Creating content for your website is an important part of marketing, but that does not necessarily make it easy. No matter how much existing content you have, there will always be a content gap somewhere that needs to be filled – and targeting those content gaps can be important.
Content gaps hint at missed keyword opportunities and chances for competitor websites to overtake you. By filling content gaps, you are taking these chances away from direct competitors and bolstering your own SEO strategy.
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What are Content Gaps?
A content gap is simply a gap in your content strategy.
For example, this might be a particular keyword that you have completely ignored or a topic that your website has not covered.
If your audiences are likely to look for something and it is not available in your existing content, they will go to competitor sites.
After all, your competitors rank higher than you for topics that your site does not actually offer or connect to at all.
In other words, you want to create content to fill these content gaps, placing your own business into a wider variety of content that users are going to be looking for.
While this might seem like you would be dumping your business into irrelevant topics, this is not really the case.
For example, there could be thousands of target keywords related to even the most simple of industries, such as furniture companies relating to everything from bedside tables to lampshades.
Why Is It Important to Fill Content Gaps
All the keywords that your business is targeting form the core of your marketing strategy. This means that you are benefiting from the ones that you target – but are not always benefiting from any related keywords that you are not targeting.
In other words, your own content only appears for the people who are looking for it using relevant keywords. However, your target audience is not always guaranteed to be looking using those terms or even looking for that kind of content.
Effective content creation means creating content that will appeal to as many people as possible and using new content ideas to capture new audiences.
The search intent of your target audience is not static. One person might look for “desk chairs” and find your article on desk chairs, but a person looking for “home office furniture” might not – and somebody searching for “creating a home study” wants completely different content.
Filling content gaps involves identifying the areas that you are ignoring and then capitalizing on untouched sources of potential customers and organic traffic.
By creating blog posts and other content that would fit into these caps, you are drawing in users who otherwise would not notice and/or click on your results when they appear on search engines.
Understanding Content Gaps
There are, in general, three kinds of content gaps to consider: media, topics, and keywords. Each has its own specific impact on your business and may require different strategies to fill.
Topic Content Gaps
Topic gaps are usually the first kind of content gap that people will think of because it is the most straightforward.
In a topic gap, the point is focused on the topics themselves: more specifically, whether or not your site is targeting every possible topic in every possible way.
Content is not a binary choice, where you either have content or you do not. There are spectrums of what that content can be, and sometimes effective content marketing does not even focus on an entirely new topic in the first place.
There are four core questions to ask when considering these gaps in your content:
1) Does the existing content on my site cover every single topic that your intended audience would care about?
2) Have you already completely covered every topic that would be relevant to your readers and capture their interest?
3) Does your site cater to all levels of comprehension and reading skills for all readers in all contexts that would be relevant (such as beginners and professionals looking for different kinds of articles)?
4) Is your target audience always finding the article that they are looking for when they click on your business in search results?
If any of these questions come back with a “no” answer, then you probably have a gap in your content that needs to be looked into and filled before a competitor can over take you.
Media Content Gaps
Media gaps refer to any situation where you do not have enough video content on your website or used in your marketing at all.
While it might sound hard to believe to some, video content has become a very popular and effective way to advertise to users, either through paid ads or SEO.
Adding media to your content plan is an incredibly powerful way to increase brand awareness and secure more traffic and sales, but it has to be done in the right way to pay off.
By not having any decent video content, you are stepping right into a massive content gap – one that could be as large as almost three-quarters of all internet users within your target market.
Even in niches where video content might sound absurd, such as funeral care or medical services, there is a lot of potential in media.
While it can take a while to figure out the right way to approach this issue, neglecting video content and other forms of media can severely limit the potential of your SEO campaign.
Keyword Content Gaps
Keyword gaps are, as the name suggests, focused on the target keyword choices that you use.
It is important to understand that keyword ideas do not work on a sliding scale of good to bad. Some keywords are technically worse overall but offer a higher click-through rate or target a niche that you really need to capture.
A good example of this is long-tail keywords, which are keywords included in larger phrases. These are used less often than one-word keywords by outsiders but are more likely to be used by customers who are seeking a specific product or piece of information.
