How to use Semrush Keyword Gap Analysis to Find Winning Keywords

Finding the right keywords is always essential for your online business. However, the issue is not finding keywords but winnable keywords – Keywords that your site will surely rank 1st page on Google.

How about getting keyword ideas from your competitors?

Not all your competitors will have a prominent authority in Google’s eye, right?

That is why the Semrush Keyword Gap tool comes in handy. It helps you find missing, weak, and untapped (opportunistic) keywords easily.

In this complete guide to Semrush Keyword Gap Analysis, you will find out how to properly use it so that you will get new keyword ideas that can be ranked without extra effort.

What does Semrush Keyword Gap do?

Keyword Gap analysis can also be known as ‘Domain vs. Domain’ comparison. Essentially, the Keyword Gap of Semrush compare your domain versus competitors (up to five domains) and categorize keywords based on:

  1. Shared – Shared by you and competitors
  2. Missing – You missed those keywords but competitors websites are ranking for them
  3. Weak – You are weak but competitors are strong in Google rankings
  4. Strong – You are strong but competitors are ranking at lower than yours
  5. Untapped – New keywords you have not used before
  6. Unique – Unique keywords to your site that competiton do not use

How can Semrush help you?

If you are a blogger or a content marketer, basically, you have three options.

  1. Find new keywords – Best to horizonatally grow your organic traffic and diversify traffic profile of site.
  2. Optimize existing keywords – Best to increase keyword rankings and drive similar traffic.
  3. Find targeted, related keywords – Best to veritcally grow your niche organic traffic (i.e: become a prominent player in your space)

Finding new keywords is essentially hassle-free. Similarly optimizing already ranking keywords.

However, if you want to become a leader in your space and dominate over competitors, you need to rank for keywords your competition is ranking.

That is where Semrush’s Keyword Gap Analyzer helps you. It is practically impossible to tap into competitors’ organic keywords, find overlapping keywords, and filter untapped, easy-to-rank keywords.

But, Keyword Gap analytics makes it super easy. Here is how:

How to use Semrush Keyword Gap Analysis

First of all, you need to have a Semrush account. Keyword Gap Analysis is provided for every Semrush subscriber. But if you want to get access to more data, you should have a subscription.

Semrush pricing starts from $119.95/mo, and it provides well over forty tools for SEO, SMM, Content Marketing, Paid Advertising, and Competitive Analysis. Learn more in this review.

Sign up for Semrush free trial over here (value: $119.95) and go to the Semrush Keyword Gap section under the Competitive Research section of the SEO category.

semrush-keyword-gap-menu-link

#1: Setup

The first step is specifying your website and competitor sites. Semrush Keyword Gap allows analyze up to five domains. That means you can add up to four competitors.

semrush-keyword-gap-tool
Semrush Keyword Gap tool

The best part is Semrush already knows who your top competitors are, and it will be shown in the drop-down list.

semrush-keyword-gap-settings
Specify your domain, add competitors and select the keyword database

Since I want to compare keyword profits for SEO content writing not paid advertising, I selected ‘Organic Keywords’ as the keyword type. Semrush Keyword Gap tool allows comparing PPC and PLA (Product Listing Ads) keywords too.

Suppose you run a website that targets a specific country. You can select the keyword database from the drop-down menu, as shown in the screenshot above.

Once the setup is finished, click on the ‘Compare‘ button.

#2: Analysis report

You will see a complete domains comparison keyword report similar to below.

Change Database

Semrush lets you define from which Semrush database you want to compare keyword data. Currently, you have three customizable options.

keyword-gap-database-settings
  1. Country
  2. Device – Desktop and mobile. Desktop is selected by default.
  3. Date – Compare gaps in keyword profiles of websites at the current state of the Google search engine or in a previous date.

Top Opportunities for you

Semrush keyword Gap analysis lists top opportunities for you based on missing and weakly performing keywords.

top-opportunities-semrush-keyword-gap

Keyword Overlap

Get a clear picture of how big your site’s keyword profile (and performance) is against competitor sites. The Venn diagram below shows overlapping keywords among each domain.

keyword-overlap-semrush
Easily grasp how big a website is by looking at the Venn diagram among competing domains

Keyword details table

shared-keywords-semrush
The table shows key components like SERP ranking for corresponding domains, average monthly search volume, Google indexed search results and more

The comparison keywords table displays all the keywords that are common between your site and competitors.

  • Volume
  • KD%
  • CPC (USD)
  • Competitive density of advertisers
  • Total number of results in Google

The winner or the highest-ranking website is marked in green color.

Keyword’s details

Click the down arrow at the right side of the keyword to see more details.

keyword-details-semrush

The following pop-out window will list these details:

  1. Search Volume: Global search volme and search volume breakdown of top countries
  2. Trend, CPC, Keyword Difficulty and SERP features
  3. Question based keywords (Perfect to add them on a FAQ section of your content)
  4. Related keywords: Similar keywords. These are usually listed under ‘Related Searches’ in Google. Perfect to enrich your piece of content
  5. SERP Analysis: Top 10 results and their Page AS, Unique referring domains (backlinks), and ranking keywords

#3: Keyword Analysis

The next step is finding keyword improvement opportunities and new keyword ideas for your SEO content.

You need to work

Click on the ‘Weak,’ and you will be shown keywords that your site is doing poorly against competitors.

According to the Semrush Keyword Gap analysis, Pitiya.com ranks for six keywords, but it is performing badly.

