When it comes to keyword research, there is not just one type wherein you target keywords for existing pages. Finding new keywords allows you to grab new opportunities in content marketing. That is what this entire module will talk about, keyword gap analysis.While there may be several keyword research tools out there, only the researching technique matters in the end.

Various professionals, such as bloggers, eCommerce store owners, marketing managers, digital agencies, and SEO consultants.

Keyword gap analysis has become an effective way of finding new keywords for content marketing. To build one of the most effective SEO campaigns, let us understand the why’s and how’s of keyword gap analysis.

Five Phases of SEO Campaign

Before we get into the depths of keyword gap analysis, let us take a few steps back. The previous modules explained the five phases of the SEO campaign.

The five phases is a process you need to tackle to build and execute a perfect SEO campaign. Most commonly known as The Blueprint, the five phases of an SEO campaign involve SEO analysis, keyword research, on-page optimization, and more.

  • Learning – Starting with research, you lead the project by familiarizing yourself with the monthly reports and previous analysis.
  • Improving – Through monthly reports, you work on your SEO campaign and refine it as much as possible. Ideate to plan improved campaigns.
  • Building – Once you grasp all the pros and cons, utilize those ideas, and use the best resources within your reach to execute.
  • Promoting – Now that your campaign is built, be ready to put it out in the world extensively.
  • Evaluating – Finally, you evaluate your campaign reports at the end of every month, and continue the five phases again.

Understanding Keyword Gap Analysis

SEO campaigns are all about racing ahead in the competition. To stay on top, you have to keep finding new opportunities in the form of keywords. The keyword gap analysis is all about filling the spaces that you could not in the beginning.

A keyword gap analysis can be defined as the process of finding keywords to gain traction usually received by your competitors, but not your webpage. Simply put, through this method, you can search for valuable keywords to utilize on your website.Many keyword research tool providers also help to conduct the keyword gap analysis. Even so, you can carry this method out on your own as well.

Previously, you learned how to find the most effective keywords for your existing campaign or website. But now, let us focus on searching for new keywords that worked for your competitors.

Why should you conduct a keyword gap analysis?

Using a few resources such as Ahrefs, you can look for keywords and perform a gap analysis. You can easily build a rank-worthy website to include these keywords with the help of content marketing.

(Source : Google Images)

There are several benefits to performing keyword gap analysis. Besides finding new opportunities, you can find questions that are frequently asked by your target audience.Further, you can explore keywords that are contributing to rank other existing web pages. Keyword gap analysis is not time-consuming because you can find efficient keywords in a few minutes.

How do you conduct a keyword gap analysis?

The process of conducting the keyword gap analysis is quite simple and barely takes any time. Let’s go through an overview before digging into the process of keyword gap analysis.

(Source : Google Images)

Using Google Sheets templates – With the help of Ahrefs, you can simply export data and paste it into readymade Google Sheets templates. Not only does this make your process less tedious, but it automatically pulls keyword gaps.

Adding pillars and clusters – Pillars are keywords that focus on a wider topic with high search volume, while clusters focus on specific keywords that are attainable. These help in cleaning out keywords depending on their relevance. Moreover, topic generation becomes simpler in doing so.

Creating topics for content marketing – Moving on, you use these keywords to help in content marketing and build an improved SEO campaign around it.

Run Keyword Gap Analysis

We saw an overview of conducting a keyword gap analysis. Let us dig deeper into the techniques of conducting a keyword gap analysis. Here we shall look at methods to export data, pull keywords, group keywords, and form a topic for content marketing in the end.

Setting up the file

In the first step, you will use a simple file that can pull keyword data exported from your Ahref research. This step will take you about five to fifteen minutes based on how many competitors’ data you pull into your file.The average is 3 to 5 competitors. However, you can go higher as per your preference. This will fully depend on how in-depth you want to conduct the analysis.

Here are the steps to setting up your file for keyword gap analysis.

  • Look at the template – Your template should generally have a few sheets within the document already, such as client keywords (KWS) and competitors. Select competitors that have related content to your clients, which will lead to finding relevant keywords.
  • Download your keywords – You can simply do this with the help of Ahrefs. Once you go to the Ahrefs website, input your client’s website name. Once you do this, go ahead and select ‘Organic Keywords’ on the displayed page.

In doing so, you will be asked for quick export, full export, or custom. These are basically the number of keywords you wish to gather. Quick reports provide the first 1,000 rows, and full export does more than 1,000 rows. At the same time, custom allows you to select a number of your choice.The pop up also gives you CSV format options, wherein Microsoft Excel is recommended for this template. When you click start to export, you shall download the document. Further, you open the excel sheet to select the entire content and copy it into your Google Sheets template. This should be copied in the ‘clients KWS’ sheets.