This makes it easy to create unintentional content gaps by simply not thinking over the keywords you use.
Consider the search intent of anybody looking for your products or content. A more specific set of keywords is probably being used by somebody who understands what they want – and those could be potential customers to target.
Targeting more niche keywords also means less competition since fewer businesses will be targeting those specific keyword options.
This can take some time to fully grasp, as well as plenty of market research. The end result is absolutely worth the effort, however.
How to Identify Content Gaps
Fixing content gaps is only possible if you know where the gaps in your existing content are.
The best option is via content gap analysis – but what does content gap analysis actually mean, and is content gap analysis important if you have other market research work to attend to?
What is Content Gap Analysis?
While the idea behind a content gap analysis can sound daunting, a content gap analysis is easiest with dedicated content gap analysis tools.
In simple terms, a content gap analysis is the process you use to identify content gaps in a direct way.
This means looking at your content marketing strategy and seeing areas where you can still create content or capture a new audience.
Tools like Google Search Console and a range of third-party SEO tools allow you to partially automate this, making it much easier for your overall SEO workflow.
Running a Content Gap Analysis
While the idea behind a content gap analysis can sound daunting, a content gap analysis is easiest with dedicated content gap analysis tools.
In simple terms, a content gap analysis is the process you use to identify content gaps in a direct way: looking at your content marketing strategy and seeing areas where you can still create content or capture a new audience.
A typical content gap analysis tool will allow you to scan your own domain for any obvious keyword gaps, taking longer depending on how many keywords you currently use.
When used alongside a decent keyword research plan, this kind of content audit can help you highlight areas where your content simply is not appearing or connecting with users.
From there, you can focus on the top-performing keywords and find ways to build new content that matches them, filling in that content gap with new content ideas.
Auditing Customer Journey Information
A content gap is not always as obvious as an empty pit ready for content creation, though. The buyer’s journey can also matter.
The buyer’s journey – the path that users take from a Google search onto your site – can reveal areas where quality content would really help.
For example, the buyer’s journey might show that all users are reaching the same landing pages, regardless of what they search. This might mean that sales pages are not appearing in the right places or there is not enough content to create multiple touchpoints for their journey.
You can often find gaps by looking at the way that the customer journey pans out and their behavior on your site.
If you are finding it hard to get users into your sales funnel, it might be because there are no blog posts or FAQ pages that answer the question they are looking up, so they have no reason to visit your website in their customer journey.
Auditing Your Content
A simple content audit can really help.
Content gap analysis is all about trying to identify gaps, and sometimes, you can simply spot missing content or important keywords by looking at your pages for yourself.
Broken links, a lack of top keywords, or even poor meta descriptions and meta title tags can all be a sign of content not fulfilling its role.
If you type something related to your business and you are not even on the first page of results, then there is room for improvement.
This can also happen after major changes to your business.
For example, you might have more content gap issues if you introduce new products or services.
This is because there is not enough content about those topics yet, but a lot of users may want to look them up.
Sometimes, you can simply look at your competitors’ keywords and use them to your advantage.
If a competitor recently did a lot of keyword research and a market research survey, they will probably change their own keyword choices to match their findings.
If you can break down their SEO tweaks and copy them for your own web pages (using original content assets, of course), you can stay competitive.
Just remember to not hijack everything with duplicate content. You do not want to outright steal their marketing and cause even more problems for yourself.
Fixing a Content Gap
After a content gap analysis finds a gap, your easiest option is to fill it directly.
This means creating new content that can slot into the “empty space” and capitalize on opportunities that you have missed.
Of course, if you want the best results, then your gap-filling content needs to be several things:
Different From Existing Content
Never simply copy a blog post and reword it slightly to fill a content gap.
A good content marketer will create new pages for each niche.
Not only does this make it easier to accidentally produce top-performing pages, but it ensures no penalty from search engines.
Clickable and Interesting
You ideally want to make your content the first page that users will decide to click on.
While this is not always possible, you still want to capture attention on the search engine results page.
Your content needs to offer something that makes users want to click, from an interesting header to an answer to their query.
