Tag: digital strategy

How to identify gaps within your content

screenshot of ahrefs site explorer tool

Content gap analysis (CGA) should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. Why? It’s useful for spotting potential topics, keywords or even article layouts and headings that your content may be missing. This will help you to provide more useful content for your website visitors, as well as helping you get ahead of the competition.

In this article, we’re going to be delving deeper into the world of content gap analysis, so you can use it to your advantage.

What is content gap analysis in SEO?

Content gap analysis does exactly what it says on the tin. This content marketing strategy involves comparing your content to similar well-performing articles or landing pages and analysing what’s missing. This is also a key component of competitor analysis (we discuss this in more detail here).

There are a whole host of tools you can use to carry out a content gap analysis, but one of the simplest ways to look at the pages that are ranking on the first page of Google’s SERPs. You can compare factors such as:

  • Content length
  • Visuals
  • Headings
  • Topics
  • Structured data
  • Content detail

This technique also requires some self-reflection to help you see whether your content is really the best it can be.

The benefits

In terms of SEO, there are many ways you can benefit from conducting a content gap analysis. However, it’s essential to remember that you’re always creating content for an end-user as well as a search engine. So providing more useful information on a topic will help to improve your user experience too.

CGA can also offer the following benefits:

  • Improving SERP rankings
  • Increase conversions
  • Identify less-competitive niches to target
  • Gain a competitive advantage

Common content gaps to look out for

Content gaps can vary between industries, but there are some key areas where people fall short. This includes the following…

Outdated content

If your content is old or outdated, this could be harming your rankings. In general, it’s good practice to refresh and update your content every so often to ensure it’s still relevant.

Content detail

Does your content effectively answer all of your website visitors’ questions? If the answer is no, it’s likely that your web page isn’t detailed enough. Fortunately, keyword research and a CGA can help you to identify topics to include to make your landing pages and blog posts more detailed.

Usability

Usability and UX are both key factors to consider when comparing content to competitors. Users rarely want to see a large block of text on a web page. Therefore, it’s vital to make sure your content is user-friendly and easy to read to improve your chances of SEO success.

This also ties in with Google’s page experience algorithm update. Sites that don’t provide a positive page experience will not rank as well as those that do.

What is the best strategy for content gap analysis?

In reality, there’s no one set way to conduct a content gap analysis. However, there are some key areas you should cover to ensure your analysis hits all bases.

Analyse the buyer journey

Looking at your buyer journey can actually help you to create demand for your product or service. The buyer journey typically involves three stages:

  • Awareness – Potential consumer has a problem but is unsure of what it’s called
  • Consideration – Potential customer has found the name of their problem and is now researching solutions
  • Purchase – Potential customer has found the solution to their problem and is now looking for the best available option

You can now create content to target people in different phases of the buyer journey. For example:

  • Awareness content – Informative and solves problems e.g. how-to’s and guides
  • Consideration content – Persuasive and authoritative e.g. whitepapers and reports
  • Purchase content – Personalised and high-value e.g. customer stories, reviews, demonstrations and free trials

Keyword research

The keyword research process will provide invaluable insights into your content. It will help you to identify terms users are searching to find products or services like yours. Once you’ve found a selection of relevant, long-tailed and short-tailed keywords, this will form the basis of your content marketing strategy.

With tools like Ahrefs, you can also find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for with the Site Explorer tool.

Review your existing content

It might sound simple, but one of the best ways to identify content gaps is taking a critical look at your own website content. You’ll need to ask yourself:

  • Does the page/copy answer all of your potential customer’s questions?
  • Is it too long/short?
  • Does your content align with the customer journey?
  • Are there any topics you haven’t covered yet? (Your keyword research will help you with this)

By taking a deep dive into your own content, you’ll easily be able to spot areas for improvement and create a priority list. Start with the least SEO-friendly pages first to see the biggest impact.

