Keyword Research – GAP Analysis

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 11 min read
Keyword Research – GAP Analysis

Table of Contents


The internet has come a long way over the past 20 years. Now, Google search users in countries all around the world can find answers to their questions or products they need with a simple query. However, there are still holes (or gaps, if you will).

These gaps are holes that need to be filled. They could be knowledge, pages, or products (or all three) that the major competitors on the internet aren’t providing. These gaps are also great places for smaller competitors and niche sites to rank and gain some traction in the industry.

Gap analysis is the process of finding these gaps. Whether it’s a gap in keywords or a gap in content, by finding and filling these gaps with your site, you’ll be able to significantly improve your ranking and sales conversions.

Below, we’ll discuss the various phases of a successful SEO campaign, how to conduct gap analysis and the different approaches to keyword and content gap analysis. Let’s dive in!

Five Steps To A Successful SEO Campaign

Before we jump into the intricacies of gap analysis, let’s take a minute to discuss the five steps to a successful, profitable SEO campaign. The better you understand the basics of how SEO campaigns are structured, the more you’ll be able to implement gap analysis tactics to create a more effective SEO campaign for your site or client.

The “five phases” are:

  • Learning and analysis.

  • Improving.

  • Building and creating.

  • Promotion.

  • Evaluation.

Let’s take a quick look at all five of these steps so you can better understand how to organize your upcoming SEO campaign.

Step 1: Learning and Analysis

Before jumping into any new project, you need to take the time to analyze your site, your niche, and your competitors. Using our Web Audit and SERP Checker is a great way to see how your site is performing, what keywords it may be already ranking for, and what new keywords you can start using.

Step 2: Identifying Improvements

Now that you understand your market a little bit better and have performed a full audit of your existing website, it’s time to identify some places where improvements can be made to your site. What are some low-competition niche keywords you can rank for? How can you improve your site’s content to help it rank better?

Step 3: Building and Creating

As you notice improvements, you’ll need to continuously update your site’s content and build new content to ensure that it’s ranking for your primary, secondary, and supporting keywords.

Step 4: Promotion

Once you’re satisfied with the overall performance and SEO of your site, it’s time to start investing in some paid promotion. This could be social media ads, Google Adwords campaigns, or creating an affiliate program. This process will help your site scale and generate more leads and sales.

Step 5: Evaluation

As your site grows over time, you’ll need to use analytical tools such as Google Analytics or our Rank Tracker tool to check how your site performs. Rank Tracker is a revolutionary tool that will allow you to see how your site increases or decreases in Google SERPs ranking over time. This, in turn, can show you where improvements can be made.

What Is Keyword Gap Analysis?

You probably already have an understanding of just how competitive the internet can be. A site that ranked well last month can be overtaken by a new competitor on the market who’s more dedicated to their SEO and has better content or products. This happens every day and is the reason why brands are investing more into their SEO than ever before.

One of the best ways to keep a large brand dominant or help a niche site get its foot in the door is with keyword gap analysis. This is the process of analyzing your industry and niche to identify where any gaps might be. Keyword gap analysis specifically involves finding underutilized keywords.

Many of these keywords are high-value, low-competition keywords. This means there may not be a lot of competitors ranking for them, even though there are high-value, motivated searchers looking for answers or products.

Why Should I Do Keyword Gap Analysis?

If you’re conducting SEO for a newer site that’s trying to break into the market and rank on the first few pages of Google SERPs results, it can be a tough, uphill battle. Finding gap keywords can help you build your client base, get more site traffic, and become a niche authority.

For example, a large shoe company might dominate for terms like “track shoes” or “football shoes,” but might not rank for more niche keywords like “trail running shoes” or “extra-wide tennis shoes.” These represent gap keywords that you can implement to get your smaller site or brand ranked.

Conversely, larger brands may want to conduct a gap analysis to ensure that they dominate the market.

You could be doing SEO for the large shoe company (using our previous example). They’ll want to make sure that they’re ranking just as well for niche keywords as they are for major primary and secondary keywords. This makes it harder for new competitors to take away their customers.

How Do You Do Keyword Gap Analysis?

To start with, you’ll need a good keyword tool. You can either use Google Adwords’ keyword tool or you can try using our Ranktracker’s Keyword Finder tool.

