thoughts and ideas from stratEDGE
Why Using this Algorithm is Essential to Your SEO Success
June 11, 2019 at 8:00 AM
by kaci b.
SEO in Colorful Alphabets

Improve Your SEO Ranking Using TF-IDF Algorithm

If you want to find out the relevance of your website pages to a given search query, or if you simply want to improve your SEO ranking using one of the top-three most effective methods, then consider TF-IDF, the “Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency” algorithm.

Broadly, TF-IDF is a vectorization algorithm. Or in other words, TF-IDF is a vectorization technique used in natural language processing to understand rare or infrequent words. Thus, TF-IDF is vital in the era of semantic search and is directly related to how Google’s RankBrain ranks webpages in the search engine results page (SERP).

The TF-IDF algorithm helps websites optimize their pages regarding “comprehensiveness” because its main goal is to identify the importance (or “weight”) of a given keyword based on a given page. Consequently, rare or infrequent words pertaining to a media strategy can be scored (or given a "weight") and understood by TF-IDF. As webpages are optimized according to their comprehensiveness in the SERP relevant to other pages listed, RankBrain’s algorithm recognizes this, in turn ranking a more comprehensive page higher in the SERP.

It is important to note that each webpage within a website must be analyzed and customized for relevancy in comparison to the other webpages ranking in the SERP to sufficiently and effectively use TF-IDF for SEO ranking.

The Purpose of Using a TF-IDF Tool

TF-IDF helps improve SEO rankings because it looks beyond actual keywords and delves into the website’s relevant content; SEO TF-IDF tools provide three results:

  1. It identifies how often a word appears.
  2. It tells you how important the term is.
  3. It tells you how often the particular keyword of interest should (or should not) appear on a webpage given its relevance.

How the TF-IDF Algorithm Works With SEO

TF-IDF is calculated by multiplying the frequency of a keyword's appearance on a page and the frequency of its expected appearance on an average webpage based on a larger set of documents. With that, TF-IDF reports the number of words that are or are not important given a particular webpage. For instance, the algorithm scales down the prominence of function words, transition words, and introductory terms and increases the importance of unique words.

This TF-IDF tool also analyzes the top-ranking pages within the SERP to find target keywords and identify key phrases that high-ranking pages use. These identified keywords and key phrases are terms that are relevant to the topic and are useful because they increase the comprehensiveness of pages in the semantic search area.

Another way of looking at how the TF-IDF algorithm works is in its discovery of words, concepts, or terms; these are associated with target keywords or topics by discovering the content of the top-10 ranking competitors within the SERP.

When using an SEO TF-IDF tool, such as WebSite Auditor, you may input a specific URL, along with a particular keyword, to analyze the content of competitors in the SERP, as well as calculate the TF-IDF scores on both the 10 top-ranking pages and the number of the same terms used on their website. The SEO TF-IDF tool then builds a table of the inputted keyword, which is sorted by the number of competitor pages that use them. There is also a feature that gives advice for your given keyword. This advice could include “add,” “use more,” or “use less” of the particular keyword in question:

  • Add is used if the website does not use the important term enough.
  • Use more is used if the TF-IDF score of the term is ranked below the competitor’s value.
  • Use less is used if the TF-IDF score is ranked above the competitor’s value.

Improving SEO Through TF-IDF

Through the results that TF-IDF generates, business websites can now use online tools to acquire valuable keyword insight from terms that can be used to enrich each of its webpages to make them more relevant to prospective clients. Once a website’s content is optimized based on the recommendations of TF-IDF, keyword rankings go up instantly.

When keyword rankings go up, it means that there is increased traffic, and increased traffic results in conversions. Performance can be tracked over time, and ranking comparisons can be conducted between those pages optimized with TF-IDF opposed to those pages that were not optimized with the algorithm.

PS: If you feel like playing around and diving deeper into semantics, check out Semantic Experiences by Google.

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