Updated May 11, 2023
With Google’s algorithms becoming increasingly attuned to user intent, filling content gaps is integral to search engine visibility.
What is a Content Gap?
A content gap is what’s missing between what a consumer is searching for and what they find. This missing information gives businesses the opportunity to fill a gap in the market and claim their share of search engine real estate.
Why Should You Fill Content Gaps?
Filling a content gap helps your business in two main ways:
First, filling a content gap means your business fulfills search intent. If the information a consumer is searching for is outdated, low quality, or completely nonexistent, publishing helpful, thorough content that answers their questions means that you’ll climb the ranks of Google.
Second, if a potential customer is already on your website and finds that you provide a wealth of information on a topic, it’s less likely they’ll click the “back” button to return to search results, improving your website’s dwell time.
Filling content gaps means your website builds authority and relevance in the eyes of both search engines and consumers.
How to Find Content Gaps
Obviously, to fill a content gap, you need to know how to find them in the first place.
Let’s look at the three easiest ways to find your content gaps: keyword research, market research, and using search tools.
Let’s go into each of these ways to find content gaps in more detail:
- Using Keyword Research to Discover Content Gaps
If you use Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool, you can comb through the list and determine which keywords and phrases you haven’t yet created content around.
For example, let’s say I was looking for content gaps to fill for the Amplihigher website.
We offer copywriting, content writing, and content marketing services, so, naturally, I want to try to rank our website for types of keywords related to those topics.
Typing “content writing” into the Ahrefs keyword explorer tool yields these results:
From this list of keyword suggestions, I can see common related queries and determine whether or not I have related content on my website.
Search engine algorithms categorize your website by your content. The more content you publish about what you do helps you build topical authority.
- Research Your Target Market
You can uncover content gaps by researching your target market. You can use Q&A sites like Reddit, Quora, or Yahoo Answers.
For example, typing “content writing’ into the search bar in Quora returns these questions. You can see by the “following” number how many people are following the question. The higher the number, the more people are interested in learning more about that topic.
But–this is important–don’t answer questions just to answer questions. The content you create should be related to the services you provide. For example, our target audience isn’t looking for information about how to write content–they’re looking for content writing services.
With that in mind, if I was using the above questions, I wouldn’t choose “how can I learn content writing?” and would answer “what are some of the best content writing service websites?”or “what is content writing?” instead.
- Use Tools like Answer the Public and Google’s People Also Ask
For example, I was creating a content cluster with the pillar content “SEO Content Writing FAQ,” I could type my main query into Answer The Public or Google and scroll down to the bottom to find suggested topics.
Let’s use Google’s People Also Ask as an example. When I typed in SEO writing, these are the related questions that Google suggested:
I might choose “SEO writing checklist” as a potential topic or content add-on (which we’ll talk about next).
I can use these related topics and determine if they apply to my website, check to see if I already have content that answers these questions, and if not, create content to fill that gap.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to get ultra specific. Although short tail keywords get higher traffic, they’re often for broader audiences and exceptionally competitive. Using long tail key phrases can help you attract qualified traffic that’s closer to making a purchase.
For example, “best content writing agencies” will yield a far more targeted audience than “content writing.”
How to Write Content to Fill Content Gaps
You can fill your content gaps in a few different ways.
- Adding on to current content
- Writing brand-new content
- Adding other media types to your existing content
Let’s break these down:
Adding on to Current Content
If you already have content on your website that answers similar questions, you can add on to current content to “beef it up.”
Using the previous example of “SEO writing checklist,” I might determine that this topic isn’t quite as extensive enough to write an entire piece of content, and I could add this to my “SEO content writing” pillar as a subheading.
This way, I’d be filling that gap and beefing up already high-performing content on my website, making it even better.
Writing Brand New Content
If you discover a content gap that’s complex enough to have it’s own page, you can write in-depth content that addresses that user intent in detail.
For example, in a previous content gap analysis, I realized that although I’d mentioned contextual linking as part of an SEO content writing strategy, that I didn’t have any content that went into detail about that subject. So, I created a standalone article about it.
Adding Other Media Types to Your Existing Content
Having visuals is an excellent complement to your content marketing strategy.
In fact, a 2022 study revealed that 3 out of 4 people preferred to consume content in a visual format, and another study found that 46% of people say that 91-99% of the content they consume is visual.
That means that you can fill content gaps with media such as videos, motion graphics, or infographics. Google is pretty good about picking up these media types and determining what they’re about.
And the more useful, engaging content in each page on your website, the more search engines will deem your content helpful and relevant.
Comb through your content. Are there subsections in your articles that would be improved by a visual? If so, create them and attach them to your content.
Filling Content Gaps Tip: Create Content for Every Stage of the Sales Funnel
Here’s a tip if you’re brand new to the concept of content gaps:
Make sure you have content for every part of the sales funnel, from awareness to retention. If you’re not familiar with a basic sales funnel, there is a framework called AIDA which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
Remember: a content gap is the space between user intent and the results they receive. You want to make sure your content answers their questions at every stage.
Taking into account each stage of the AIDA framework:
What questions do your potential customers have when they’re first searching for businesses like yours?
What questions do they have when they hit the “interest” phase?
What are they searching for when they decide that what you offer is something they really, really want?
And what questions or concerns can you address when they’re on the verge of taking action?
Keep in mind that the AIDA framework is a very basic sales funnel. Don’t ignore your customers’ post-purchase. Make sure you have content for retaining your customers, too!
Content Gaps in SEO: Frequently Asked Questions
More questions about content gaps? Let’s go!
Should I Look at My Competitors When Conducting a Content Gap Analysis?
You absolutely should take a look at what your competitors are doing, but simply replicating another company’s content strategy won’t do anything for you.
FIlling content gaps doesn’t mean creating content just for the sake of creating content. Your content needs to have a purpose.
How can you go further into detail? How can your content prove more useful? How can you answer questions more thoroughly than the other guys?
How Long Does it Take to See SEO Results from Filling a Content Gap?
Time for everyone’s favorite answer: it depends!
There are a multitude of factors that go into how long it takes to see SEO results from filling a content gap. It depends on how much content you publish, the quality of the content, what your competitors are doing that might be more relevant to the same target audience, and how often search engines crawl your site.
But, the rule of thumb is that you should see some kind of movement between 30 and 60 days after publishing content that fills gaps.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Content Agency to Conduct a Content Gap Analysis?
The cost of hiring a content agency to conduct a content gap analysis for you will depend on several factors, including the size of your website, the depth of your current content, your target market, and your industry.
It’s important to note that while having a content agency conduct your conten gap analysis is an investment, it’s completely worth doing if you’re trying to strengthen your stake in the market.
Creating High Value Content to Fill Content Gaps
A content gap analysis is a multi-step process that takes both sides of your brain–the analytical and the creative. Having gaps in your content means missing out on leads, sales, and your share of search engine real estate.
Conducting a content gap analysis once per year (or more, depending on how fast your industry is growing and changing) can keep your business relevant in the eyes of search engines and consumers.