How to Do an Effective Content Gap Analysis for SEO

By | August 17, 2019

In this video, we’re going to fill in the
gaps in your content marketing strategy with a seriously cool content gap analysis. Stay tuned. [Intro Music] What’s up guys, it’s Sam Oh here with Ahrefs,
the SEO tool that helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors
and dominate your niche. And today I’m going to show you how to do
a little bit of incognito work on your competitors. More specifically, you’ll learn 3 hyper-effective
content gap strategies that should give your content marketing and blogging
efforts a friendly boost in traffic. So let’s jump right in. The first content gap analysis we’re going
to do is to find keywords that your competitors rank for, but your website isn’t ranking
in the top 100 Google search results. So I’ll go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool
and here, you can enter in a URL or domain. So, in our case, since we’re looking for
new blogging topics, I’m going to do a prefix search on Ahrefs blog. Next, I’ll click on the Content Gap
tool in the left sidebar. Now, when you’re looking for new keywords
to target, this top section here is where you’ll need to enter in the domains or URLs
of your competitors in organic search. So here, I’ll put in,, and If you’re not sure who your competitors
are, then you can use the competing domains report right here within Site Explorer to
find websites that are ranking for similar keywords as your site. Now, for Moz’s blog, we’ll have to make
sure that the mode is set to prefix, since we only want to find keyword topics from their blog. And you’ll see right here that their blog
posts all have URLs prefixed with /blog/. Now, as for Yoast and Backlinko, we can leave it
as a domain search since their blog post URLs are just slash slug. And for our own blog, we’ll have to make
sure it’s also set to “prefix” since our posts are all under the /blog/ subfolder. Now, before we hit the “show keywords”
button, let me add a little bit of context as to what we’re searching for here. In the first part, we’re asking Content
Gap to show us keywords that any of these websites rank for, where at least one of the
these sites ranks in the top 10 of Google’s search results. And the final condition is that this site,
which is our blog, doesn’t rank at all in the top 100 Google search results for that keyword. But I want to make our results even more relevant,
so I’m going to change the “show keywords” filter from “any” to “all” of the below targets. So we’ll only see keywords where all 3 of
our competitors have pages ranking somewhere in the top 100, but our own site is not seen there. And in almost all cases, I recommend leaving
the “top 10 ranking” checkbox checked. Now, I’ll run the search. So you can see here that we have 492 keywords
where every single one of these sites are ranking in the top 100 Google search results
and at least one of them ranks in the top 10 for a target keyword. Now, the ones that immediately stand out are
the keywords “seo copywriting” and “video seo.” You can see that all 3 of our competitors
are ranking decently high, which tells me that they have made some kind of intentional
effort to target these topics, and probably for good reason. These would both be perfectly relevant for
our business too, so I’ll make a mental note to create content around these topics. And from here, I can click on the SERP dropdown
to see the top 10 ranking results and even click here to see the top 100 results! Also, there’s are a couple really valuable
shortcuts that will help your workflow. If you click on the caret beside any of
these numbers, you can get some quick stats on the page plus shortcut links to your favorite reports like the backlinks report or organic keywords report. And you can also click on any of these
numbers to open the respective page. Now, if you find that there are too many keywords
in here, you can narrow down your results even further by clicking the plus
button and adding more competitors. And you can add up to 10 competitors here,
but I’ll just add one more and run the search again. And you can see that the results set
has shrunk to 423 keyword ideas. Now, if you’re on the other end, and you’re
not getting enough keyword ideas, you can change this filter from “all of the below
targets” to something like “at least 2 or 3 of the below targets” or “any of
the below targets.” So I’ll set this to at least 2 of the below
targets and run the search again. And now we’re exponentially higher
at over 8,000 keyword results! And if that isn’t enough for you, then you
could also uncheck the top 10 Google ranking requirement. Then you’ll see we’re at just under 48,000
results, which is just bananas! But you’ll also find phrases that you probably
have no interest in targeting. So I recommend starting narrow and
then broadening your search from there. Pretty cool, right? If all of your competitors are going after
these keywords, then why wouldn’t you target them when all of the data is right in front of you? Alright, the next way you can use the Content
Gap analysis tool is for a content refresh. And by content refresh, I’m referring to updating
your old articles to a new and current version. So, we’ve seen significant boosts in organic
traffic when we update old content on the Ahrefs blog. So this is definitely a blogging
strategy that I highly recommend. So the way this strategy works is to search
for other relevant pages that are ranking high in Google’s search results for your
target keyword and then to find sub topics that you can include in your new and up to date post. So, for example, in our organic keywords report,
I’ve filtered down the results for keyword terms between positions 5-10. And you can see that we rank in position 7
for the keyword phrase “link building.” If I click through to our article, you can
see that this was published in 2016, so it’s probably due for an update. So from here, I can click on the SERP dropdown
here and copy and paste a few of these URLs in the top section of the Content Gap tool. Finally, I’ll paste our link building guide
in the bottom section where it says “But the following target doesn’t rank for.” And again, I’ll start with the “all of
the below targets rank for” filter and broaden my search from there, if needed. And boom! There are about 30 keywords here which tells
me that there are actually quite a few things we might be missing in our guide. And from the looks of this report, I can see
that if and when we update this post, we may make note of “SEO links”, “link building
campaigns”, and possibly have a short section on explaining what backlinks are. How awesome is that? From what I’ve seen, this feature is unique
to Ahrefs where you can do a content gap analysis on exact URLs and prefix searches. Now, you don’t need to limit
yourself to only old content. You can do this exact same thing with one
minor tweak that will basically have content gap write an entire outline for
a new post you want to create. Just leave this bottom section blank and boom! You now have a list of 83 keywords that are
highly relevant to this topic. And we know this because all of the top ranking
pages for the parent term, “link building” are also ranking for these other relevant keywords. Alright, so the last use case I want to share with
you today is one regarding consolidating content. Now, there’s a good chance that you’ve
written about the same topic on more than one occasion. So rather than battling with your own pages
in Google search, you can compare two or more of your articles, see which one is ranking
best, and then merge the posts together. So I’ve already put two URLs in Content
Gap from our blog. The first one is about growing website traffic
and the other is about increasing website traffic. So basically the same thing. By leaving this setting to “any of the below
targets” and searching for only keywords where either of these pages rank in the top
10 search results, you can see that the first article is performing much better in Google search. So from here, we would analyze the second
article and see if any points from here could be integrated into the more dominant piece. Then, we would redirect the less dominant
article to the one that seems to be better serving the searcher’s intent. Now, I’m sure you can see how this simple
little tool can provide powerful insights for your content strategy. So give content gap a shot and find new topics
you probably should be targeting. Use content gap to update some of your old content. And use content gap to create new blog posts
with this data-driven strategy to maximize your organic keyword rankings. And that wraps up this video on data-driven blog topics. Make sure to subscribe for more actionable
SEO and marketing tutorials. And don’t be a stranger. If you have any questions related to the content
gap analysis or you just want to say hey, then leave a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you. Sam Oh, signing out.

