A keyword gap analysis can be a great way to start research for a search campaign. If you are able to see where you are being outperformed, you can have insight into where you need to shift your focus.
The Keyword Gap tool (formerly Domain vs Domain), is one of the most flexible research tools on SEMrush, allowing you to add five domains and compare different types of keywords (organic, paid, or PLA keywords) between them. There's a table for sorting and filtering through the data and also a venn diagram chart so you can visualize the intersections between domains.
What can you do with the Keyword Gap tool?
- Compare your domain’s keyword portfolio to your closest competitors
- Determine the specific organic and paid keywords where you are being outperformed
- Identify the common keywords shared by you and your competitors
- Identify keywords that your competitors all rank for but you do not
- Compare organic, paid search and PLA efforts side by side
Why should you use this tool?
Before starting a PPC or SEO campaign it’s important to know how you are already performing against your competitors so that you understand the best areas to focus on. After running the Keyword Gap, you will be able to see the keywords that your competitors are ranking for that you’re not, identify the keywords that are unique to your domain, and discover gaps in your competitors’ strategies where you can focus your campaigns to get more traffic.
Keyword Gap can be incredibly useful for both SEO and PPC campaigns. Keyword Gap is currently located in both the Advertising Toolkit and SEO Toolkit so that both SEO specialist and PPC specialist are able to capitalize on your competitions missing keywords.
Comparing Your Domain's Keywords to Competitors
To get started, simply enter the names of the domains that you want to compare. If you need help identifying your closest competitors, use the Organic Research Competitors report (or Advertising Research Competitors report for PPC competition) to identify the domains that share the most similar keyword rankings as you.
After entering the domains to compare, select your “keyword type.” You can compare organic, paid, and PLA keywords between domains. You do not have to compare the same keyword types for each domain. For example, you can choose to compare one domain’s paid keywords to another domain’s organic keywords.
Additionally, you can compare organic keywords to paid keywords for the same domain. Just enter the domain twice and set the keyword types accordingly.
- Organic keywords are keywords where a domain has an organic ranking within the top 100 results.
- Paid keywords are keywords where the domain is ranking a paid ad through Google AdWords on Google’s top 10 pages top 20 paid positions.
- PLA keywords are keywords that triggered the domain’s product listing ads paid for through Google Shopping.
You will notice that next to each domain search bar there are individual Venn diagrams. When you click on any of these you will be able to determine the intersection types for the keywords. “Intersection type” determines what keywords the tool will present to you.
- All keywords - view every keyword that the entered domains are ranking for in Google’s top 100.
- Keywords Unique to the first domain - see the keywords that the first domain ranks for, but the second does not rank for.
- Common keywords - View all the keywords that both domains have rankings for in Google’s top 100 results.
- Unique keywords - View the keywords that are unique to each domain, and not shared by any of the other sites in the comparison.
Each intersection type will be able to tell you something different about where you stand within the competition.
For a complete overview of the keyword market that these competitors get traffic from, select “All keywords.” This will pool all of the domains’ keyword portfolios together into one big report so you can see the full scope of the niche/market between the domains.
Choose “Common Keywords” to only see the keywords where both websites have a ranking (in organic, paid, or PLA - whichever keyword type is selected for said domain).
After choosing keyword type and intersection type, you can start the tool and begin identifying keyword gaps between the domains. When using this tool, there are two main views to interpret the data: Table and Charts. The table view provides all the keyword metrics with sorting and filtering options while the Charts feature gives you a visual representation of the size and intersections.
To dive deeper into the data, use the filters available. You can add filters for words to compare keywords around a specific subject.
By using filters, you can get specific and find gaps where you should take action. For example, you can pinpoint all of the keywords where one of your competitors is on the first page (position < 11) and your domain is on the second page or further (position > 10). This would generate a list of keywords that you should start optimizing for in order to compete with your competitors for traffic.
If you’re planning a PPC campaign, you can find keywords a competitor is ranking for organically that you do not bid on with AdWords ads. This would indicate an open opportunity for you to target some of their organic traffic with paid ads.
When viewing the report in the charts format you can see the overall size of each domain’s keyword portfolio and also see the amount of overlap between the same keywords. Click on any individual or overlapping section to generate a table with that specific set of shared keywords.
Comparing Organic to Paid Keywords
Another clever way to use this tool is to enter the same domain twice to compare its organic keywords to paid keywords. This is a quick way to compare the scope of your SEO and PPC efforts to ensure you are making the most of your budget.
Compare your website’s organic to paid keywords and look for keywords that you already rank well for organically but are also paying to advertise on. With these keywords, determine whether or not you get enough traffic from organic search or if you need both organic and paid traffic. If the ads don’t bring a significant amount of traffic on top of your organic positions, you can stop spending your budget on these paid ads.
Take nike.com, for example. We can see by comparing their organic and paid keywords that they are running paid ads on many of the keywords that they already rank #1 on organically (see below). If you see this situation with your website, you could experiment with removing those keywords from your PPC campaign in order to save more of your budget.
Another great feature of this tool is the ability to compare mobile keywords in any of our mobile databases. See our stats page for an updated list of available mobile databases. Select the mobile icon at the top of the page and the comparison will re-populate with the domains’ mobile rankings. Analyzing mobile keywords is essential if you offer a service that people will search for while they’re on the go. Just like with the desktop report, you are able to pull data for organic, paid and PLA keywords.
At any time, you can export your list of keywords into a excel file, CSV file, or add them to your Export Manager. Exports from this tool make great research for competitive analysis and can be used when making a roadmap for a search marketing campaign. In an export you’ll be able to see each domain’s rankings for the keywords that they compete for.
To add keywords to the Export Manager, simply check the keywords you wish to export and select the green add to Export Manager button located to the left of the search bar.
These will be saved to your Export Manager list, where you can pull keywords from Domain Analytics and Keyword Analytics together into one organized export file.