TF-IDF: SEO and Content Marketing Rolled Into One

TF-IDF: SEO and Content Marketing Rolled Into One


TF-IDF for content marketing


Content marketing is a time-consuming process. Keeping a site consistently up to date with fresh articles and compelling copy takes time and skill. To add to your mountain of to-dos, you have to get that copy into the hands of people that want to read it with content marketing strategies.


Search engine optimization, outreach, backlinking, networking, cross-promotion, advertising, inbound marketing strategies – it’s a full-time job and a half. So what happens when those efforts fall flat, and you still don’t have the traffic coming in that you need?


You’ve wasted hours, days, weeks of your valuable time on a strategy that isn’t producing results. You’ve allocated your resources to getting this stuff out there, but people aren’t finding you. It’s a maddening situation to be in. You’ve put other things on the back burner for the long game with content marketing strategy implementation, things that could have made you immediate money, and now you’re coming up empty.


There are a few different approaches to content marketing that can help bring in more traffic, with less manual input from you, freeing you up to focus on other aspects of growing your business.


SEO and Inbound Marketing


SEO is a tricky beast. It starts off being simple – put this keyword here this number of times, get those stop words outta there, keep your pages spam-free… The truth is though, there is no single SEO strategy that is going to shoot your content to the top of the SERPs – Google’s made sure you have to try harder than that.


Though it might not always seem to be the case, we’ve officially entered the age of authenticity selling. Information-rich content that’s original and actionable is what is going to market your site for you, and draw traffic in with no marketing expertise required.


What is TF-IDF?


TF-IDF is just a fancy technical term for our keyword software here at Text Tools. Here’s what it stands for:





If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s okay, don’t panic – it’s not as technical as it sounds. Basically, this is a keyword program that looks at a single term within a document to determine its importance, based on the frequency of its use, compared to the frequency of words that are less relevant.


The more a term gets mentioned on a page, the higher TF-IDF judges its weight to be, and the more important the software determines it is.


How Does TF-IDF Help With Content Marketing and SEO?


TF-IDF doesn’t just provide you with information about term frequency. The Text Tools program has a feature called ‘Semantic Analysis’. Based on the term you enter in the software, once the program calculates the weight of the term, it quickly scans the web for other pages that have this term listed at a high weight.


When Text Tools does this, you’re given a detailed graph that essentially lines out the top competing pages for that term on the web on a graph. Digging deeper though, Text Tools also gives you a list of semantically related keywords. Here’s what that means:


Semantics: of, relating to, or arising from the different meanings of words


Basically, semantically related keywords fall into a category of words that have something to do with each other but aren’t necessarily a part of the same topic.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis results


When you do a semantic analysis with Text Tools, you get several words that are also showing up commonly on the pages with high weights for your target keyword. In this graph, you’ll see the URLs that are referenced, as well as the weight of those terms on each page.


How to Use TF-IDF for SEO and Content Marketing

So how does TF-IDF tie in with content marketing? Essentially what it comes down to is pretty simple: giving the people what they want. Using semantic keyword analysis, you can evaluate the target market and get a feel for what they’re reading, and what the sites they’re reading on are also writing about.


Take your findings from Text Tools and use them to create an entire content creation strategy, so that you can create a targeted approach to leading your readers on to other topics. It not only opens the door to fresh eyes, but it keeps your content from getting stale and repetitive.


As you continue to create organic content, your website becomes richer and richer, with naturally key term dense articles and pages that start showing up in the SERPs more and more. As you build that content, you link back and forth between related articles, and the Google crawler starts indexing even more of your site, making you easier to find.


Why SEO Isn’t the Answer to Everything

Ethical SEO practices


The problem with building content around an SEO-based strategy is that it sets you up to create content that is artificial and not free-flowing. You wind up with robotic text that is unpleasant to read, and obviously engineered, and Google picks up on that.


Google’s Panda algorithm is smarter than ever, and can smell engineered content a mile away. When too many sentences are starting with the same word, and a word appears in more than 2-3% of the text, Google senses that the content is being written for the search engine, not the reader.


The result is essentially a penalty, and Google punishes the page for bad behavior, not ranking it well, and generally treating the link like spam that it doesn’t want its searchers to see.


Cost/Benefit of Link Building


Building backlinks is a great way to boost a target page’s rank and drive traffic to your site. You get your name out there, network with other blogs, and there’s the SEO benefit of getting a link on a site with a substantial domain authority.


Link building is the long game for SEO and content marketing, but it’s a tremendous way to expand the reach of your audience, without spamming in the comments sections of other blogs (don’t be that guy).


The problem with link building that most sites – particularly those fresh out of the gate – run into is that it takes time, money, and plenty of outreach, most of which tiny budgets don’t allow for. The result is a lot of time spent for little gain for a site that’s still in its infantile stages.