  • Ways to find competitors’ keywords – There are several ways to go through with this step. You can start by asking your clients about it. However, most times, their information turns out to be inaccurate. This is because they are not always aware of who their exact competitors are.

With your expertise in the field, you can find out your clients’ keywords with ease. While you could opt for the questionnaire method, it is not recommended because the clients will provide a wide range of competitors. Remember that your analysis is based on finding gaps and new opportunities for clients. You can simply avoid this method and save yourself a lot of time finding irrelevant keywords.

(Source : https://ahrefs.com/blog/competitive-analysis/)

Start by referring to Ahrefs, which provides a list of top ten competitors for your client. You can click on the websites of your competitors linked by Ahrefs. Besides taking out keywords, you can just go through competitors’ blogs to see the type of content they are stirring up.

Moreover, try to shortlist these competitors based on content and brand similarities. This will easily eliminate keywords that are of no use to you, and further, give you a detailed idea of what your direct competitors are doing.

  • Download competitors’ keywords – Now that you have shortlisted competitors, you can carry out the same process that you did to download clients’ keywords. This is a refresher, go to Ahrefs, input the competitors’ website URL, select ‘Organic Keywords,’ and export.

(Source : Google Images)

This is an optional sub-step wherein you filter out the unnecessary keywords. This includes positioning of the keywords that are ranked at 15 and above, or you can custom select the positioning. We fully recommend this step of deleting to weed out content and save your time.

All you have to do is copy and paste this data into your Google Sheets competitors’ templates one-by-one.

  • Authorize keyword research – Once you are done with exporting the relevant keyword data, you can edit the Google Sheets tags to client’s and competitors’ respective names. To further run the file, you click on ‘Blueprint KW Research’ at the top of the panel, which will snapshot the keywords.

The authorization process is quite easy to get through. All you have to do is select your linked Google Account and permit the app. In case the pop-up states that ‘This app isn’t verified,’ do not panic.

The quick fix to rectify the pop-up situation is to select advanced settings and further click to open the Blueprint KW Research. You are now set to run the file!

  • Script running – Once you give your file some time to run, you can come back later to see your file completely tabulated. You will have a list of keywords, keyword difficulty, monthly search volumes, best ranks, ranking competitors, and more tabs.

And, you have set your file!

Cleaning the data

With the help of your newly set file, you can now move on to the next step of building an SEO campaign. Your file currently is full of thousands of keywords, which is why this step is extremely crucial. Not only does it make your work easy, but it also gives you more time to focus on relevant keywords later.

During this step, you will get rid of unimportant data such as misspelled keywords, duplicated, low volume search, and irrelevant keywords.

  • Eliminate tabs – The first step to cleaning the data is to declutter your space, which is the Google Sheets template. You can delete all the tabs for competitors except your keyword overview tab and the master tab. You can also go ahead and hide the approval column since it will not be needed anymore.
  • Filter columns – This particular step will help to tabulate your numerical keywords in order. Filter the column monthly search volumes to fall in descending order. Further, eliminate those search volumes that are lower than ten or so. Your client needs help with ranking, and low ranked words do not contribute as much.
  • Skim through – Head to the keywords column to weed out some topics’ potential of wasting time. This could get tedious, but manual browsing is vital to receive accurate results. Take your time and get rid of those with special characters, misspelled words, and irrelevant content keywords.
  • Grouping keywords – Now that you have a polished and neat excel sheet full of relevant data, get ready to assign the keywords into groups, pillars, and clusters. Grouping keywords is an essential step to help with crisp content creation. You are taking your first step into generating good content ideas for your client. Since grouping keywords is a crucial step, make sure you are giving it enough time of about one to three hours.
  • Focus on the top ranks – Your first step can start by focusing on the top-ranking keywords since these hold greater importance. If your competitors have managed to rank higher with the help of these keywords, so can your client.
  • New tab – Grouping keywords is all about creating pillars and clusters. These are the columns you want to fill out. Make a new tab called settings which will involve all your pillars and clusters. During the second step, which is browsing the keywords, you must have got an idea of what keywords fall into which category.

Some general pillars could be SEO, social media, paid media, email marketing, content marketing, etc. Moving on, you go back to your master sheet for data validation. Data validation will open a simple pop-up box for you to edit its settings

Now only does this reduce your typing work, but it creates options for every box in the pillar column. All you have to do is click on the triangle, and it will drop down your pillar options. In fact, you can later add more pillars if you want to.

  • Cluster grouping – Once you create your drop-down pillars, you have to input clusters. Even though you have to input clusters manually, there is a simpler way to go about it. Once you see the first keyword, filter the Google Sheets with that keyword. Doing this will help to cover topics at one go easily and help in grouping the clusters together.