Review competitor content

Analysing competitor content can help you improve your copy significantly. It’s also an essential part of a successful content marketing strategy. There are many different ways to do this too. This includes:

  • Looking at competitors that are ranking higher than you in the SERPs
  • Using tools like Screaming Frog and Buzzsumo to get a full list of your competitor’s website pages
  • Look at your main competitors’ website structure – are there any service or category pages that your site is missing?
  • Review competitors’ blog post content to see if there are topics you have missed or you can improve on

You’ll need to sift through your competitors’ content to find the most valuable and relevant pages. It’s important to remember that copying other peoples’ content directly can negatively impact your search engine rankings. Therefore, it’s best to take inspiration and improve on your competitors’ content to protect your site’s SEO. Take a look at our guide on this here.

Content gap analysis tools, tips & tricks to use

There are countless SEO tools out there for you to use for your content gap analysis. This includes a combination of free and paid-for tools that you can use to streamline this process.

Ahrefs Content Gap tool

The Ahrefs Content Gap feature eliminates all the hard work when it comes to analysing competitors’ keywords. The tool allows you to enter the URLs of your competitors, as well as your own, and it will tell you which keywords they are targeting and ranking for and you’re not.

screenshot of ahrefs site explorer tool

Seobility’s TF*IDF tool

You can use the TF*IDF tool to find out which keywords most websites use to describe a particular topic. You can then use this information:

  • For competitor analysis
  • To find out common keywords used in your sector
  • To optimise website content
  • To find ideas for new content

screeenshot of the seobility tf idf tool

Whilst you only get 3 free searches per day, this can provide an in-depth insight into the keywords you may have missed and can use to improve your website copy.

How the Candidsky team can help

Confused by the concept of a content gap analysis? Don’t worry, leave the hard work to us! Here at CandidSky, our content marketing strategists will work closely with you to create a bespoke SEO campaign that generates valuable, targeted traffic to your site.

Get in touch with a member of our team today to get started.

Why you should pay attention to Core Web Vitals

screenshot of google pagespeed insights results for the url google.com

Core Web Vitals have been a recurring topic of conversation ever since Google announced that they would be used as ranking signals in 2020.

Essentially, Core Web Vitals give Google an idea of how user-friendly your website is. These are used alongside ranking factors like mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS and intrusive interstitials to assess your website’s page experience. So the better your UX, the better your website will rank.

Of course, other SEO ranking factors such as original content, BERT, backlinks and more will play a significant part in your website’s SERP rankings.

However, Google’s page experience algorithm update will start rolling out in June. So now’s the time to ensure your Core Web Vitals are fully optimised so your rankings and traffic aren’t negatively affected.

Core Web Vitals explained

There are three main components of Core Web Vitals. This includes:

  • Largest Contentful Paint
  • First Input Delay
  • Cumulative Layout Shift

Google has stated that it’s likely that these will evolve over time and will be changed or added to in the future. Currently, however, you’ll only need to get to know these three core concepts to improve your page experience.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP is concerned with loading performance. Specifically, it measures how long it takes for a pages’ main content to load.

It’s recommended that LCP should load in 2.5 seconds or faster. So if your LCP value is slower than this, you should implement measures to speed up your website before the algorithm update rolls out.

Optimising LCP

There are many different ways you can improve your Largest Contentful Paint speed. This includes:

  • Optimising website images
  • Optimising CSS
  • Optimising web fonts

It’s likely that you’ll need some web development experience to take on these tasks yourself. Alternatively, you can enlist the help of a web developer to improve your LCP score.

First Input Delay (FID)

First Input Delay is a measure of a page’s interactivity and load responsiveness. Google suggests that an FID score of 100ms or less is needed to provide a positive page experience.

