While a lot of SEOs and webmasters spend the majority of their time worrying about building links and promoting their brand, it can be important to remember that all your SEO efforts will merely amplify – or be limited – by the content on your website.
A particular problem for well-promoted websites that struggle for search ranks is known as a content gap. This can mean the content on your pages is too short and shallow, or it might mean you don’t have enough pages. Either way, a content gap means you’re falling behind where the competition is at, and that can’t necessarily be overcome with even more external marketing. The only solution to a content gap is to close it with more content that intelligently identifies what’s missing.
Content & competition analysis
The first step, as always, involves research. When it comes to content analysis, the focus will be on identifying the following attributes of the top ranking sites:
- Number of indexed pages
- Type of content (text, photo, video)
- Length/duration of content
- Keywords and variations
Depending on how those figures turn up, the fixing a content gap might be a small job or a massive undertaking. What’s important though is to recognize exactly what it takes to get to the top spot in Google and committing to building a site that’s even bigger, better, and/or more authoritative.
Don’t be too intimidated by a massive competitor, though. Bigger isn’t always better. While having a large number of indexed pages is usually an indication of a highly regarded website, it is far from the whole story. A site that focuses on a smaller local market or a more specific niche within a broader topic can often outrank the websites that discuss more topics and themes.
Keyword research and focus
Covering all the topics and providing an authoritative source can be aided with keyword research. By understanding the questions and keyword combinations that people search for the most, we can help you build content that answers all the most common questions – and captures the most available traffic.
Build it taller
We’re also big believers in the “Skyscraper” SEO strategy. After identifying which pages have the best success and conversion rates, we can focus on bringing them to the top of the search results. Skyscraper SEO achieves this by building more and more content in to that singular page in a well organized way that comprehensively answers the users’ possible queries.
Content marketing means content first
And a content first approach means systematic and comprehensive identification of which pieces of content need to be produced. It also means regularly updating old content to prevent it from becoming outdated and stale.
Most importantly, though, putting content first means recognizing that the success of any marketing plan depends on the quality of the product. For SEO work, the product we’re marketing is your website, so our first order of business is making that website as great as it can be.
This philosophy, of course, doesn’t end with content. It also opens up the possibility for improvements in website design, loading times, accessibility, and organization. In the process of identifying and closing a content gap, we’ll also identify other areas for website improvement. Once the site itself is optimized, marketing it is a lot more effective! Don’t waste time trying to put the cart before the horse, and don’t waste time on SEOs that think they can skip these critical steps!