Your clusters could include examples, page designs, email marketing, logos, etc. that will help you to generate topics easily. Keep filtering with keywords until you fill your clusters column specifically. Try to stick to less amount of clusters as much as possible.

  • Journey column – There is yet another column that you have to create. However, it is quite simple. The journey refers to your clients’ customer base and their behavior phase. These include the five marketing phases, that is attention, awareness, discover, consider, and customer.

With the help of your clusters column, you can estimate at what stage your target audience will be viewing your campaign. No matter what the campaign or post is, you only need to have an approximation set in your mind. The journey column requires you to be strategic, so we suggest that you put your best marketing mind forward.

  • Eliminate more keywords – You can also clear out more keywords if you feel it is needed. For instance, if your client has stopped indulging in page designs, you can filter with keywords for those with page designs and delete them all. While they may be good ideas, they are not relevant to your client and their products.
  • Repeat the steps – You may have gone through these steps, but as you continue the process, you will realize that a lot of keywords were missed. You need to stay extra alert for the grouping steps because the work is manual and essential.

Reporting and next steps

With your file set, cleaned, and grouped, it is time for you to report to your client. The completed audit needs to be presented to your client perfectly, for which we shall use the presentation deck. Since your file has several complex terms and processes to grasp in one take, your presentation should be able to break it down. Visualization through your presentation can make your client understand your content marketing campaign better.

  • What is included in the document – Like every presentation, you should also include a good cover slide and index slide. This is important because it will give your client what to expect in the upcoming slides. Make sure to be as brief and direct in your content slide.
  • What was your process – Your client might not be very fluent with content marketing terms and processes, so explain it to him. Moreover, it will only increase your credibility and transparency, enabling the client to trust you.

Start by explaining how you started with the five phases of an SEO campaign, then move on to explaining keyword research and your methods. Inform them of which competitors were scraped during the process. Let the client know that there were some irrelevant keywords, while some with high volume searches.

Further, explain the terms pillar and cluster to help your client understand where the content creation will be based.

  • What did you find out – Now that your client is keeping up with the terms, make sure to end the presentation with the results of the keyword gap analysis? Include keyword pivot tables from your keywords overview tab from the Google Sheets template.

Further, explain the ranks and the monthly search volumes for the keywords displayed on the slide. This helps them to visualize and get some clarity rather than looking at keywords.

  • What to do next – By now, your client must be eager to be a part of the content creation process. At this stage, throw some ideas around to give them an idea of what can be expected.

Moreover, break down the process of building a content strategy that includes target audience, funnel targeting, topic lists, content type targeting, etc. Schedule a date for content approval, wherein you will present your outlines and drafts for content creation.

Content Audit Email Template

(Source : Google Images/ Example: Content Audit Template)

Besides providing you with The Blueprint Template and presentation deck, there is yet another offer. The module also offers a content audit email template to impress your clients more.

The email template is basically a simple draft to let your clients know that you have finished the keyword research analysis and are ready to present it. You can also attach links into the draft for your client so that they can go through the Sheets and analysis themselves.

The template also summarizes a list of things that will be included in your content creation strategies. Some space is provided for you to schedule a presentation date.

To sum up

You can finally take a big sigh of relief and give yourself a pat on the back. You have tackled one of the most tedious and vital steps of your SEO campaign. But do not worry because your hard work will pay off in the later steps. With the help of The Blueprint Template, presentation deck, and email template, you can fully expect to woo your clients.

Not only are these effective to impress your clients, but they also benefit in the next stages of your SEO campaign planning. Make sure to go through these step-by-step to achieve fine results. There are several tools out there to help you conduct a keyword gap analysis. However, they are not recommended. Even when you use SEO tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush, you still have to go through your files manually and weed out unnecessary data.

While many of these steps are not that essential, they prove to be quite effective. Besides helping you come up with accurate content ideas, you will also be able to add more value to your work. In fact, you might just end up extending your contract lengths by doing a detailed and thorough job. We know that this means more money, but the coolest part of it is able to create the best SEO campaign.

The next steps are one of the most interesting ones since you have to get your creative juice flowing. We can move on to the next steps of content creation and strategy to help your clients build one of the top-ranked SEO campaigns.

A ServiceNow wizard by trade, Gaby quit her 9-5 to pursue the world of search marketing. As a Customer Success Manager at SERPninja, she makes sure your projects get the attention they deserve. She is a certified Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing Expert and a SEMrush Expert – it is safe to say she knows exactly what she is talking about. She swears by  “The 5 Hour Work Week” but ends up working 80 hours a week to make sure your SEO is handled right.