Optimising FID

Optimising First Input Delay can involve many different tasks. This includes:

  • Using a web worker
  • Reducing JavaScript execution time
  • Breaking up long tasks
  • Optimising pages for interaction readiness

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS measures how visually stable your website is. Frequent layout shifts and element changes can have a negative impact on your UX. So it’s important to make sure your website is as stable as possible to provide the best possible page experience. Google recommends that a ‘good’ CLS score is 0.1 or less.

Optimising CLS

To improve your CLS score, you can:

  • Include dimensions on images and videos
  • Reserve space for ad slots
  • Reserve space for embeds and iFrames

Where to find your Core Web Vitals report

Google offers a range of tools to help you monitor your Core Web Vitals over time. This will help you to stay on top of your page experience and adequately prepare for the algorithm update. These tools include the following…

PageSpeed Insights

screenshot of google pagespeed insights results for the url google.com

Chrome UX Report

 

screenshot of google chrome ux report for first contentful paint for the url developers.google.com

Source: Google

Search Console

screenshot of core web vitals report in google search console

Chrome DevTools

screenshot of core web vitals report in google developer tools

Lighthouse

screenshot of core web vitals in the google lighthouse tool

Web Vitals Extension

Screenshot of Google core web vitals chrome extension

How often should you carry out Core Web Vitals checks?

Regular Core Web Vitals checks should be a core component of your SEO strategy. This will help you to better serve your website users, as well as improve your SEO.

Working closely with your SEO agency will also help you to highlight any underlying page experience issues from early on.

How important are Core Web Vitals for SEO?

It’s important to remember that there are over 200 ranking factors and Core Web Vitals are a component of the overall user experience ranking factor. As such, improving them will play a part in your website’s SERP rankings, but may not have a major impact. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them completely.

Core Web Vitals are concerned with improving UX. This can provide a wealth of benefits for your business, as well as your SEO. This includes:

  • Improving website conversions
  • Creating trust and credibility
  • Increasing engagement
  • Decreasing bounce rate
  • Saving money and time

As a result, it’s always a good idea to keep Core Web Vitals at the forefront of your mind when implementing any website changes.

How can we help?

Here at CandidSky, we conduct technical health checks on a monthly basis. These focus on Core Web Vitals, as well as other technical SEO factors to ensure your website is structurally sound at all times.

We take a holistic approach to SEO and can assist in creating a campaign strategy that best suits your business. Get in touch with a member of our team today to get started!

6 must-know SEO techniques for 2021

printed letters spelling out SEO on a white background

The world of SEO is ever-changing and evolving. That’s why it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest SEO practices, ranking factors, algorithm updates and more to ensure your website’s SEO is the strongest it can possibly be.

To help, we’ve put together this handy article to help you get to grips with the most important SEO concepts for 2021. This includes everything from Google’s E-A-T to machine learning and automation.

User experience

User experience has always been an important aspect of SEO, however, there’s been a bigger focus on UX this year as this is when Google’s page experience algorithm begins to roll out.

In 2020, Google announced that their page experience ranking signals will include Core Web Vitals. These are quantitative measures that assess website stability, interactivity, speed and more. This includes:

  • Large Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Delay (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Fortunately, there are many different tools you can use to monitor your Core Web Vitals and keep on top of your user experience. This includes Google Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, the Core Web Vitals Chrome extension and more.

We’ve also put together an in-depth article on Google’s page experience algorithm update to help you prepare for the change.

Mobile-friendliness

Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your website for ranking and indexing. Therefore, it’s essential that your mobile website is fully optimised in 2021 and beyond.

Mobile SEO encompasses many different tasks. However, there are key practices you should follow to ensure your mobile site is as strong as your desktop site.

1. Make sure your website content is the same on mobile and desktop

In many cases, your mobile site will show a responsive version of your desktop site and the content will be identical. However, if you use separate sites on desktop and mobile you’ll need to make sure all the content is exactly the same to improve mobile SEO.

2. Check structured data

You should also ensure that any structured data is present on both versions of your website and that they use the correct mobile URLs.

