Are you trying to create a local content strategy but have become stuck because lots of content recommendations are better suited to enterprise-level businesses? Well, don’t worry—there’s a way to adapt and overcome this obstacle by creating a user-intent content gap analysis for your clients.
What is a Content Gap Analysis?
A content gap analysis is the process of finding gaps in your content compared to your competitors. Performing one will allow you to find missed opportunities for pieces of content on your website, helping bring in traffic and eventually convert readers to buyers.
How Content Gap Analysis is Done
A content gap analysis is done by evaluating your competitors’ data to see how you stack up. What are the keywords they rank for? What keywords do you rank for? Which of those keywords are on the second page, while your competitors are on the first?
By using a tool to scrape your competitors’ data, you can take a detailed look at their content to help inform you of new ways to improve your content strategy. While it won’t involve directly copying what they are doing, using their content should help you think of the following:
- What are they talking about that you’re not? Why are they talking about it?
- What services do they focus on that you’re not? Is there a reason why?
- How are they using blog posts to educate and inspire potential customers?
- Are they focused on just transactional content? Is that all you need to rank?
- Do they guide potential customers through the traditional buyer’s journey or not?
Why You Need to Do Local Content Gap Analysis Differently
Given what we’ve been shown, a “traditional” content gap analysis is for bigger websites and the competition they face. There are some fundamental problems when trying to apply this process to the local space. With a content gap analysis, you are essentially looking to your competitors for advice on how to update existing content, create new content, and more. In the local space, there likely isn’t enough data to work with, nor is the content that great.
There Likely Isn’t Enough Data
If you were to search for a local service area business, there wouldn’t be many businesses with lots of content on their website. Often, you’ll be lucky to see the right information at all, such as the hours of operation, services, etc.
When trying to complete a content gap analysis, you have to be able to pull data from your competitors. In the local space, there is a huge chance that the competition doesn’t have a lot of content on their site or is even ranking for enough keywords to pay attention to.
This can make the content gap analysis process tedious and time-consuming because you need to work a lot harder to be able to grab actionable data compared to enterprise-level businesses.
Local Content Just Isn’t That Great
While you may be able to pull some keywords from a competitor, unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of great local content out there. You can find the keywords, but there isn’t anything to learn from them or recommend your local client does. In local SERPs, thin pages rank all the time simply because there is nothing better.
If the whole point of a content gap analysis is to learn from your competitors and see how you can do it better, why would you want to compare your client’s site to a competitor who isn’t doing its best to meet their potential customers’ search intent?
Find the Gaps with Local Content the Right Way
What we know of the content gap analysis process just isn’t meant for local businesses. Instead, you should identify gaps in user intent on your website by letting your users tell you what they want to see.
Google Search Console Queries
You can use your GSC data to find opportunities to improve already existing content:
- Log into the client’s GSC
- Go to performance
- Click filter
- Check impressions
Now you can filter based on how many impressions you would like each query to have. You have the option to enter a number and set the filter to ‘equals’, ‘not equals’, ‘greater than’, and ‘smaller than’.
For the purpose of this content gap analysis, you’ll want to set the filter to ‘greater than’. Depending on the size of your site and how much traffic it already obtains, you’ll have a different number. The site in the photos is small and doesn’t earn a lot of traffic, so I would set it to greater than 100 impressions.
To make going through the data easier, you can click on ‘Clicks’ and make sure that the arrow is facing up.
Now you have filtered so you can see the queries that your client’s site is showing up for in the SERPs and has lots of impressions for, but no clicks. This is valuable because you are able to see where their current content is lacking, allowing you to identify any missed opportunities for keywords that you may not have thought about targeting.
You may also export all this data into Google Sheets or Excel and filter it through there as well. However, for this searching process, I prefer to stay in GSC because, if there’s a particular query that stands out to me, I can click on the pages tab and immediately find what page the query is associated with. You should still always export all the data and sort through it once you find some great opportunities.
Once you have picked a query and see the page associated with that query, there are a few things to think about off the top of your head:
- Does this query make sense for this page?
- Does this query make more sense for a different page on the website?
- Should this query possibly turn into keyword research for new content?
After you’ve done your initial analysis in your head, it’s time to deep dive into your content and the SERP. Search for the query while having your location set to the location of the business. You can do this by using the BrightLocal local search results checker tool or the GS Location Changer chrome extension.
You should also go to the page on your client’s site associated with the query and read it. You can see where the content is lacking based on reading it while comparing it to the query. Listed below are some things to think about as you go through your content and the SERP:
- Are these queries relevant to the URL(s) they show up for?
- Do you need to expand the content on the URL(s) to match the search intent?
- Do these queries serve a different user intent than your current content?
- What are some of the features of the SERP?
- Is your content easily readable?
- Is your content a thin page?
- Are the title tags and meta descriptions optimized for this query?
- Does every competitor mention local-specific information?
After analyzing the SERP, you should come up with recommendations to update your client’s content to better fit the user intent. At RicketyRoo, we like to keep track of all of this work using Google docs where we can easily answer these questions, keep track of anything miscellaneous, make recommendations, and receive client input if necessary.
It’s important to know that, while the skyscraper technique works well in the local space, we as SEOs should do more to create valuable content and gain trust from users. We should go above and beyond the competition by leveraging our clients’ insights and experience in their industry. By doing this, you’ll crush the competition and rank for years to come.
Google Analytics Site Search Data
You can also explore Google Analytics site search data to find out what users are looking for when visiting your site. This can be a sign that the already existing content isn’t easily found or doesn’t exist. However, this only works if your client has site search enabled, unfortunately.
You can read more about how to set up site searches for Universal Analytics on Google’s support forum and luckily if you enable enhanced measurement for your GA4 property, it should already track this.
By going through site search data, you can find out what users are looking for. If there’s something that is searched frequently, there are a few things to think about:
- Is this something that is already covered somewhere on your site?
- Can this information be added to an existing page?
- Should this become a new blog post or FAQ page?
Other Tips to Fill the Gap
While browsing through the SERP, you should take note of all the features: People Also Asked, featured snippets, rich results, etc. This tells you what users want to know when looking up that specific query.
Pay attention to what’s there and see how you can be the best resource for users.
- Consider adding an FAQ section and using FAQPage schema to achieve a rich result in the SERP
- Use the People Also Asked section to come up with headings and subheadings for your content
- Are there any images or videos that show up in the SERP? Maybe you should create an accompanying infographic or video with your written content
While it’s very important to see what’s in the SERP to know what’s missing from your client’s content, it’s also important to step back and think about the query as a user. Maybe there is something missing in the SERP that a user would really benefit from. It can even help to think about it from a consumer perspective, asking yourself: what information would I need to make a purchase/submit a form/place a call?
It can be as simple as expressing your client’s story, their expertise, or their knowledge of the areas they serve. Use your client’s uniqueness as a factor to stand out and really show users that they are the right choice—whether that’s simply for information about their industry or as a service provider.
It’s important to realize that while a “traditional” content gap analysis is not built for the local space, we can change it and make it our own. It provides us with a chance to think outside the box and go beyond the norm to create effective, engaging and relevant local content.