Simply put, it’s identifying what your competitors and other resources talk about that you don’t. It’s much more real-time and tactical than the typical “Who would you like to be?” and “How do we get there?” gap analysis used in general marketing-speak.
In writing about their own businesses, website owners sometimes miss what potential customers may be searching for unless they have audience personas and key terms research. Rarely have they ignored competitors, but even with that, we’ve found reasons why content gaps may exist:
What matters is what your customers feel is important, and if that content drives search traffic or not. That’s why gap analysis is a key place to start when planning content for your website and it involves a number of considerations:
We often have smaller clients tell us their competitors are large national firms. It’s a good reference for technical content, but we might take a “localized content” approach that allows us to perform better in the local market.
What do they talk about that you don’t and how do those subjects perform in search? It’s important not to spend a ton of time on content that won’t pull audience unless they are proof points to your larger story.
Are those things that you do? Can you do them? Should you? Don’t get in trouble talking about things you can’t support. “Let’s put some placeholder content in there”. Not our recommendation unless it is part of a pre-launch plan. Otherwise it could drive your Bounce Rate up as people leave, disappointed.
What do you talk about that they don’t? Do those things generate traffic? You might actually have something that’s a differentiator we should expand on.
How do we position your company against them, staying within the parameters of your business? (Hint: Go back to your Messaging Grid.)