3. Monitor visual content

It’s important to optimise the images and videos on your mobile site to improve mobile SEO and overall user experience. As a result, images and videos should:

  • Be of a high-quality
  • Be a decent size (not too big or too small)
  • Have the same alt-text as the desktop site
  • Use a supported file format

4. Make sure that Googlebot can access your content

Your mobile site won’t rank well if Google can’t crawl its content. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure you aren’t blocking any mobile URLs and check your lazy-loaded content can be ‘seen’ by Googlebot to improve your mobile SEO.

5. Use the same metadata on mobile

You should ensure your mobile and desktop metadata is identical to improve SEO.

6. Check ad placements

Obstructive ads can negatively impact SEO because they affect the user experience. Therefore, you should make sure there is enough space for ads on your mobile site to avoid harming your mobile UX.

Machine learning

Machine learning is a core component of many search engines ranking factors. But what does this entail?

Essentially, it means that search engines are constantly responding to countless data inputs to improve answers to search queries. In theory, this means that SERPs will increase in accuracy and relevancy over time.

Google uses a machine-learning tool called RankBrain to identify search intent and provide the most valuable results for search engine users. However, machine learning can also help with other aspects of SEO and make digital marketers lives easier. Machine learning can help SEOs with tasks such as:

  • Content creation
  • SEO campaign reporting
  • Link-building and outreach
  • SEO audits

E-A-T

E-A-T is an acronym outlined by Google for some of the most important aspects of a web page. It stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

But what does this mean for SEO? E-A-T is geared towards search queries like:

  • How to improve my credit score?
  • How much aspirin should I take for a headache?
  • How to take care of a puppy

This is because the answers to these queries should be provided by knowledgeable experts in the relevant fields, rather than sites with the best SEO. If not, the results could have serious, and potentially life-threatening, consequences.

In 2021, and beyond, it’s important to incorporate E-A-T in niches such as the legal, financial and medical fields. This includes incorporating semantic terms to provide context, linking to authoritative sources, providing useful up-to-date information and more. This will help you to make your website more SEO-friendly, whilst providing information that’s relevant and accurate for search engine users.

Search intent

Machine learning is helping search engines get ‘smarter.’ This means that they’re providing more accurate and relevant results as time goes on.

One of the ways search engines algorithms determine which results are most relevant to a particular query is by analysing search intent. This involves analysing semantic terms to better understand the context of a web page.

As a result, it’s important to keep search intent and semantic search at the forefront of your mind when creating website content in 2021. You can also utilise structured data and create content that answers search engine users’ specific questions.

Competitor analysis

Competitor analysis should always be a core component of your SEO strategy. Looking at your top-ranking competitors’ backlinks, content, UX and more can help you to understand what you need to do to improve your website and rankings.

Competitor backlink analysis

Looking at your competitor’s backlinks will help you to see if your off-page SEO requires some extra attention. For example, if your competitors have 100+ backlinks and rank on the first page and you have 20 and rank lower, this could be harming your website’s SEO.

It’s also important to consider the quality and relevancy of your competitor’s backlinks. Ask yourself:

  • Are they spammy?
  • Are they related to the website topic?
  • Are they safe?

Quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to link-building. So it’s important to take all of these factors into account when carrying out competitor backlink analysis.

Competitor content analysis

Looking at your competitors’ content can also help you to improve your own. When analysing competitor content it’s important to consider:

  • Content gaps – Do competitors mention any topics that you currently aren’t talking about?
  • Content quality – Is it written well?
  • Keywords – Have they included semantic keywords that you haven’t considered?

Ideally, you’ll want your website’s content to exceed the standard of your competitors. However, this can provide a basis to make your content more relevant and make improvements where needed.

Why is this important?

Competitor analysis in SEO is all about share of voice. Looking at your share of voice will help you to see how popular your brand is compared to competitors. As a result, consistently improving your website in line with industry standards will help you to grow your share of voice and remain competitive.

Need a helping hand with SEO?

