Walkthrough: How To Do Content Gap Research With Ahrefs
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Walkthrough: How To Do Content Gap Research With Ahrefs

When it comes to SEO, do you know what
keywords your competitors are indexing for that you aren’t? There’s a website
that does! I’m Olivia with Whole Whale and today we’re going to do a
walk-through of the content gap feature on Ahrefs. Okay, but what is Ahrefs,
apart from a mouthful to say? It is a data-driven SEO tool that allows you
to track things like backlinks, organic traffic, indexing keywords, and non-
indexing keywords. You can sample it for seven days for seven dollars and from
there the fees start at ninety-nine dollars a month for a subscription, and
in the seven day trial one of the first things you should play around with is
the content gap. This is a tool that tells you what keywords other websites
index for that your site does not—you can try this against competitors, you can
try it against sites that you’re interested in being more like, you can
even try it against wholewhale.com and see what happens…
So once we’ve logged into Ahrefs we can enter in any domain in the upper
search bar, let’s go with Whole Whale, and once we get onto the overview page we
can go into the left-hand menu and click on content gap. We’ll see that our website
wholewhale.com has already populated at the bottom, and then we can add any
number of websites up top that we want to check against for keyword gaps. So
let’s enter in ssir.org which is the Stanford Social Innovation Review, a
Whole Whale client and one of our favorite publications when it comes to
the social impact space. And we can click ‘show keywords’ here to
get a sense of how we stack up against one another. Now by default this list
will focus on the United States, it will give us a sense and sort automatically
by volume (the monthly search volume of any given keyword). It will also look at
the difficulty, which is how hard it would be to break into the top 10 Google
search results for a keyword. And then we can also sort by cost per click, which is
an estimate of how much it would cost to rank for that given keyword, and get
clickthroughs on it. We also get a sense of how these keywords look in search
engine results pages and we can also see the highest position that ssir.org
has achieved for each of these keywords, as well as how they look in Search
Indexing, because of course it is way more than just landing in the top 10
search results. We can also change the sorting—so for instance I’ve just
clicked on the volume to sort from the lowest number of searches per month up
to the highest, if we want to get a sense of what some of the dark horses
are in this in this competitive keyword gap. And we can export, but
exporting will only give you the first 50 line so you want to make sure that
you’re probably getting the more valuable keywords.
We can export this for Excel, Open Office, (we generally just default to Excel) and
the reason that we focus on one website at a time is because since we only get
50 keywords it’s very easy for any number of websites to compete against
one another and still only get really data for one website. So generally we
tend to look at it one at a time, but for instance let’s look at how the nonprofit
Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy in conjunction with SSIR stack up
against Whole Whale just so you can sort of see how we would do this with more
than one website at a time. Once the keywords have sorted here
for instance, we see that there actually is a fairly good balance between the
Chronicle of Philanthropy and SSIR but Nonprofit Times is getting a little
lost in the mix here. We’re also starting to see more branded keywords come in so
these are obviously less important for us as Whole Whale to rank for. We may
also see keywords like ‘wicked problems’ up here, which you know being a New
England native I should have a soft spot for that, but probably in terms of Whole
Whale’s overall content strategy not important. Once again we click export, and
we can start that export and then open it up we like to open it up in Google
Drive, so that we can share these sheets internally as a team. So we’ll just open
that and then open with Google sheets and once you export these CSVs from
Ahrefs.com you’ll see that they give you the keyword, volume description, keyword
difficulty, cost per click, and whether you’re using one or multiple
domains they’ll give you that domain so you can track. We like to delete the
ranking column right away, and then also under data sort enable the first row for
sorting so that we can sort by difficulty, if we want,we could also sort
by cost per click, volume, or even if we have multiple domains sort by those
rankings as well just to see what some of the top keywords are for, say, SSIR,
the Chronicle Philanthropy, and the Nonprofit Times. We can also go through
and start to delete some of the keywords that we don’t find as relevant for us,
and then we could take these keywords and what we like to do actually is enter
them into a keyword tool on Moz to get a deeper sense of what to
prioritize first. And then comes the million dollar question: what do we do
with all of these insights? The big picture with Ahrefs is to take a look
at the keywords and start to make prioritization. You may look at some of
these keywords and say, “But wait a second we have a page that is written around
this exact keyword, what gives? Why aren’t we indexing for it?” That’s a good chance
to go back to the content you already have and see how you can optimize it
against best practices of writing for the robots of Google while engaging the
humans using Google. You can also start to prioritize new content pieces around
keywords that you have no content for and should be considering. And then there
going to be some keywords, like branded keywords or keywords for a topic
completely tangential to what you cover, that you can just ignore. These are just
prescriptive data-driven suggestions coming out from a very robotic function
on a website, these are not the do-these 10-articles-and-you-will-start-to-reach-
SEO-nirvana. This is just information that we take weekly insights from the
information, we learn and act and we measure from there. I’m Olivia with Whole
Whale, and if you want to take your SEO game one step deeper we have a full
course for that. You can check it out at wholewhale.com/university. It’s hosted by myself and our Chief Whaler George Weiner, we
may even have a cameo from our french bulldog Turtle in there, and you can
access it at a special discount using the code: WWVIDEO. Be sure to comment
below to let us know what other functions of Ahrefs you want us to
cover next, and if you like this video give it a thumbs up, help us with our own
YouTube SEO!

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