Our patented Keyword Finder will provide you with more detailed, in-depth knowledge that Google’s free keyword tool won’t. This, in turn, allows you to find special, high-value, low-competition keywords that your competitors aren’t using.

Once you have your keyword tool open, here’s a quick overview of the main steps of keyword gap analysis.

1) Keep Track of Gap Keywords With A Sheet

As you research your keywords, dig deeper using our SERP Checker tool. This will show you important metrics on the keyword, such as its level of competition, monthly search volume, etc. Take note of all the possible gap keywords and their metrics in a Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets tracking page.

2) Identify Pillars and Clusters

Once you’ve got a long list, try to sort it into two groups:

  • Main pillars (primary gap keywords).

  • Clusters (secondary and supporting gap keywords).

3) Create Content

Lastly, you’ll need to create pillar content that utilizes secondary and supporting gap keywords. These pieces of content will help your site rank and will help to fill the “gaps” in Google search results, bringing your site targeted, motivated traffic.

Keyword Gap Analysis With Ranktracker’s Tools

Above, we showed you a brief overview of how a keyword gap analysis is performed. Overall, it’s fairly simple. However, it can take a bit of time if you want to make sure it’s done correctly. In this section, we’ll show you exactly how to run a gap analysis for your niche to ensure that you’re able to rank for some of the best high-value, low-competition keywords in your industry.

Create Your Keyword Data File

So, first things first, you’ll need to gather all of your data and do your keyword research. Here’s how to create your keyword data file using our Keyword Finder and SERP Checker tools.

The first thing you’ll do after performing your website audit and identifying what keywords you’re already ranking for is going to be to find new keywords for your site. This can be accomplished by using the Keyword Finder tool.

Start by searching for a primary keyword or secondary keyword in your niche. The tool will present you with a long list of related keywords as well as some preliminary data on the competition level of those keywords. Start making a list of primary and secondary keywords that could be gap keywords to investigate further.

Once you have your list ready to go, open up the SERP Checker. This will allow you to “see under the hood” of each keyword. You’ll be able to check on detailed keyword information, such as:

  • Keyword difficulty.

  • Google SERP analysis.

  • ...and most importantly, what sites are ranking for a keyword on Google SERPs results.

Simply put, the SERP Checker is the final tool that will help you double-check and verify whether or not a keyword on your list is a gap keyword or not.

As you double-check keywords in SERP Checker and verify that they are, in fact, high-value/low-competition gap keywords, you should add them to your Excel or Google Sheets data sheet.

Cleaning and Organizing Your Data File

Here we’d like to encourage you to make your data sheet as detailed as possible! Don’t just include the keyword itself in your sheet. Ensure that you’re also including data columns for things like the competition level, top sites competing for the keyword, and the type of top-ranking content for your niche content.

Chances are, you may have a few keywords on your list that you should re-evaluate. Perhaps some of the keywords on your list aren’t as high-value/low-competition as you originally thought and should be removed or exchanged for others.

Once you’re 100% sure that the keywords on your list are gap keywords, it’s time to organize the data into pillars and clusters.

Select some of the primary gap keywords and denote them as pillars. These are going to be the main gap topics that you create content around.

Next, start analyzing the other keywords on the list and figure out which gap keywords can be clustered together underneath certain pillars. You’ll use these keywords as secondary keywords that will be scattered throughout your main gap content.

For example, let’s say that one of your pillar gap keywords is “extra-large athletic shoes.”

Some of your cluster keywords might be:

  • “Extra-large golfing shoes”

  • “Extra-large basketball shoes”

  • “Extra-large soccer shoes”

  • “Extra-large football cleats”

Do you see how all of these secondary gap keywords fit into the main gap keyword of “extra-large athletic shoes?”

Creating A Content Plan For Your Gap Keywords

Having everything organized into main pillars and clusters will allow you to create high-quality gap content that actually converts. Using the example above, you could create a high-quality piece of gap content such as a buyer’s guide for extra-large athletic shoes.

You could also create multiple pieces of blog content such as individual niche posts on each type of extra-large athletic shoes or brand comparisons of various extra-large athletic shoes.

Creating Silo Structures For Gap Content

As we’ve discussed in some of our previous articles, one of the key aspects of getting your content to rank is to interlink your content and create a good silo structure for your site. This means having clearly defined pillar content and target pages that are linked to by child pages such as blog posts and smaller articles.

