions into Google, they have an idea of what they want to see. You must understand what your buyers are looking for at every stage of the funnel and how content influences their decisions. What's more, a customer in a saturated niche will have a different buyer’s journey than one in a niche with only a few dominant players, so the strategies would be different for these two types of companies. If you analyze competitor keywords, you can reveal weaknesses in your strategy, like keywords you’re neglecting or ones you haven’t targeted.
How to Do a Keyword Gap Analysis
If you’ve already completed your keyword research, you can do competitor analysis to make the most out of your target keywords. Here are things that could help you study your competition.
1. Identifying Competitors
Your business competitors aren’t your only search competitors. Businesses you'd consider your competition in sales might not even be on your level in terms of SEO. Meanwhile, you could also have competitors who are killing it online, ones who might seem like they’re not doing much better than you in person.
The first step of keyword gap analysis is knowing where you are in relation to search competitors, the websites targeting the exact keywords as you. To find your niche’s top players, you can start with a Google search. Choose keywords most relevant to your business, the ones you think you have the best chance of ranking for, and look at who’s on the first page of the SERP. These are the organizations in your “search neighborhood.” They are the ones whose content you have to match or exceed in relevance and engagement.
If your website is new, you can use research tools to help you identify your domain’s main organic competitors. Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool can also help. This software produces a list of domains whose content, products, and services are close to yours. You can do three things when qualifying competitors:
- Examine traffic level: Websites with a much higher or lower traffic level than yours are not your competitors. Concentrate on ones with traffic near yours.
- By audience overlap: the overlap score will help you determine if a website has a similar audience to yours. Higher scores mean their audience is likely to want to read your work.
2. Gathering and Organizing Keywords
After you get an idea of who your competitors are, you can look at keywords you share and the ones they’re ranking for that could relate to your offerings. For example, if you sell a health supplement promising good skin, one of your competitors could be a store selling protein shakes. Although you sell different things, your offerings are similar enough that you might have overlapping primary keywords like “buy fitness drink near me.”
Using Semrush’s Keyword Gap tool will help. It lets you export data from various platforms into one spreadsheet and prevents you from running multiple gap analyses on different domains. Once you have your keywords, use filters to vet and assess the list.
- Look at high competition keywords and put them on a different page on your Excel or Google Sheets file. If you have a new website, you’ll find it hard to rank for them at the moment. However, you might try competing for these keywords later when you’ve built a following.
- Eliminate keywords that aren’t related to your business in any way.
- Take note of keywords with high domain authority, especially ones that shows your industry knowledge.
- Finally, review SERPs for each of the keywords in your list and note opportunities you might have missed, like topics you could write about.
3. Leveraging Competitor Keywords
There’s no quick fix to identifying which keywords are the most important. You’d have to go through each of the phrases you listed as high priority and consider their current SERPs. Look at the organic traffic the keywords bring to each domain. After you’ve determined the most relevant or accessible keywords, you will have to find your edge.
Also, don’t concentrate on blogs. While they are crucial in delivering information to the audience, they’re not the only places to address a content gap. Product pages, static pages, and other areas of your website should also provide the answers that your audience seeks. For example, you’d find it challenging or even futile to write detailed articles about product specifications, applications, and case uses, especially if your product's features frequently change. However, if you have well-written and optimized product pages, you’ll get a lot of traffic through there.
Performing an online competitor analysis is easy if you have the right tools on hand. Targeting the best organic or paid keywords, finding terms relevant to your business, and mapping these out on a marketing funnel allows you to make your mark, even in a saturated industry.
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