We can help you stay up to date with the best SEO practices. Our team of SEO experts can assist with everything from technical SEO to content marketing, so your website and rankings remain as strong as possible.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with a member of our team today.

The “Brand purpose” bandwagon – what is it, and should your business jump on it?


As businesses strive to engage with customers in more meaningful and impactful ways, the past few years have seen an increase in brands focusing on “brand purpose.” As an area of marketing strategy designed to grow a brand, its aim is usually to appeal to an audience who believe a company should stand for more than just its products or services.

What is brand purpose?

In simple terms, brand purpose, or “purpose-driven marketing”, is a way for a business to form a relationship with a target audience based on their shared needs and interests – including supporting a worthy cause.

This is not as simple as brands getting behind a cause they think their audience are interested in, but demonstrating how the company’s values and beliefs are also aligned with those causes.

Successful examples of this could be anything from flat-pack giant IKEA’s commitment to more sustainable product packaging by 2020, to outdoor clothing brand Patagonia donating 1% of sales revenue to the preservation and restoration of natural environments.

Why would a brand adopt a purpose?

So why would brands go down this route? Is the the pool of passive consumers dwindling? Can greater brand loyalty be achieved through aligning marketing messages with a particular set of values? What are the benefits for brands focusing on promoting brand purpose as part of their marketing strategy, you might ask?

One key benefit is to grow the brand’s reach to a new audience who may not have heard of, or wanted to buy from, that particular brand previously. If a brand is strongly supporting a cause the consumer also feels passionately about, there is potential to build a strong relationship with that audience.

When is adopting a brand purpose the right strategy?

Brand purpose initiatives have the potential to tap into new audiences, increase brand loyalty and increase customer retention amongst existing audiences.

So how can you tell if launching a brand purpose initiative is the right way for your business to go – and if the timing is right?

Here is what you need to ask yourself:

  1. What objectives does this marketing strategy need to achieve based on your market offering and target audience?
  2. How does the strategy coherently direct your resource in order to achieve these objectives?
  3. What are the tactics needed to successfully execute this?

Many businesses have successfully identified and implemented the above three steps. For example, The Body Shop’s brand purpose was to commit to ‘enriching its people, products and the planet’.

They did so by setting clear, measurable objectives:

  1. Help 40,000 economically vulnerable people access work around the world.
  2. Ensure 100 percent of their natural ingredients are traceable and sustainably sourced, protecting 10,000 hectares of forest and other habitat.
  3. Build bio-bridges, protecting and regenerating 75 million square meters of habitat helping communities to live more sustainably.

What success looks like

In the case of The Body Shop, they don’t commit to achieving too many objectives, but the ones they have are clearly aligned to their customers’ perception of the company and products.

The Body Shop communicates this to its supporters on a daily basis, pushing messages out via mobile and updating till points with the latest fundraising targets. As head of global campaigns at The Body Shop, Jessie Macneil-Brown, says, their brand purpose efforts make it “clear and quantifiable to consumers how each campaign is driving social change.”

However, as with most marketing strategy, the end goal is typically focused on growing revenue -it’s why more and more brands are exploring this avenue of marketing strategy. For The Body Shop, the return to the company’s activist roots was (at least partially) commercially motivated, coming off the back of a slump in sales. And the key to brand purpose success is to ensure the alignment with a cause doesn’t come off as a blatant money-grabbing exercise.

Unfortunately, for every brand purpose marketing campaign that gets this part right, there have been many that don’t hit the mark…

When brand purpose goes bad

Many recent brand purpose initiatives to make the news have proven that even the biggest companies can get it wrong when the tactics aren’t aligned to a strategy, and the strategy isn’t aligned to relevant business objectives. In fact, many failed brand purpose strategies have opened businesses up to harassment, ridicule, and negative publicity.

