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.
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 technical SEO 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.
Keyword research For Existing Pages
Keyword research is one of the most important services an SEO agency provides. As an agency that deals in enhancing a company’s online performance and website quality, you know how crucial keyword research is. No authority SEO content is complete without great KW research.
If you are just starting as a news agency, you might not have the experience your older competitors have. However, this does not mean that your agency has to suffer just because you are new.
There are many ways to optimize your client’s website just by using keywords. The process is generally carried out in two steps that are very important for you to follow. Once you ace this strategy, your keyword research operations will become exponentially easier.
You already know that you will need to come up with keyword research for two main pages. Your client will expect you to optimize his existing pages first and then proceed to optimize new ones too.
You must be efficient in both these processes so that there is no leaf left unturned in the optimization procedure.
Continue reading to find out more about how keyword research is carried out by agencies. You can also learn how you can enhance the efficiency of your operation too.
The two major phases of keyword research
Keyword research for existing pages and new pages comes under the second phase of our campaign plan. This phase is all about improving your website’s performance and SEO. Keyword research is an important part of this phase, and it is carried out in two steps.
For existing pages
The first step includes keyword research for existing pages. These pages already have content on them. They are commonly known as low hanging fruit pages and are very easy to tackle. All you need to do is fine-tune this pre-existing content and create something that is more relevant to the page.
You can write the same content with newer keywords and improve the performance on that page. By doing this, you will quickly generate more traffic to your client’s webpages in a limited amount of time.
This is one of the quickest ways to generate traffic. Moreover, it gives you an upper hand over your competitors as you build a good relationship with your client. This will also give you more time to create a relevant strategy for your client’s other needs.
For new pages
The second stage of keyword research is for new pages. For these pages, you will need to put in extra effort and come up with content strategies that will benefit your client. You need to do ample research on keywords and their performance on search engines.
You can create landing pages, blogs, etc. with useful keywords to generate more traffic on your client’s website. You create new pages with better content strategies in this stage after you are done enhancing the existing pages.
In a way, you supplement your client’s work with new pages that will generate more traffic to their website.
Use the template
This template can help you find the right keywords for your client’s webpages. You need to first look at keywords that are generally used by your client’s competitors. After this, you need to check their corresponding page on searches.
For instance, if a particular keyword fares well as a blog on your competitor’s website, you should use it for a blog too. Take the top three search results for each keyword and compile them to create a very specific keyword template.
(Source : Google Images)
You can use it for anything you want. However, be sure you update it frequently so that there is no outdated information on it.
How to identify main or secondary keywords on existing pages?
Sometimes, the keywords you curate are already used by your client on their websites. However, improper usage of keywords will result in low traffic and degraded website performance.
Once you have your main keywords in place, you need to recheck them to see if they are the right fit for your client’s website. You can put it through various online tools like Ahrefs to see if it is what you want.
(Source : https://ahrefs.com/keywords-explorer)
You can get help from outside or do it all by yourself too. The bottom line of this operation should be that you are focused on the topical content of the webpage. Make sure the keyword optimization done is relevant to what is on the page.
You can always hire expert contractors to do this for you. However, if you are a new agency and are trying to save up on capital, you will have to do it on your own.
Compile the webpage URLs that you are going to be assessing. You must mention their main keywords alongside them so you can keep a check. However, be sure to run the webpage by Ahrefs after that.
It is possible that the page content is completely irrelevant to its main keyword. This will reduce relevant traffic to the webpage. It is very easy to tackle this type of problem too. All you need to do is look for better keyword ranking.
For instance, if the webpage is about tobacco addiction, your main keyword should be either tobacco or addiction centric. You cannot have a keyword with a high-ranking that has no relation to the webpage content.
So, you need to find a relevant high ranking keyword for the page and use it as your main keyword. Additionally, you will also need to search for subsidiary keywords that can be used along with your main keyword.
You can stray away a little bit and find keywords that you think will connect well with the webpage content. For instance, cigarettes, nicotine, and cancer could be relevant to tobacco addiction indirectly. So, you can use them as secondary keywords too.
These secondary keywords will help you find better content for the page. You will have more relevant content that people online will want to read. This will boost your website traffic and rankings very easily.
Keywords for new pages
The second tactic is for new pages or pages that do not have any keywords on them already. These pages require a little more time and effort than the existing pages. However, if you are working for an eCommerce company, writing content for them will be exponentially easier.
On the other hand, if you are working for a local business or a lead generation business, it is not as easy. This is because these platforms have indefinite opportunities to create landing pages and webpages that will be relevant to their corporation.
You should start by assessing their home page. What is it about? What kind of content is on it? Whether they are using the right keywords for it or not. This will give you a jumpstart on the project, and you will know exactly what the website is lacking.
You can start by going through the website’s home page and its title. The first step is as easy as putting it through google search. However, if the title is not descriptive enough, you are unlikely to find relevant webpages with keywords in the search.
Then you can search for what the company does on google. This manual process is tedious, but it is important if your client does not have an optimized webpage. In this search result, you will find landing pages of your client’s competitors.
You can continue looking for keywords in the same manner. Search for relevant titles and go through the results to find something you can use. Use online tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to find keywords that you can use to optimize these webpages.
Then, you can alter the content on these pages or create a new webpage overall to enhance the website’s performance.
What is keyword intent?
