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Using SEO data analytics to identify business gaps

3 Mins read

One of the strangest things to explain to someone who isn’t so familiar with digital marketing is how business owners can target business opportunities that aren’t currently on their radars. After all–if we consider the problem semi-philosophically–how can we know what we don’t know? Relying on human logic alone would make that task quite tricky. As SEOs, we have plenty of tools to help us identify business opportunities and gaps. That means keywords we aren’t targeting, audiences we aren’t going after, backlinks we aren’t getting, and content topics we aren’t covering on our websites. In other words, these are the foundations of a successful SEO strategy in 2021, and you could be missing out on leveraging them for yourself. Here are three pointers for using SEO analytics to identify your business gaps in keywords, content, and backlinks.

SEO data analytics

Find your keyword gaps.

Digital marketers have known the fluctuation in the importance of keywords since the late 1990s. But no matter how much that has changed, you need to rank for the right keywords, or else you won’t show up for anything. But have you ever done a few searches for keywords you want to rank for and not even been able to find your website in the SERPs? Doesn’t it frustrate you to see your competitors on page one? You can be as good as they are. The way to do it is to run a keyword gap analysis in a tool such as Semrush or Google Search Console (GSC). Semrush is better and more user-friendly, but let me cover GSC first if you don’t have access to that.

You first have to link your Google Analytics and GSC together. Afterward, go to Analytics and navigate to Acquisition>Search Console>Queries. You’ll see the search terms people have used to get to you and those queries’ clicks, impressions, and click-through rates (CTRs). Export that data into an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet, and then compare the number of actual site visits that those keywords got you to the number of impressions you got for those keywords. The difference percentage will give you a measurable idea of where to improve. However, I prefer Semrush’s Keyword Gap tool for this. You input your URL and those of a few competitors, and it compares your keyword numbers against your competitors. The tool shows you a keyword overlap diagram and your top opportunities for getting new rankings.

Find your content gaps.

You likely know that no severe SEO today writes content for keywords alone. Keywords have their place as subject identifiers for Google, but we need to focus content around actual topics. We need our content to address questions people are asking. And maybe your top competitors are doing that much better than you are. As a result, they rank well for this or that query, and you don’t. So, how do we use SEO data to find content gaps? We will build on the previous point and use our competitors’ keywords to find this out. I mentioned earlier that we write content for topics over keywords, but keywords are still how the public finds your content.

In Semrush or your previous spreadsheet, you can filter your keyword gap analysis to show the keywords you’re ranking for in positions 11 through 100 or any number you like. If your competitors are doing well for this or that term while languishing in position 18 or 22, it’s time to look at the content you’ve built around those terms. What’s wrong with it from user experience and SEO perspectives? Is the information outdated? Is the content thin? Does it not address a particular issue within the buyer’s journey? For instance, are you writing blog posts about making an appointment with a doctor when you haven’t even covered why you might need to see a doctor? Not everyone browsing a medical center’s website is ready to take action.

Analyzing your content this way (as well as your competitors’ content, by mining the SERPs, for instance) tends to be manual, but the keyword gap analysis you did should come in handy. Tools such as BuzzSumo, Answer the Public, and Semrush’s Topic Research tool aggregate user analytics to show you the currently trending topics around specific keywords. You can also use what you’ve learned from that data to generate new content marketing ideas if needed.

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As a blogger, I’ve had the opportunity to share my experiences and insights with other people. The most important thing I’ve learned about blogging is that it’s not about me. It’s about connecting with others. I love the idea of using writing to build relationships. I’m always thinking about what I can do to make my blog more useful, interesting, and accessible to others. I enjoy talking about technology, health, finance, food, and travel.
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