Here are what you can do to minimize weak keywords:

  • Improve existing articles: If those keywords are already used prominently by yourself, give those pages a new update; add new images, change post introduction, edit meta title for higher CTR, enhance content with new sections and videos, etc.,
  • Engage in internal linking: Maybe the reason why you are doing poorly is that you’re not doing a good job at internal linking. Find relevant pages and link out the weakly performing page with the keyword phrase as the anchor text.
  • Produce new content: If you have not created a page that targeted the particular keyword, create a new piece of content with the help of Semrush SEO Content Template and Semrush SEO Writing Assistant.
  • Acquire backlinks: Backlinks are still a ranking factor. Give those keywords’ rankings a boost by getting quality links from authoritative sites.

You need new content

Under the ‘Missing’ tab, you will be given keywords that your site is missing, but competitors are using. Those are considered as new keyword opportunities.

How you can create outperforming content

Since you are going to create new content, you need to follow what your competitors have done and produce a better piece of content.

  • Research a bit more – Find related keywords with the Semrush Magic tool. Import them to a tool like WriterZen and calculate the KGR. KGR is the abbreviated version for Keyword Golden Ratio. Basically, it lists a selection of keywords based on the content scarcity on Google SERPs.
  • Build a content outliner – A good piece of the article contains multiple heading tags in hierarchical order, visuals, and unique content.
  • Write SEO-friendly content – Enrich content with semantically related keywords, break down paragraphs into one or two sentences, add visuals and create content with good grammar and high readability score.

Last but not least, get some link juice coming to a new post by linking from older posts and getting backlinks from external websites.

Find untapped keywords

These are new ‘opportunistic’ keywords that your competitors are using but you. As you see from the screenshot below, Semrush Domain Keyword Gap lists thousands of new keyword ideas for my next blog posts!

untapped-keywords-semrush
Finding not-used-by-you-but-competitors keywords

If you take a close look, you’d see that only one website is ranking for a certain keyword phrase. All other competitive websites do not rank at all.

But it does not mean all keywords are easy to rank. Here is how to find winning keyword opportunities:

Winnable keywords

In the keyword filter section, define these settings:

  1. KD: Easy (0 – 29%)
  2. Positions: Competitors in top 10

Logic: If your competitors are performing well (i.e., ranking among the top 10 results in Google) for a keyword with lower keyword difficulty, it means you have a better chance of ranking at the first page on Google too.

Easy-to-rank money keywords

Another very useful feature in Semrush Keyword Gap is the ability to find easy-to-rank money keywords.

In Advanced filters, set keywords to include words like ‘best,’ ‘under,’ ‘top,’ and ‘vs.’ Keywords with those words usually are buyer-intent keywords, and with Semrush Keyword Gap analysis, you can filter out highly competitive ones and get easy to rank ones.

URL vs URL

Semrush Keyword Gap is capable of comparing keyword profiles at the URL level. Here is an example of missing keywords of Pitiya’s article on Blogspot SEO versus its competitor.

You can use similar procedures as above to filter low competitive, easy-to-rank-fast keywords.

Useful Features of Keyword Gap Analysis

In my Semrush review, I shared key features of Semrush.com digital marketing platform as a whole. But, Keyword Gap Analysis is also offering several features that will be useful on many occasions. Here are some of them:

Export keywords

Suppose you have a Semrush subscription, and your writing team does not. Now you can export the keyword gap report as a spreadsheet.

export-keywords-semrush-keyword-gap

Keyword gap analysis for mobile SEO

The days are gone you could neglect mobile traffic. Nowadays, many Google search engine ranking factors are born upon mobile SEO.

Keyword Gap analysis in Semrush allows you to compared keyword performances in the mobile keywords database between domains.

Find paid keywords gaps

If you are running any kind of paid advertising campaign on Google, you need to watch competitors. If you are not, competitors will and take what you have with strategic keyword targeting.

With the help of the Semrush Keyword Gap tool, you can find keywords that competitors are running ads for but you are not. The best part is you can see region-specific missing keywords too!

Schedule Keyword Gap reports PDF

Last but not least, the Semrush Keyword Gap tool lets you not only export keyword report as a PDF once but also schedule them as well.

export-pdf-semrush-keyword-gap-report

If you purchase the Semrush Agency Growth kit, you can customize the Whitelabel Semrush reports.

Create Custom report

If you are an agency or manage clients, Custom Reports Constructor in Semrush is integrated with Keyword Gap analytics.

Here is a video tutorial that shows how to use the widgets menu in the My Reports tool in Semrush.

Final Words on using Semrush Keyword Gap Analysis

Competitor keywords research is one of my favorite ways of finding targeted keywords. Keywords used by competitors do not mean you cannot fight for them. Depending on your website’s content and niche capacity, you might have a small or a more significant number of competitors.

The key is being smart and strategic, improving existing content, and gradually horizontally improve keyword profile after vertically improving.

Not all competitors are similarly powerful in Google. Some may have overlapping keywords with your site but do not have strong domain and page authority scores.

That is where Semrush’s Keyword Gap tool shines in. It analyzes provided competitors’ keyword profiles against yours and lists keywords based on six criteria that a standard keyword research software does not.

On a related note, make sure you have set up Google Analytics so that you could see all the keywords that are ranking. Read this tutorial to find out how to uncover not provides and not set keywords.

So, what are your experiences of using Semrush Keyword Gap in your organic keyword research strategy?

Semrush keyword gap

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