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How to Do a Content Gap Analysis [With Template]

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How to Do a Content Gap Analysis [With Template]

A content gap analysis is the process of finding topics your competitors have covered but you haven’t.

It helps you: 

  • Get more traffic to existing content 
  • Find the best new topics to cover 
  • Steal traffic from competitors 

In this guide, you’ll learn how to use our content gap analysis template to find and fill missing gaps in your content strategy. 

Make a copy of our content gap analysis template, then navigate to the Competitive Analysis tool in Ahrefs and check it’s set to “keywords.”

Next, enter your domain in the first field and 1-3 competing domains below. If you don’t know your top competitors, the tool will offer some suggestions automatically.

The Competitive Analysis tool will suggest competitors for youThe Competitive Analysis tool will suggest competitors for you

When you’ve added all your competitors, click the “Show keyword opportunities” button to see all the keywords your competitors rank for, but you don’t. 

The Content Gap report in Ahrefs' Competitive Analysis toolThe Content Gap report in Ahrefs' Competitive Analysis tool

Finally, switch the “main positions only” toggle to filter out rankings in alternative SERP features (like image packs, sitelinks, carousels, etc.). 

Filtering for main keyword positions onlyFiltering for main keyword positions only

Take a look at the number of keywords in the content gap report. 

Checking the number of keywords in the Content Gap reportChecking the number of keywords in the Content Gap report

If there are more than 100,000, you’ll need to refine the list. Otherwise, it’ll probably break the Google Sheets template.

To do that, start by excluding mentions of your competitor’s brand name(s) in the keyword filter. Consider misspellings or spaces added and set the filter to pick up “partial matches” to ensure it removes as many mentions as possible. 

Filtering out competitors' branded termsFiltering out competitors' branded terms

In the same filter, you can also exclude terms related to topics that are irrelevant to your website. 

Filtering out irrelevant termsFiltering out irrelevant terms

If you are checking multiple competitors, it may also be worth adjusting the competitors’ positions to display at least two sites ranking in the top 10. 

Filtering for keywords where at least two competitors rankFiltering for keywords where at least two competitors rank

You can also weed out super low-volume keywords by filtering for keywords with a monthly search volume of at least 20. 

Filtering out low-volume keywordsFiltering out low-volume keywords

Or, you can use the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to reveal low-hanging fruit by setting a maximum KD of 30. 

Filtering for low Keyword Difficulty (KD) keywordsFiltering for low Keyword Difficulty (KD) keywords

Once all your filters are applied, export the data to CSV. 

If you haven’t already, make a copy of our content gap analysis template. Then, import the data you downloaded from Ahrefs. To do this, navigate to the “Data” tab and click on cell A1. Then go to File > Import > Upload > Choose your Ahrefs data > Select “Append to current sheet.” 

How to import data into the templateHow to import data into the template

You can leave all other options untouched and proceed with importing the data. This may take a few moments depending on how large your keyword list is. 

Once your data’s imported, move to the “Results” tab. It should look something like this: 

The results of the content audit processThe results of the content audit process

In general, there are two common types of content gaps you’ll need to fill: domain-level and page-level. 

  • Domain-level gaps occur when competitors have content about topics you don’t. 
  • Page-level gaps occur when you and a competitor both have a page about the same topic, but they are ranking for more keywords than you are. In most cases, this happens because they have more in-depth content than you do. 

Here’s our process that will help you identify both types of gaps, starting with domain-level gaps and working your way down to specific page-level gaps. 

How to analyze content gap opportunitiesHow to analyze content gap opportunities

For example, our gap analysis report shows that Moz has a page listing the top 500 most popular websites. 

Example content gapExample content gap

It ranks for 120 keywords that our site doesn’t and gets 2,187 estimated monthly search visits from them. This seems like a great opportunity so far! 

However, if we press the + icon on the left of this row, we can see these 120 keywords listed out. At a quick glance, it looks like they aren’t very relevant to our business. 

Competitor keyword rankingsCompetitor keyword rankings

In this case, we move to the next page in the pivot table and repeat the process. 

Let’s assume that you see keywords relevant to your business for this one. The next step is to check to see if you already have an existing page about the topic using the “site:” operator in Google. 

Checking for existing page with a Google site: searchChecking for existing page with a Google site: search
  • If yes → you need to consider adding new sections to target common themes from the missing keywords. 
  • If not → you need to create a new page. 

For example, we already have a page on the topic of landing pages but are missing some keywords. 

If we dig a little deeper, we see that many relate to the definition of a landing page. 

