Search Engine Optimization gap analysis tells us two things (1) where you are and (2) what you need to get where you want to be. So how can you find out which terms are loaded and ready to pounce on a niche at a moments notice or which keywords will climb their way slowly but surely to the top?, by analyzing the gap.
One example is, our site has never targeted the phrase SEO Firm, however, since we have a highly visible presence for many other phrases that pertain to related synonyms (SEO, Services, Company) “the right stuff in the gap” so to speak, the relationship developed through context and word stemming already had this phrase waiting in the rafters as a ghost ranking ready to take form with minimal effort.
Through gap analysis, you can also find keyword and key phrase sleepers in your site that have all of the right algorithmic ratios, but have been overlooked as valid candidates for multiple top 10 rankings. Leverage and continuity are the basis of creating a solid theme for your content. More can be found about this from Bill Slawski as he elaborates on SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).
By combining gap analysis and SWOT analysis you can fill in the gaps for users and search engines by giving each something to sink their teeth into. Think of it as pure potential and raw energy, by viewing each page in your site as a passage that creates a path to the most relevant knowledge about a topic on your site. Once the lawyering begins, it is cumulative and systemic and rankings are produced through the alignment process.
If your site is about everything “like wikipedia”, then you have your hands full and will require a “folksonomy” (group consensus) to gain full advantage of this tactic, but for most having the time to write a few million pages and get a few million links to those pages is not feasible, so what is the alternative?
Know what you need to succeed:
Assessing the competition, the content and links they have and thinking beyond the plateau they reside on is the first step. For some site your need 10 pages or 100 links, for others you need a few links and refinements to content to “bridge the gap” and toggle search engine respect.
Scaling your content or your goals to embrace where you are at is one solution, however, the gap is all about understanding the relationships of context and continuity for your on page content and off page reputation.
Finding the right on page keyword density, getting the proximity of the keywords and semantic flow for your content is important. To create the perfect landing page you need to consider two things (1) is it relevant to the theme of the site and (2) is there enough information to gain the support of the search engines (at least for indexing and layering).
Through adding multiple layers about a topic, creating a theme and silo (topic and deep supporting content vertically aligned in a sub folder) you send a very clear signal to search engines regarding the content in your site and those pages. Do this often enough and if the links start generating their own links as a result of being a great resource, sites such as these are formidable to surpass in search engines (try to outrank wikipedia, it can be done, but with laser-like precision and site equity leveraging your pages strategically).
As a result, being where you are at or more specifically ranking for terms on your pages combined with the reputation they have garnered from inbound links from other sites can put you in the ball park for a high ranking site or page in the search engine result pages.
Only biting off what you can chew and targeting keywords and phrases within your grasp are one sure-fire method to add equity to your content while laying the foundation for rankings that reside higher up the food chain. The concept of layering is the culmination or dozens of pages of content combined with hundreds or thousands of strategic links.
In closing, here are a few great tools you can use for gap analysis to determine which pages you have in your site that already have equity, volume and enough on page finesse to appear as an authority site for a range of semantically aligned keywords.
If you have enough equity in keyword content on your pages, then you will only need a few links pointed at the right place to see results, if you have a high allinanchor ranking for the keyword, but not enough allintext (on page content) then you will need to build up more related content with those main keywords on the page.
On the contrary, if you have a high allintitle ratio such as using naming conventions or title tags in abundance for a tighten woven group of keywords (like in a shopping cart with thousands of pages) then you may need to build links to the main product folder to give those pages enough internal link weight to rise in the rankings.
In conclusion, determining where you are in the gap (the benchmark for your keywords and search engine position) is summarized by the threshold of the competition, the requirements of the algorithm and its assessment of quality and what your pages have to offer.