For businesses to remain competitive they need to clearly understand who their main competitors are in the terms of their main services and product offerings. More importantly, an organization needs to understand which competitive landscapes are most closely aligned with its own organization’s goals. These are often difficult realizations for any business as larger marketing budgets often overlap with their own business offerings. This frequently blurs the line between perceived and competitors. Hive Digital excels at joining this conversation with clients. Our competitive analysis identifies and drives digital strategies to focus on the best competitive landscapes, were increasing our client’s competitive visibility often leads to the most impactful gains for the client. This is generally when we start the conversation by asking:
- Are you trying to increase exposure?
- And/or are you trying to get more butts in the seat?
- And/or is it a simple increase in revenue by selling more of the products and services?
Real Competitors Make Impactful Results
To make the most industry reviews, we feel that it is important to have a list of direct competitors to research. Clean data often leads to a clean list of actions. It is easy to get lost in chasing after another organization’s flashy campaign just to realize later that it is not worth the hassle or expense. Especially if it does not accurately represent the main service offerings or promote business solutions. Business data is usually safeguarded by other organizations and third-party tools only offer snapshots of performance. We rarely gain visibility into actual performance metrics.
What is a Content Gap Analysis?
A content gap analysis is a process of finding content opportunities in our client’s existing content library by comparing their website against their competitors’ websites. The content gap analysis looks at service and/or product offerings, content that provides solutions to industry-related problems, and informational content to identify opportunities for our clients to improve their content pieces as they relate to our client’s target customer’s buyer’s journey. This often entails an expansion of their product or service offerings, better addressing the intent behind a user’s search query, and expanding the content on their site to better showcase their organization as the solution to their problem. The desired result from these reports is often an increase in relevant traffic, that improves the organization’s ability to reach their target audience and encourages their users towards the point of conversion.
How Do We Build A Competitor List?
Once the main business goals and services have been agreed upon, we go to the search results and look at the ranking companies and websites that have the most visible presence in the given industry. This usually entails a much deeper dive as we look at individual page types, keyword rankings, and various forms of media that competitors are implementing to gain organic visibility. Simply put, Hive Digital will analyze the visible companies and isolate a direct list of competitors in order to have a clean set of recommendations that will improve our client’s competitive position.
Let’s Dive Into the Content Gaps!
My favorite part of building a content gap analysis is right after we’ve chosen a solid list of competitors. We can now collect the data and clean it up. This is often a housekeeping phase where we clear out the noise so that we are only looking at ranking keywords that overlap with two or more websites in our list. This is when things get fun! Our process for data gathering usually begins with third-party tools. These platforms often have a robust keyword tracking database that we can use to develop these reports. The data contained within these databases allows us to look at the competitors’ keywords, there’s the landing page associated with that keyword, general traffic metrics, and then the likely intent of the landing page/search term.
Analyzing the Content Buckets
Once the data is cleaned up, we will group content based on who is ranking for the terms and prioritize by general traffic estimates. There are generally three groups of content that like to focus on when running these reports. They are:
- Striking distance keywords
- Keywords we need to defend
- Pure opportunity gaps
Striking Distance Keywords
One of the best content creation opportunities for a website is to develop a strategy that focuses on their striking distance keywords. These are relevant phrases where the client’s site already ranks in a position range from 26 to 50 and their direct competitors rank well on the first or second page. The term “striking distance” is often applied as the client’s site will have content and topic authority related to the target phrase. It is easier to improve ranking content than to ask for a new page in an effort to rank for a term where the site currently has zero visibility. The final result for this keyword bucket is a list of immediate action items for the client to act upon.
Keywords to Defend
The second grouping of keywords that we share is a list of phrases that our clients need to actively defend against their competition. Our client’s pages and ranking phrases fall in direct competition with the client’s competitors and if care is not taken to ensure that they stay fresh and valuable, then they run the chance of losing their ranking positions to the competition. It is important as we consider how fresh our content is and will continue to be as our competitors look to improve the content and take rankings away from us.
Pure Opportunity Gaps
The final keyword grouping consists of those terms where our client site does not rank and at least two of the competitors do. These are terms that represent a pure gap between our own clients and our competitors. This grouping of keywords or areas where our client site has zero content visibility represents an opportunity for a client to expand their own website. By building out content related to these phrases and meeting the intent behind the search queries, clients can better compete with their competitors by expanding their own topic coverage. The competitive gaps between our client site and our competitors often go beyond just the content we have link gaps where our competitors have backlinks pointing to their website that we do not. And there are a number of strategies that can come from these types of reports. For example, we can look at product offerings and services that our competitors have begun to specialize in and we can take that information to our client and present it as a potential opportunity for business expansion.
Competition Analysis Goes Beyond Keyword Visibility
A website’s ability to rank for keywords generally takes more effort than having a simple page speak to a specific term. There are a lot of instances where care needs to be taken and considerations need to be developed to drive the content creation behind a specific term. The Hive Digital team of consultants helps clients develop content by delivering a series of content briefs based on the keyword findings and the competitive content gap reports. These content briefs specifically look at a single keyword set and examine the ranking landscape to determine what type of content is needed, the assets that are required for the page, and we work with a client to develop a strategy to align with the buyer’s journey to the site. Ultimately our goal is to help the client create a more robust network of content that encourages users to visit the site learn more about the brand and move one step closer to the point of conversion. If you would like to learn more about the content gap analysis and what Hive Digital can offer your organization please reach out to us and set up a free audit of your website today!