An important part of keyword research is understanding what the customers are looking for. This is also known as search intent. It is the intention with which a customer runs a google search. It is your job to find out what this is about and what they are looking for.
Understanding customer’s intent will help you find better keywords for landing pages and webpages. This intent is mapped out in 5 stages. These stages will help you understand the various phases a customer search goes through. Moreover, this journey eventually leads back to the classic keyword funnel that is known for generating leads.
The client searches are done in 3 basic query stages. These stages include.
In this stage, the client is looking for basic information on the product. He wants to know what this product is about. These keywords generally have a ‘what,’ ‘how,’ ‘where,’ ‘when’ head. This is just the beginning of the process, and the client probably has no intention of buying anything as of yet.
In this type of query, the customer is digging deeper into the product. He now knows what the product is all about. So, naturally, he will want to see where he can find the best products and compare them online. The main keyword heads for such queries generally include words like ‘best.’
This is the final stage your customer reaches. In the transactional phase, he is looking to buy these products. He wants to know where he can get them online. The customer will also look for competition at this stage. The head of the main keyword will include words like ‘buy,’ ‘visit,’ ‘call,’ etc. This way, you can create different webpages that cater to your client’s every need.
You can include blogs, landing pages, webpages, etc. depending on the stages your customer is at. This way, your client’s website will be equipped with providing content and relevant information to their customers every step of the way.
Now you can create a single funnel model to better understand lead generation. There are five stages to this funnel, and they are very easy to understand and implement. These five stages include.
This is the general content customers want to see. It could include blog posts and informational content that can be seen on social media and other social platforms too.
This stage is all about creating awareness among the customers. You need to talk about your client’s products and give out relevant information on their services to generate leads that are actually interested.
At this stage, customers, who are genuinely interested in services that you provide will come across your website. Until now, they were focused on learning about your services are reading about products that are available in the market in general. However, now they know you are a service provider they can approach.
This is a crucial stage. Here is where all the leads are converted to clients. These customers already know about the kind of services you provide. They now want to know whether you are worth their time.
This is the bottom stage of the funnel, where not a lot of SEO is required. The leads are now your customers and use your products and services with loyalty.
This is one area where many webmasters fall short, so a good competitive analysis here can help you gain an advantage.
How to add supporting data in your content
Your client is not just looking for a list of keywords in their data anymore. They need details for what they can rank for in these files too. You can provide them this information by giving them the nature of the searches and checking what their competition does online.
The process you can follow is.
1. Take the top three results of all the keywords
You can use a keyword and put it through a simple google search. Then take the first three results that show up and add them to your files. This shows the kind of content that has the highest ranking on Google for a given keyword
2. Check the number of links you get with each result
This type of result is important for your client because it tells them the kind of competition they are facing. They want to know about the density of top results for this keyword
3. Understand the link velocity
Link velocity is basically the number of new links added to the search results on a monthly basis. This helps your client estimate how fast their page needs to grow in order to compete with new webpages.
4. Understand the content type that comes up
There are chances that a particular keyword will show you google search results in the form of YouTube videos too. So, it is important for you to add these important details in the data for your client to understand.
You can use Ahrefs to get this basic information on keywords. This platform will give you all the quality assessment details that you will need for these keywords. The most important thing you need to do is understand what this page about then creates a database of all the information you collect.
How to present this data to your clients
You cannot send your highly detailed database just as it is to your clients. You may understand these figures, but executives in different companies will not. You need to simplify this process and tone the information down to a level your clients can easily understand.
The best way to let your client know what you are talking about is using an opportunity score system. This is essentially a template that takes all the information from your database and creates a scoring system that is easy to understand for your clients.
It is a highly visualized way of representing information so that your client does not have to wrack his head over digits that mean nothing to him.
Use the website metrics
(Source : Google Images)
This is where you list out the opportunities for a client. You need to show the client where you will optimize keywords and enhance traffic and present it as an opportunity to do better.
You can also show them what the domain authority is like and where their website’s interests lie. All these can be presented as opportunities, which makes it easier for your client to understand.
Show them what you will do
Now that you have mentioned where all they can improve, you need to show them what you will do. They already know their weak spots and where their website lacks. You can now show them that you have a strategy to help them overcome these issues on their platform.
Create a presentation
You can create a keyword research presentation to send to your client. This is very convenient, and you can also create a template that you can use for different clients too. This presentation should include.
What you did and how you did it. You can send your client a website quality audit and show them the tests you ran on their website to come up with issues that they are facing.
You can list these problems down in the presentation in the following slides and explain them. Chances are your client is unaware of the technical terms that you use. So, take your time and try to be thorough with the explanation.
2. Analysis of the results
You can now talk about what you saw and the verdict you came up with. This way, you can give them final results of the issues they are facing.
Mention how you plan on tackling the aforementioned problems in the next few slides. This will make it easier for your clients to navigate through and understand the presentation.
In the end, you can send them a simplified version of your spreadsheet that includes all the information. Along with that, you can send them a detailed presentation to help them understand your plan of action too.
Keyword research is one of the most important jobs you will have to do as an SEO agency. These keywords hold a lot of importance in generating traffic and improving a website’s performance. Moreover, having the right strategy for different platforms is also very important. Go ahead and spend a good amount of time over keyword research to make your client’s website performance better than it ever was.
Good keyword research is the launchpad, and our niche edits and the rest of our links and services will perform better when you have a solid foundation on your site.