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How to Use SEMrush for Keyword Gap Analysis

Keyword gap analyses are one of the most effective ways to identify new keywords to target with organic & paid search campaigns. Below, we'll walk through how you can use SEMrush for keyword gap analyses.

Keyword gap analyses are a surefire method for identifying new high quality keywords to target online. Even better, these are keywords that your competitors are using to capture traffic. That means that as you get more traffic, your competitors are getting less.

In this guide, we'll walk you through an SEMrush keyword gap analysis and show you how you can use it to steal traffic from your competitors.

Table of Contents

What Is a Keyword Gap Analysis?

A keyword gap analysis is an SEO best practice enabled by tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush that marketers use to identify search queries that their websites can target to capture more search traffic. Keyword gap analyses help you find the specific keywords where your competitors perform well, but you do not.

Why Is a Keyword Gap Analysis Valuable?

Keyword gap analyses are a particularly valuable form of keyword research. Unlike broader forms of keyword research, keyword gap analyses identify the specific keywords that work best for your competitors. You have a higher probability of success targeting keywords that already perform well for your competitors, rather than guessing new keywords that might be effective. In addition, getting more traffic from these keywords means your competitors are getting less.

How to Use SEMrush for Keyword Gap Analysis

SEMrush is one of the best search tools for keyword research. It's Keyword Gap tool is created specifically for keyword gap analyses. Follow the five steps below to increase your website's search traffic.

Find Your Competitors

SEMrush makes it easy to find your top online competitors. The Organic Research report shows you the 10,000 domains that you share the most search traffic with.

Look through this list for the 3-5 websites that you compete with most directly. In the next step, you'll compare your website to these competitors to identify your highest potential keywords.

SEMrush Organic Research

Find High Potential Keywords

Once you've identified your top competitors, enter their domains into SEMrush's Keyword Gap tool. Make sure to enter your competitors' domains first, and use the option to filter for keywords where your website does not rank.

SEMrush Keyword Gap Analysis Setup

Click the Go button, and SEMrush will generate a list of up to 10,000 keywords that your competitors use to drive traffic to their websites. The report also includes data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and cost-per-click (CPC) estimates.

SEMrush Keyword Gap Analysis Results

While SEMrush offers several filters, one of our favorite options is finding keywords where your competitors rank in the top 20 SERP results, but you don't.

SEMrush Keyword Gap Analysis Advanced Filters

The final step is to go through this list of keywords and select the ones you would like to target. Simply check the box next to your target keywords and export them to a CSV file or Excel spreadsheet.

Group Keywords into Topics

Once you've exported the keywords you would like to target to capture more search traffic, it's time to organize them into groups. This will help you find your biggest overall opportunities, and prioritize your work.

The groupings that you use should be tailored to your business. We recommend grouping keywords into specific product or service categories, by geography, or by subject matter.

Use Keywords in Your Website Content

Once you're keywords are organized into groups, you'll have a list of topics that you can begin targeting in online search. You can create new content to drive organic search traffic, or create paid search campaigns to capture paid search traffic.

To capture more organic search traffic, we recommend separating your groups into three categories. The first category below includes the keywords that will require the least effort to target.

  • Keyword groups where you already have a lot of content: For this category, focus on updating your existing content to more directly target your new keywords. This could mean changing content titles, section headers, or adding a new content section to existing articles.
  • Keyword groups where you have some content: To target your new keywords in this category, you should do a mix of updating your existing content and publishing brand new content.
  • Keyword groups where you have no existing content: To target keywords in this category, you'll need to create a whole new body of content on your website. This category will require the most effort to drive more traffic to your website, and should be prioritized last.

Measure Results Using Position Tracking

After you've done the work to target your new keywords, you'll want to monitor your progress. To do so, you can use SEMrush's Position Tracking tool. This tool allows you to upload the keywords you've started targeting, and monitor your SERP rankings over time.

SEMrush Position Tracking Report

If this is a new concept for you, read this an in-depth tutorial on keyword rank tracking. In general, you should expect it to take 4-6 weeks to begin seeing performance improvements in organic search.

Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit, a technology research firm that provides advice, information, and tools to help businesses thrive. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed Internet companies, and launching new businesses.