If you find that your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts are lacking, it may be time to conduct a content gap analysis. This helps you find missed opportunities for your SEO strategy – and if you hire us to handle it for you – is something we’ll do on your behalf.
One of the most common questions we get from our clients is, “How do I figure out what to write about?” While we’ll also handle your content needs if you want, we understand that many people want to write their own blog posts, but still want to make sure the content serves their overall goals.
Of course, turning to SEO keyword research can help you determine the topics to cover on your website, but there are always other, potentially more lucrative opportunities out there. And that’s what the content gap analysis does – helps you find the “gaps” in your content so you can develop ideas that bring more traffic to your website, provide value to your audience, and ultimately, convert more visitors to paying customers.
What is a Content Gap Analysis?
If you’ve ever gone through a process to find holes in your current content, then you’ve likely performed some kind of gap analysis. This process involves finding missing pieces of content that could align with the stages of your target’s buyer’s journey.
It starts with your existing content, which allows you to see places where you may lack valuable assets that could guide users through their journey to purchase your product or service.
Chances are, you’ll also find new keywords to target that you’re not already using with your existing content.
To do a full content gap analysis, you’ll audit:
- All pages of your website, including landing pages
- Blog posts
- Social media content
- Any downloadables and other content assets like ebooks.
Step One: Mapping Your Content to the Buyer’s Journey
Not every visitor who comes to your website will be ready to make a purchase. Most of the time, they will simply be looking for information, Price shopping for their best solution, or looking to compare their options.
So that you’re ready for every visitor regardless of where they are in the buyer’s journey, you need to create content for each stage – whether they are just now figuring out their need, looking at their various decisions, or ready to make a purchase from you.
Lots of brands focus on creating informative content that draws into the audience and then money pages to convert the users into buyers. Though this approach works, it does create gaps for people who are considering their options may fall through the cracks.
Conducting your content analysis requires you to identify whether you have content for all stages of your buyer’s journey including awareness, consideration, decision, and success.
Awareness content targets keywords that are related to a particular problem your audience faces. The content serves to address the problem while providing valuable information. However, the goal is not to immediately convert the visitor into a customer.
During the consideration stage, people are comparing various solutions for their problem. They may read reviews, “best of” posts, or comparison guides. At this stage, you can create content that compares your product or service to your competition or present your brand as one of many solutions in a Round-Up post.
At the decision stage, you’ll find your money pages including your service pages, sales pages, and more. It is the final checkpoint before someone contacts you or makes a purchase from you. These pages are more branded than your consideration and awareness content.
But the journey is not over once a customer makes a purchase. You’ll need to add success content to reassure customers that they will reach their desired outcome. This may be as simple as a thank you page or as complex as a sequence of follow-up emails to connect them with ongoing support or ask for a review.
Your content gap analysis helps to identify whether you have content at each one of these stages for each one of your website’s offerings whether that is services, products, downloads, form fills, or something else entirely. The goal is to prevent users from having an opportunity to fall through.
That means you need to take a look at all of your existing content and map out which stage of the process that goes to. If you find that you have a lot of content in one area, it will help you focus your efforts on flushing out the content in the other stages of the funnel….but first, make sure you know what your customer does to arrive at the buying decision. Mapping the journey helps.
Step Two: Market Research
One of the best ways to come up with content ideas that are in line with what your audience wants is to ask them. Reach out to people in your target audience and conduct a market research survey. You can use Google Forms to create a quick and easy anonymous survey to send.
Ask things like:
- What questions do you have about [topic/keyword]?
- What are your biggest struggles related to [topic/keyword]?
- What solutions have you tried in the past?
- Why did these not work for you?
- What are the top three things you are looking for in [product or service]?
- Where do you go to look for solutions like [product or service]?
- What deciding factors do you use to choose between solutions?
The survey answers provide you with a lot of content ideas, all of which address the real needs and concerns of potential customers.
Step Three: Analyze Current Content
Your brand likely shares content across a variety of platforms but you want to be sure the content on your website aligns with the buyer’s journey and doesn’t leave gaps. Check all URLs on your website and determine how or if they align with each stage.
Then, you can determine whether you are missing content to bridge the gap between stages where needed and make adjustments to current content to make them better match one stage or another.
For instance, if you are a business coach and you have an article titled “How to Start a Business” and your immediate call to action is to “hire me” with a link that directs them to your contact page, you may be deterring people who aren’t sure they need a business coach yet.
Instead, you may want to link to an article like “Consider This Before Hiring a Business Coach” or “Finding the Best Business Coach for Your Needs” Nurture them before you hit them with your pitch.
You can also find gaps on your site using SEO tools to see what keywords your site currently ranks four. Then, search for those keywords so you can find related keywords that you may not be targeting with your existing content.
Step Four: Look at the Competition
Looking at what your competition is doing and considering how your site measures up is a great way to find more gaps. If your competitor uses a funnel that is more or less the same as yours, take a look at the content they’ve created to lead users through the funnel.
- Is the content immediately directing readers to a contact page?
- is there other content that nurtures the users before they buy?
It goes without saying that what works for one site doesn’t always work for another so you don’t want to copy your competitor’s strategy. You want to see where you may have issues within your own strategies that you can come up with something better than the competition.
SEO tools make it possible to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for so you can align these with new content ideas.
As a small business owner, it is common to make the mistake of focusing more on your money pages to push the sale or the informative blog posts to draw in readers.
While you need both, you do also need content to bridge the gap between each step of the buyer’s journey from where they are first aware of their problem to the point where they are making a purchase decision.
The content gap analysis is the key to finding those holes in your current content strategy so you can create new content assets that generate traffic and funnel users through to purchase.
It also provides an opportunity to find new keywords to target based on what your competitors are or aren’t targeting.
After you complete your content gap analysis and create the necessary content based on its results, you’ll have valuable content that nurtures everyone from your cold first-time visitor to someone who is eagerly ready to work with you.