Keywords relating to a definition, which should be added to the page to fill the content gapKeywords relating to a definition, which should be added to the page to fill the content gap

This tells us that we probably don’t define the term on our page, so we could probably close this gap just by adding that. That may help us to rank for these terms and get more traffic. 

As you do the content gap analysis, you will likely need to create a list of action items for new pages to create or existing pages to optimize. 

To get the most out of this process, it helps to create specific tasks in your project management tool (like Clickup or Asana) along with a content brief that includes the insights you’ve gathered as you do the page-by-page analysis. 

The brief can be simple and can look something like this: 

Example content briefExample content brief

I recommend adding a list of the suggested sections and keywords you think are worth including in either new pages or existing pages so that whoever creates the content is able to close the content gap you identified effectively. 

Final thoughts

Completing a content gap analysis is a critical strategic SEO task to help you or your clients catch up to competitors. The process is fairly methodical and easy to implement, even if you’re a beginner. 

It’s important that you go beyond simply exporting a list of missing keywords. By using our gap analysis template, you can better assess opportunities and assign the correct action item to close the gap. 

Got questions? Ping me on LinkedIn.

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

Google removed the Covid-era structured data associated with the Home Activities rich results that allowed online events to be surfaced in search since August 2020, publishing a mention of the removal in the search documentation changelog.

Home Activities Rich Results

The structured data for the Home Activities rich results allowed providers of online livestreams, pre-recorded events and online events to be findable in Google Search.

The original documentation has been completely removed from the Google Search Central webpages and now redirects to a changelog notation that explains that the Home Activity rich results is no longer available for display.

The original purpose was to allow people to discover things to do from home while in quarantine, particularly online classes and events. Google’s rich results surfaced details of how to watch, description of the activities and registration information.

Providers of online events were required to use Event or Video structured data. Publishers and businesses who have this kind of structured data should be aware that this kind of rich result is no longer surfaced but it’s not necessary to remove the structured data if it’s a burden, it’s not going to hurt anything to publish structured data that isn’t used for rich results.

The changelog for Google’s official documentation explains:

“Removing home activity documentation
What: Removed documentation on home activity structured data.

Why: The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

Read more about Google’s Home Activities rich results:

Google Announces Home Activities Rich Results

Read the Wayback Machine’s archive of Google’s original announcement from 2020:

Home activities

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Olga Strel

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Google’s Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

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Google's Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, Gary Illyes, Analyst at Google, revealed that the search engine takes a binary approach when assessing a website’s lastmod signal from sitemaps.

The revelation came as Illyes encouraged website owners to upgrade to WordPress 6.5, which now natively supports the lastmod element in sitemaps.

When Mark Williams-Cook asked if Google has a “reputation system” to gauge how much to trust a site’s reported lastmod dates, Illyes stated, “It’s binary: we either trust it or we don’t.”

No Shades Of Gray For Lastmod

The lastmod tag indicates the date of the most recent significant update to a webpage, helping search engines prioritize crawling and indexing.

Illyes’ response suggests Google doesn’t factor in a website’s history or gradually build trust in the lastmod values being reported.

Google either accepts the lastmod dates provided in a site’s sitemap as accurate, or it disregards them.

This binary approach reinforces the need to implement the lastmod tag correctly and only specify dates when making meaningful changes.

Illyes commends the WordPress developer community for their work on version 6.5, which automatically populates the lastmod field without extra configuration.

Accurate Lastmod Essential For Crawl Prioritization

While convenient for WordPress users, the native lastmod support is only beneficial if Google trusts you’re using it correctly.

Inaccurate lastmod tags could lead to Google ignoring the signal when scheduling crawls.

With Illyes confirming Google’s stance, it shows there’s no room for error when using this tag.

Why SEJ Cares

Understanding how Google acts on lastmod can help ensure Google displays new publish dates in search results when you update your content.

It’s an all-or-nothing situation – if the dates are deemed untrustworthy, the signal could be disregarded sitewide.

With the information revealed by Illyes, you can ensure your implementation follows best practices to the letter.


Featured Image: Danishch/Shutterstock

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

There’s one thing standing between you and several days of SEO, socializing, and Singaporean sunshine: your boss (and their Q4 budget 😅).

But don’t worry—we’ve got your back. Here are 5 arguments (and an example message) you can use to persuade your boss to send you to Ahrefs Evolve.

About Ahrefs Evolve

  • 2 days in sunny Singapore (Oct 24–25)
  • 500 digital marketing enthusiasts
  • 18 top speakers from around the world

Learn more and buy tickets.

SEO is changing at a breakneck pace. Between AI Overviews, Google’s rolling update schedule, their huge API leak, and all the documents released during their antitrust trial, it’s hard to keep up. What works in SEO today?