16 thoughts on “How to Do an Effective Content Gap Analysis for SEO

  1. Arthur Post author

    Super sweet Sam! Thanks for the detailed video on content gap analysis. Say, are there any tweaks you'd make to this for ecomm sites?

  2. Marty McLeod Post author

    Amazing timing. I was just looking for how to use this feature this morning – and you happened to post the video the same day. 🙂 Thanks!!

  3. Chandan kumar Post author

    I am unable to see the show keywords that_________________________rank for options in my ahref. Why is it so? Let me tell you that i am usinf ahref through third party subscription.

  4. Elias Arosemena Post author

    I love content gap. Is the tool I use the most besides the Backlink checker.

  5. Karan Ch Post author

    I will provide ahrefs seo tool for 1 month only in (99$ plan in 40$) (179$ plan in 90$)if you are intrested email me- [email protected]

  6. David Sinner Post author

    Every video is very interesting and useful! Great job!

  7. Sam Samo Post author


    if I want to rank for a keyword with city, let's say for example: "mobile repair in city A", then I make other landingpage and optimize for the keyword "mobile repair in city B" and then agian other landingpage and optimize for the keyword "mobile repair in city C" and so on. is that good or it will harm the general keyword "mobile repair"


  8. Danijel Balaban Post author

    Hey Sam, could you tell us what does the green color represent? Also, are the numbers indicating ranking for a specific keyword?

  9. Veronique Leneart Post author

    Hi Sam, still looking good :). Thanks for explaining this feature. Highly appreciated!

    I just have one question on which I can't seem to find an answer online. How safe is it to use expired, unique content from on your money site? The content has passed copyscape and is surely unique. It has been deindexed by Google.

    In a previous life it has been used on other websites, so it was indexed by Google before.

    Some say it's safe, others don't.

    Can you please give me clarification regarding this :)?

    Thanks in advance!

  10. Marie Winter Post author

    Once again, awesome tutorial with hands-on tips ! My goal for 2019 : one video a day.

  11. Charles Sipe Post author

    When I did the trial the Content Gap tool would only show the first 10 keywords with the Lite subscription. Do I have to upgrade to the $179 plan to see all the keywords?


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