Continuing with our example of the shoe site, your large buyer’s guide on athletic shoes would be your main piece of pillar content designed to rank for the gap keyword “extra-large athletic shoes.”

Then, all of those secondary child posts you created on the individual types of athletic shoes would eventually link upwards to the pillar buyer’s guide. This would show the Google algorithm the authoritative structure of your site and help it rank even higher, allowing you to take full advantage of the gap keywords you or your client are trying to rank for.

Creating A Gap Analysis Report

If you’re an SEO specialist who’s been contracted by a company seeking to rank for gap keywords, then you’ll need to present them with a gap analysis report. This report will include detailed information, outline your thought process, provide competitor analysis, existing site analysis, and more.

Essentially, your report should show your client why they need to trust you to help their site rank higher. To accomplish this, you need to ensure that your report is as clear and detailed as possible and contains lots of valuable data that they might not have been able to accumulate themselves.

Our specialized SEO toolset provides you with all of the tools that you need to generate acquire high-quality data and information. From our Keyword Tool and SERP Checker that allows you to research gap keywords to our Rank Tracker tool that lets you track your page’s performance over time, you’ll be well-equipped to answer any questions that your client might have.

Below, you’ll find a more detailed overview of how you should model your keyword gap analysis report.

Good Presentation

Good presentation is everything! We suggest organizing your presentation into a slideshow, complete with large, easy-to-read text, plenty of images and graphs, and a structured, organized flow.

Once you create your presentation, you’ll be able to present it in-person or virtually, depending on your work situation. If you’re in-person, you can load it onto a presentation board. If you’re working virtually, you can email the presentation to your client.

Another option is that you could create a presentation for a potential client. If you’re trying to land a new client, you could do them a favor and run a gap analysis on their brand, present them with the results, and try to get them to hire you for the job!

Top Competitor Data (Plus, They’re Top-Ranking Pages)

Now, let’s move on to the content of your presentation itself. To start with, you want to show the client that you know their market. This means including lots of competitor data. This can mostly be generated using our SERP Checker tool. You’ll be able to find exact numbers and data on the primary industry keywords that major competitors in the field are using.

You’ll be able to show your niche client how hard it will be to move into this space without the use of gap keywords. Then, in the same vein, you can present them with the “gaps” that the major competitor forgot about or is unable to fill.

List of Gap Keywords

Now that you’ve got your client’s attention, it’s time to present them with all of your research on gap keywords. You’ll show them all of the sub-niches and high-value/low-competition keywords that they could easily rank for. This is guaranteed to get them excited and build trust in your research.

Content Creation Plan

Lastly, you’ll need to present your client with an action plan for how you plan on utilizing your gap keywords. This means that you’ll want to present them with a content creation plan for pillar content, sub-content, and how you plan on linking everything through proper silo structure.

Ranktracker’s Tools Can Help Your SEO

The great thing about Ranktracker’s tools is that they’re incredibly versatile. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish SEO-wise, you’ll be able to use our large toolset to generate high-quality data, ultra-accurate information, and real-time results.

For example, Ranktracker’s tools can help you run detailed gap analyses that will help you convert more SEO clients than ever before. By identifying these gaps in content and keyword usage, you’ll be able to help smaller brands compete in high-competition industries (or help large companies plug their gaps to ensure total dominance).

You can use Ranktracker’s Keyword Finder and SERP Checker to identify holes and find high-value/low-competition keywords in various niches. Then, you can use the Web Audit tool to analyze how your client’s sites are already ranking (and what you can do to improve them).

Once you’ve started your gap-filling campaign, you can generate real-time reports for your client by using the Rank Tracker tool to see how the page is performing in Google search engine results.

The best part? Once you’ve sold your client on gap analysis, you can use Ranktracker’s toolkit to sell them on other services, such as link-building and content creation. This makes our toolkit one of the best investments you’ll ever make into your SEO business!

In Conclusion

So, just to give you guys a quick recap on gap analysis, here are some key points to keep in mind. Success on the internet is largely determined by finding “gaps” in various industries. These gaps could be informational gaps that you could use to build trust with visitors or product gaps that you could use to sell affiliate products or market your own products.

Gap analysis is the process of finding these gaps. Whether you're running gap analysis for your own site, an SEO client’s site, or you’re trying to generate reports to acquire new clients, Ranktracker’s tools give you everything that you need to run successful gap analysis campaigns!




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