SEMRush Tutorial: How to Use the Keyword Gap Tool

Have you ever wondered where your site might be lacking content or what to prioritize next in your content calendar? Maybe you want to know where your competitors are outranking you? In this article, I’m going to go over what the Keyword Gap Tool is, how to use it with some real-world examples to immediately start brainstorming some meaningful content ideas.

By the end of this SEMRush tutorial, you’re going to have a stronger understanding of how to make the most of this tool to identify areas where you’re missing keywords or where you have some weak keywords that you could strengthen.

Overview of the Keyword Gap Tool

The Keyword Gap Tool is a great way for you to get a side by side comparison with how your site ranks to your nearest competitors.

In other words, it can be a great way for you to identify where you’re potentially weak or where you’re completely missing content opportunities. This is super important because if you’re ranking beyond page one on something that your competitor is ranking for, then you’re definitely going to want to rank for that term. On the other hand, If your competitor has something that’s giving them steady traffic that they’re ranking on the first page for, and you’ve never created content around that idea, it can be a good idea for you to create content to compete with them. Bottom line, the Keyword Gap Tool can be a great way for you to identify these opportunities.

I love the Keyword Gap Tool for a few reasons. One of the reasons is because it breaks down both organic and paid search terms that the different sites are ranking for. You’ll also be able to get a visual chart of the breakdown of where there’s keyword overlap with your competitors. And lastly, I love the Keyword Gap Tool because it allows me to immediately prioritize what is most important to me when it comes to competing with my competitors.

Now that we understand the Keyword Gap Tool, let’s jump into two real-world examples of how we might use the Keyword Gap Tool. In order to use the Keyword Gap Tool, we first need to hop into SEMRush.

How to Use the Keyword Gap Tool

Once you’ve logged in, navigate to the left sidebar and click keyword gap. As you can see here, I’m now in the Keyword Gap Tool. And for the sake of this example, I’m going to use a site that I referenced in a prior SEMRush tutorial, which is  known as girlswhostem.com.

So, the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to type in girlswhostem.com into who I am. As I select girlswhostem.com as my root domain, you’ll notice that SEMRush already identifies some sites that are very similar to mine. One of which is stemtoyexpert.com, which as we know in a past article is a major competitor of girlswhostem.com.

So from here, all we need to do is click the compare button and wait for the results. So, what you can see from these results is that there are ton of opportunities where we are either missing keyword placements or we’re just weak in general. So, one of the great things about SEMRush is that it immediately identifies these opportunities for you and compares you against your competitors.

So you can see here, for example, that girlswhostem.com is not placing well for long tail phrases, such as toys for two year olds, toys for two year olds, toys for two year old boys, toys for four year old boys. On the flip side of things, we’re just weak in things like Lego sets for girls, STEM toys, STEM toys for kids, STEM toys for toddlers and engineering twice.

So, the difference between the two is that when we are missing something, it means that we’re not placing at all. This is definitely a situation in which we will typically need to create original content to target these phrases. On the flip side of things, when we are just weak in something, that’s something in which the existing content we’ve created for Google to read is not good enough compared to our competitor.

So, this would be a good sign for you to audit your blog content and try to come up with more evergreen content that is more valuable than its current form. As I scroll down here, you’ll see that it provides me a breakdown in which I can actually filter by where we’ve shared keywords, what’s missing, what’s weak, what’s strong, what’s untapped, et cetera. And SEMRush is going to automatically filter all of this for me, but the real power of the SEMRush Keyword Gap Tool is not in the overall table. It’s actually in how you use their filters.

As you learned in my prior articles in SEMRush, it’s all about the filters and that’s where the magic comes in. And so, what we’re going to do is we’re going to apply some filters that are going to help us identify what the best opportunities are for us to prioritize after using the Keyword Gap Tool. If you’ve watched my prior SEMRush tutorials, you know that I love to look for terms that are less than 80 in keyword difficulty, one to 100 in search volume and word count of at least three or greater than three words.

In this situation with the Keyword Gap Tool, we don’t actually have a word count option in our filters, but that’s okay. I’m just going to apply the filters on the other things that we have here. So, I’m going to include keyword difficulty is less than 80. Apply that. And then, and I’m going to do 100 to a thousand in volume.

So here, you can see that these are some of the things in which we are missing altogether on our Girls Who STEM site. We are missing things such as best computer for coding, best microscope for kids, build your own computer kit. And obviously these are big opportunities for girlswhostem.com because the two sites are so similar to one another.

