Using SEO data analytics to identify business gaps
30 second summary:
- Are your leads sliding through the cracks in these business gaps?
- SEOs have a great viewpoint in the form of data that is actively helping to identify business opportunities and gaps
- Kris Jones, SEO pioneer, serial entrepreneur, and best-selling author, identifies three critical issues that can be fixed in order to lay the foundation for a successful SEO strategy in 2021
One of the weirdest things to explain to someone who isn’t that familiar with digital marketing is how business owners can target business opportunities that aren’t currently on their radar. If we look at the problem semi-philosophically, how can we know what we don’t know? Relying only on human logic would make this task quite difficult.
Fortunately, as SEOs, we have numerous tools with which we can identify business opportunities and gaps. This means that we do not address any keywords, do not target audiences, receive no backlinks and no content topics that we do not cover on our websites. In other words, these are the basics of a successful SEO strategy in 2021, and you could miss out on taking advantage of them for yourself. Below are three pointers on how to use SEO analytics to identify your keywords, content, and backlinks business gaps.
Find your keyword gaps
Digital marketers have known the fluctuations in the meaning of keywords since the late 1990s. Regardless of how much this has changed, you still have to search for the right keywords or you won’t show up for anything.
But have you ever searched a couple of times for keywords that you want to rank for and couldn’t even find your website in the SERPs? Aren’t you frustrated seeing your competitors on page one?
You can be as good as they are. The approach is to do a keyword gap analysis in a tool like Semrush or Google Search Console (GSC).
Semrush is better for this and more user-friendly, but if you don’t have access to it, let me cover GSC first.
You need to link Google Analytics and GSC first. After that, go to Analytics and navigate to Collection> Search Console> Queries.
You’ll see the search terms that were used to get to you, as well as the clicks, impressions, and click-through rates (CTRs) of those queries.
Export this data to an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet and then compare the number of actual site visits you got with those keywords to the number of impressions you got for those keywords. The percentage difference between them gives you a measurable idea of where you need to improve.
However, I prefer Semrush’s Keyword Gap tool. You just enter your URL and that of some of your competitors and compare your keyword numbers with those of your competitors. The tool shows you a keyword overlap chart as well as your top ways to get new rankings.
Find your content gaps
You probably know that no reputable search engine optimization company only writes content for keywords these days. Keywords have their place as subject tags for Google, but we need to focus the content on hot topics. We need our content to answer questions people ask.
And maybe your top competitors are doing so much better than you.
As a result, they rank well for this or that query and you don’t. How do we use SEO data to find content gaps?
Well, we’re going to build on the previous point and use our competitors’ keywords to find out. I mentioned earlier that we write content for topics about keywords, but keywords are still the way the public will find your content.
In Semrush, or your spreadsheet from earlier, you can filter your keyword gap analysis to see the keywords that you rank for 11 through 100 or any number. If your competitors are doing well on this or that term while you languish in position 18 or 22, it’s time to look at the content you’ve built around those terms.
What’s wrong with that from a user experience and SEO perspective? Is the information out of date? Is the content thin? Doesn’t it fix a specific problem in the buyer’s journey?
For example, are you blogging about scheduling an appointment with a doctor when you haven’t even explained why you might need to see a doctor? Not everyone who browses a medical center website is ready to take action.
Analyzing your content in this way (as well as your competitors’ content, e.g. by mining the SERPs) is more of a manual approach, but analyzing the keyword gap that you did should come in handy.
You can also use what you have learned from this data to generate new ideas for Content Marketing if you have to Tools like BuzzSumo, Answer the Public and Semrush’s Topic Research Tool combine user analysis to show you the hot topics on specific keywords.
Find your backlink gaps
When we talk about using SEO data to identify your business gaps, the icing on the cake is a good, thorough backlink gap.
If you are found using keywords and content is gaining customers’ trust, backlinks can strengthen your website’s authority with Google. A backlink is a vote of confidence. It’s the equivalent of someone standing up in a crowd and saying, “Yeah, I believe in what you’re doing.”
The path to a strong backlink profile is through your content marketing. Reach out to influencers to see if they want to link to your useful and authoritative content.
But then your competitors do the same, and possibly with much greater impact.
Again, we can use SEO analysis to find out where you’re falling behind.
You can certainly use everything mentioned here to analyze your competitors’ content, but in the end you will likely need a paid tool to do a full backlink gap analysis.
You can use Ahrefs, Semrush, Mozs Link Explorer, or something else. You can check how each function works with a free trial version. However, to close the gaps in the backlinks, you need a paid subscription.
From your research, enter your website and some of your competitors’ websites. Whichever tool you use, you need to see the total number of backlinks and referring domains.
Now note that it often happens that there are more backlinks than domains. It just means that some domains are linked to you more than once. That doesn’t sound too bad, but if you want a large and varied backlink profile, consider increasing the number of domains associated with you.
At this point, however, the point is to sift through the data to see where you’re missing the mark. Take a look at the backlinks of your top competitors. What kind of content is getting the most links? Is it long blog posts? White papers? Or is it some other content format that wins these links?
Find out what your competitors are doing well, and then Create better content! If these domains are linked to this type of content for someone else, they can surely do it for you.
If you’ve filtered to view your top pages for backlinks and find that you’ve received a ton for a certain type of post, then you may be able to create more of them in the future!
Regardless of whether it is about keywords, content or backlinks, the best overall presentation wins in search engine optimization. They have to be useful and authoritative for human users and Google.
As SEOs, we are used to sorting data. However, it might not be the everyday business owner. If so, I hope readers have learned a lot about how analytics data is your friend when looking for loopholes in your company’s SEO strategies.
If you start getting this right, you will share in those gains too.
Kris Jones is the founder and former CEO of the digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay Enterprises in 2009. Most recently, Kris founded the SEO services and software company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous successful technology companies. Kris is a veteran speaker and author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time, “Search Engine Optimization – Your Visual Plan for Effective Internet Marketing,” which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.