Worthwhile and Appealing
Content gap analysis shows you where to place new content and what it should be focused on.
Always produce content that has value to it, rather than just empty shells full of keywords.
Even if this does not necessarily give it more SEO power, it makes it more useful to users.
This increases their appreciation and awareness of your brand and might even make you an authority on that topic.
If a user visits your content gap analysis filler content and finds nothing but bland bullet points and AI-generated fluff, they will be much less likely to visit your site again.
Relevant to User Interests
Relevancy is key after every effective content gap analysis.
Even if competitor analysis hints at keywords with a high search volume and excellent ranking pages potential, make sure it is relevant.
There is no point chasing a keyword with a huge search volume if it is not relevant to your business.
Remember, SEO is not just about quantity but also quality.
A hundred articles about random things unrelated to your business will not be nearly as powerful as twenty articles that are closely tied to your products and services.
Simple and Targeted
Never mix too many ingredients into your content stew.
A content gap is a niche thing focused on one or two related elements tied to a single topic.
If you try to answer every content gap analysis with a single page, you create a mess of information that users may skip over.
A clear and concise answer or explanation is sometimes the best way to secure a user’s attention.
For example, if a user wants to know the safety measures for using a certain product, simply list that information on a page instead of burying it in a press release.
Content Gap Analysis FAQs
The concept of a content gap analysis can be difficult to handle at first.
Thankfully, it does not take long to get past the initial hurdle of confusion, especially not with these answers to some common questions about the process:
Should You Create Content for Every Content Gap?
If you find a relevant content gap, always produce new content for it.
It does not matter whether it is a blog post, an article, a video, or even just a small promotional page.
That gap indicates that users are looking for something you can provide and aren’t finding your website.
With the right content, you can nudge them back towards your site without much effort.
Are Tools like Google Search Console Worth Using for a Content Gap Analysis?
All content gap analysis tools are useful, but Google Search Console should ideally be part of your SEO setup anyway.
Really, any tool that can provide this kind of analysis can work.
There is not any harm in using tools like Google Sheets to easily handle the resulting data, either.
No matter what SEO tools you use for a content gap analysis, you need to make sure that you can use them comfortably and understand the content gap analysis results they are providing.
Which Content Gaps Are Top Priority?
Of course, the absolute top priority should be any content gaps that are directly related to your business or that even use your own brand or product name.
If you are not ranking for something that you yourself offer (or even created), then there is something seriously wrong with your SEO.
Outside of that rare situation, you want to focus on the most obvious cases of missed potential first.
This can mean things like keywords where you just barely miss landing on the first page or where you are not quite in the top three (or even five) results yet.
Your first priority should be anything that probably only needs a light nudge to fix, such as a blog post or an update to some old content.
While you might assume that more severe gaps are more important, these take more time for (usually) a similar amount of benefit.
By focusing on the easier cases first, you basically guarantee yourself an SEO boost quickly, giving you some leeway to take your time when dealing with the tougher gaps.
Are All Untargeted Search Results Content Gaps?
You do not always want to target every gap, depending on the context.
For example, just because a furniture business could show up on search engine results pages for “top 10 most dangerous pieces of furniture” does not mean that they should.
Context is important, as is the user’s intent.
In general, there are two major situations where you should usually avoid gap-filling content: search results that have zero buying or visiting intent and search results that are actively against your business.
The first example could cover things like people looking up the name of your company’s owner.
The second example could be something like a user actively seeking negative reviews or looking for a complaints page.
In both of these instances, that user is not interested in actually visiting any pages that would directly boost your SEO. While ranking for them might not hurt, they also will not lead to more traffic, so gap content is not always worth the effort.
Conclusion to Content Gaps
As you have probably learned by now, content gaps are a problem, but they are a solvable problem.
While it might take some time, there are plenty of ways to recapture the potential you have lost or to draw in the audience that you forgot to target.
Just remember that there is no wrong way to tackle this problem. Adapt your strategy, change up your content, and be prepared to rework things if the content you create does not quite work as expected.
Searcharoo is a Link Building & Content Marketing company run by SEO’s based in the UK.
Our goal from the start has been to provide premium links and content services, at fair and affordable prices.