Notable recent failures include Pepsi trying to solve global disharmony, Starbucks aiming to remove racial tension, Heineken hoping to break down the barriers between transgender people and their critics, or most recently, cosmetic brand Lush targeting the police and shaming them for their infiltration of activists between 1968 and 2008.

As prominent marketer Mark Ritson suggests “Consumers do not want brands to be evil, but they also do not want them to posture about purpose. People are not morons, they can smell the hypocrisy of taking up a purpose while ultimately pushing it for commercial benefit”.

And as European marketing director at Patagonia Alex Weller recently said:

You can’t reverse into a mission and values through marketing. The organisations that are struggling with this are probably the ones that are thinking about marketing first. The role of marketing is to authentically elevate that mission and purpose and engage people in it, but the purpose needs to be the business.

Therefore if customer retention, audience growth, brand loyalty, and revenue growth are your business objectives, there are many other strategies to achieve this, in the event brand purpose isn’t a clear avenue to pursue at this stage.

Tapping into new audiences via an improved keyword strategy, building customer retention through engaging content or growing revenue from your existing audience through conversion rate optimisation are all areas the team at CandidSky excel in, so why not get in touch today and see how we can help you maximise your marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing is like a game of Snakes and Ladders

Running a digital marketing campaign can be like playing a game of Snakes and Ladders. You can plan till your heart’s content, but with a roll of the dice, you could find your campaign flying high, or your fate could change and you find yourself slipping backwards.

The question is, just how well equipped are you to deal with the ups and downs? Are you making the most of opportunities and minimising the damage? Take our quiz to test your digital marketing prowess!


 

Here’s my tips for how you can be best prepared the game!

Remember: there’s a time and a place

If you were to read this Proven Amazon Course review, you’d know that most courses pay huge important to the context. Context is hugely important, each part of the web has its own rules. Positive feedback on a consumer forum for example, might not translate so well if you decide to share this on your website, and equally, if you were to go onto that discussion forum and give it the marketing speak then you’d probably get banned!

Think about your target audience and what their expectations are for the space they’re in. One marketing message does not fit all. What tools do you have at your disposal to reach this audience?

Can you spin a negative into a positive?

With the speed of social media, news of any shortcomings can unfortunately spread very quickly. Start with solving the issue – this isn’t just a marketing problem, it’s a customer service issue. Once you have a plan, that’s where your digital strategy will come into play, use your digital channels to get your message out there, and who knows, you might see a surprising conversion rate for your apology email, maybe the brand PPC campaign to your apology landing page diverts traffic away from negative reviews.

Remember – how you deal with problems in the public sphere can set you apart and help you weather the storm.

Plan for your campaigns to fail

What’s the worst thing that could happen? You probably don’t want to think about it, but go beyond the worst case scenario and think about how you’d deal with it. You probably won’t have to put your “worst case” plan in place, but you’ll be better equipped to handle setbacks if you’ve thought through what you’d do. I’d recommend keeping a cross channel mindset for your backup plan – lay out where the intersections are between your campaigns. If something doesn’t work for one channel, can it be helpful to another?

Plan for your campaigns to fly

Prepare for the worst case, but also prepare for the best case. What if your campaign is so successful that you get more budget signed off? How would you keep the momentum up? Keep your goals and objectives in mind all the time so if/when you do have a win, you’ll know where to use it to get you to your goal quicker!

How to turn your snakes into ladders

If you take just one thing away from this article, my final piece of advice for playing the digital marketing game of snakes and ladders is to make sure your marketing channels are working together.

By all means, your campaigns will have individual objectives, but all should be working towards a larger overall marketing objective and you should know where the crossover lies. So if you find yourself halfway up a ladder, you’re not limited to what you can do because you’re stuck in an SEO mindset. Equally, if you find a snake in your path, the answer to your problems may lie in the wider marketing space.

Don’t let your fate be decided by chance waiting to see if you’re going to land on a ladder or a snake. Line up your team and resources so you can avoid the snakes altogether and rise up those ladders.