You could watch a YouTube video or two, maybe even attend an hour-long webinar. Or, much more effective: you could spend two full days learning from a panel of 18 international SEO experts, discussing your takeaways live with other attendees.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve speakers from around the world.

Our world-class speakers are tackling the hardest problems and best opportunities in SEO today. The talk agenda covers topics like:

  • Responding to AI Overviews: Amanda King will teach you how to respond to AI Overviews, Google Gemini, and other AI search functions.
  • Surviving (and thriving) Google’s algo updates: Lily Ray will talk through Google’s recent updates, and share data-driven recommendations for what’s working in search today.
  • Planning for the future of SEO: Bernard Huang will talk through the failures of AI content and the path to better results.

(And attendees will get video recordings of each session, so you can share the knowledge with your teammates too.)

View the full talk agenda here.

There’s no substitute for meeting with influencers, peers, and partners in real life. 

Conferences create serendipity: chance encounters and conversations that can have a huge positive impact on you and your business. By way of example, these are some of the real benefits that have come my way from attending conferences:

  • Conversations that lead to new customers for our business,
  • Invitations to speak at events,
  • New business partnerships and co-marketing opportunities, and
  • Meeting people that we went on to hire.

There’s a “halo” effect that lingers long after the event is over: the people you meet will remember you for longer, think more highly of you, and be more likely to help you out, should you ask.

(And let’s not forget: there’s a lot of information, particularly in SEO, that only gets shared in person.)

The “international” part of Evolve matters too. Evolve is a different crowd to your local run-of-the-mill conference. It’s a chance to meet with people from markets you wouldn’t normally meet—from Australia to Indonesia and beyond.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve attendees by home country.

If you’re an Ahrefs customer (thank you!), you’ll learn tons of tips, tricks and workflow improvements from attending Evolve. You’ll have opportunities to:

  • Attend talks from the Ahrefs team, showcasing advanced features and strategies that you can use in your own business.
  • Pick our brains at the Ahrefs booth, where we’ll offer informal 1:1 coaching sessions and previews of up-coming releases (like our new content optimization tool 🤫).
  • Join dedicated Ahrefs training workshops, hosted by the Ahrefs team and Ahrefs power users (tickets for these workshops will sold separately).

As a manager myself, there are two questions I need answered when approving expenses:

  • Is this a reasonable cost?
  • Will we see a return on this investment?

To answer those questions: early bird tickets for Evolve start at $570. For context, “super early bird” tickets for MozCon (another popular SEO conference) this year were almost twice as much: $999.

There’s a lot included in the ticket price too:

  • World-class international speakers,
  • 5-star hotel venue,
  • 5-star hotel food (two tea breaks with snacks & lunch),
  • Networking afterparty, and
  • Full talk recordings to later share with your team.

SEO is a crucial growth channel for most businesses. If you can improve your company’s SEO performance after attending Evolve (and we think you will), you’ll very easily see a positive return on the investment.

Traveling to tropical Singapore (and eating tons of satay) is great for you, but it’s also great for your team. Attending Evolve is a chance to break with routine, reignite your passion for marketing, and come back to your job reinvigorated.

This would be true for any international conference, but it goes double for Singapore. It’s a truly unique place: an ultra-safe, high-tech city that brings together dozens of different cultures.

1718123166 301 How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs1718123166 301 How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Little India in Singapore

You’ll discover different beliefs, working practices, and ways of business—and if you’re anything like me, come back a richer, wiser person for the experience.

If you’re nervous about pitching your boss on attending Evolve, remember: the worst that can happen is a polite “not this time”, and you’ll find yourself in the same position you are now.

So here goes: take this message template, tweak it to your liking, and send it to your boss over email or Slack… and I’ll see you in Singapore 😉

Email template

Hi [your boss’ name],

Our SEO tool provider, Ahrefs, is holding an SEO and digital marketing conference in Singapore in October. I’d like to attend, and I think it’s in the company’s interest:

  • The talks will help us respond to all the changes happening in SEO today. I’m particularly interested in the talks about AI and recent Google updates. 
  • I can network with my peers. I can discover what’s working at other companies, and explore opportunities for partnerships and co-marketing.
  • I can learn how we can use Ahrefs better across the organization.
  • I’ll come back reinvigorated with new ideas and motivation, and I can share my top takeaways and talk recordings with my team after the event.

Early bird tickets are $570. Given how important SEO is to the growth of our business, I think we’ll easily see a return from the spend.

Can we set up time to chat in more detail? Thanks!

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