So, if I were the owner of girlswhostem.com, I’d immediately start thinking about creating content pieces around things like the best computer for coding or the best microscope for kids, just because we clearly are not doing a good enough job with our existing content. We can also use these filters when we look at where we’re weak and what we could improve upon when we’re doing our next blog audit.

So, let’s go ahead and take a look at that. As I click the weak section, you can see here that STEM Toy Expert is outranking us in all of these certain terms. However, to make it a little bit more concrete, what I’m going to do is I’m going to filter by the competitors position being in the top 10.

So, what this is going to do is it’s going to show me specific where stemtoyexpert.com is ranking on page one versus us. So, as I navigate through these results, you can see here that STEM Toy Expert ranks number three for robotic kits for teens whereas we ranked 24th. That means that we’re on page three. And this is a term that gets 590 searches every single month and it’s honestly not that hard to rank for.

So, if I were thinking about which content pieces should I revive or refresh in terms of content, I’m going to immediately be looking towards whatever I’m currently ranking for in robotics kits for teams. You’ll also notice that we’re stuck on page three, for terms such as building kits for teens. We ranked 21st here, whereas our competitor ranks number six. So, what’s important here? What’s important here is that we are quickly identifying where we have gaps in our content so that we can better prioritize our content revision calendar.

Just from using filters, we’ve been able to identify 33 different opportunities where we’re weak right now, and we could improve our content pieces. And, we’ve also been able to identify 53 keyword opportunities that we are just full on missing compared to our competitor.

In addition, we can look at where we’re actually strong. So, I can do that by clicking the strong tab. So when I do that, I’m going to see that we are strong for things such as STEM toys for girls. Great. Because that’s our domain name, STEM gifts for girls, engineering toys for girls, science toys for girls and building toys for girls.

So, if I were to guess, what’s happening here is that Google is prioritizing our site because we provide STEM toys for girls as the core topic of our overall site whereas STEM Toy Expert is probably covering more things in general about STEM toys for everybody and not just girls. So you can see here how the prioritization of the indexing by Google is favoring our site for the girls related topics but not so much for the other STEM related topics.

If the results vary, you’ll also want to check out your untapped section. This is going to identify all the phrases in which your competitors are ranking for that you are not. But in this situation, since we only have one competitor selected, we have the same number of tapped opportunities as we have missing opportunities.

Brainstorm and prioritize new content opportunities

Now that we understand where our content could improve, as well as where our content has gaps, we can start to think about which pieces to prioritize next in our content calendar.

For example, as I navigate back to the missing tab here, you can see that I could immediately start thinking about things such as creating a guide for the best computer kits for adults. And the reason why is because there are search terms such as science kits for adults that stemtoyexpert.com is ranking for that we are not ranking for.

When you’re brainstorming content ideas, it’s really important that you think about the who, what, where, when, why, and how questions that the people that are going to your site or going to be thinking about. For example, if we wanted to go after the long tail phrase of building kits for adults, we might come up with content pieces, like how to choose the best building kit for adults, or why buy a building kit for adults.

These could either be three separate blog posts, or it could be one evergreen piece of content that we’re looking to rank multiple long tail phrases for. Aside from creating new content, we can also look for those keywords where we were weak, that included things like STEM toys for two year olds and we can look at how it could beef up those content pieces to be a little bit more comparable to our competition.

Google favors fresh content over old content. So, by providing an update to an existing blog post, it can be a great way for you to revise some of the traffic that you were getting for that phrase in the past.

Aside from updating the body text, you can also improve your posts by including new interlinking opportunities. This is where you’re going to want to link three to four of your related pages on your website to each other. This’ll help Google understand that, you know a lot about this topic or niche, and also it’ll help keep your readers on your site for longer, which is a good indicator for Google. I plan to go over how to write an evergreen blog posts in a future article.

Big takeaways

There are two things I want you to remember from this article:

  1. Keyword Gap Tool really removes all the wonder behind where you’re competitors are outranking you when it comes to organic or paid search.
  2. It’s really important that you filter through the results that the Keyword Gap Tool identifies for you to look for your missing and your weak opportunities. This is what will help you prioritize what to focus on next in your content calendar.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. And also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might benefit from this SEMRush Keyword Gap Tool overview.

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