The bottom line is, you need to build your rapport with your audience first. You can spend all of that time and money driving people to your domain, but ultimately that progress will be short-lived and unsustainable if the content you have on your own site isn’t engaging and continually growing.


Social Media Marketing Won’t Work by Itself


Social media marketing is another area where content creators and digital marketers place a ton of effort and strategy, and often get frustrated by the lack of results. The engagement doesn’t yield clicks, and all of that time and money invested only serves to build a social media presence that isn’t building sales or an email list.


The bottom line is, you can’t just count on social media marketing to build your audience and grow your business. In every scenario and with every strategy, it always starts with content. You have to give your readers a reason to do more than like your Facebook page.


Ask yourself, what is really drawing people to your email list from your social media accounts? What incentive is there for your audience to go further and commit to a relationship with you?


A Match Made in Heaven: TF-IDF and Inbound Marketing


The bottom line is as it always was – content is king, and there is no substitute. You have to be willing to give your readers something of value if you want to grow your base of readers, and it really is that simple.


TF-IDF is like the ultimate market analyzation tool, helping you create content that’s relevant to your audience, but will also help your site rank better. It’s not keyword stuffing – it’s not even just packing that list of Keyword Tool generated related keywords into a page.


TF-IDF is taking the natural interests of your readership and giving the information you need to dig deeper and diversify your content based on that data. With this information, you can create content that brings in organic traffic, and builds your subscriber list based on the diversity of your information.


Why TF-IDF is the First Thing You Should Try


Your ideas are grand, and your ambitions have the power to take your online business places, but ultimately you cannot forget about your readers. If you want to see your hard work pay off, you have to put in the time with your content – there are no sustainable shortcuts.


Use TF-IDF to break through your writer’s block and stimulate the flow of fresh ideas and new content that’s relevant to your readership.


Learn more about what your audience wants to read – get Text Tools now.

How to Use the Text Tools TF-IDF Software

The concept of TF-IDF may be new to some, but Text Tools has taken this advanced, algorithmic SEO technique and made it accessible to beginner content creators. With Text Tools, the technical mumbo jumbo is taken care of for you, and you get easy to read data – delivered.


TF-IDF is an easy enough concept to get your brain around, so let’s get down to the basics before we break down exactly how this software works. Here’s what it stands for:





Basically, what this means is that TF-IDF will take your chosen keyword and compare it to the rest of the terms in your document, generally ignoring irrelevant stop words like ‘the’, ‘of’, ‘it’, etc.. From there, you get a generated list of words that are semantically related to the word you entered – in a nutshell, words that might come up in topics related to your subject.


What this information gives you is a jumping off point to maximize the reach of your content by drawing in a wider range of subtopics, and a larger audience as a result. Many content strategists caution about ‘niching down’ too much, and Text Tools helps you avoid that by providing you with a wider variety of target keywords.


As a result, your content covers more ground, and you get more traffic from a wider audience to your posts and pages.


Aside from just enriching the content you’re already putting together, Text Tools is a great way to dream up new blog post ideas. Take that list of semantically related keywords, and use it to put together a rich content calendar that produces posts your audience wants to read.


Let’s take a look at a breakdown of exactly what using Text Tools looks like.


First, we start over here on the ‘TF-IDF’ tool under ‘Semantic Analysis’. Let’s use the term ‘content’ and see what Text Tools comes back with.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis


Hooray, our request went through! Now we wait for the email to arrive with our results.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis results


Within about three minutes, I have an email confirming that my report is ready. I click on the link, and get this big chart.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis graph


Along the x-axis, we have our list of semantically related keywords. Let’s zoom in on those and take a look. At the top of the chart, I move the little bar to show 20 terms at a time.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis graph


Ah, that’s better! Now we can see the top 20 semantically related keywords  to ‘content’. ‘2017’ is first in the lineup, followed by ‘privacy’, ‘contact’, ‘terms’, and so on. These terms are listed in the order of their relevance, with the y-axis giving us the terms’ actual TF-IDF weighted value.


Below the chart, we have our color key that coordinates links with the terms in the chart.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis graph


These are our competitors, and this is what they’re content is also covering that we should be thinking about adding to our own. If we hover over one of those links, Text Tools kindly highlights the line in the chart for us, so we can get a clear picture of the data we’re working with.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis graph


Lastly, if we’re to get an idea of how we can outrank our competition and cover the ground they’re missing, we need to utilize Text Tools in one other way. Let’s hover over one of the spikes in this graph and see what happens.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis graph


You can see here that when we hover over ‘events’ in this graph, we get a little list of URLs that pops up. On the left of that list in bold, we have a number that represents the weight of the term ‘events’, or the term’s TF-IDF (it’s all coming together now, huh?).


With this information, we can see that has no mention of ‘events’ in their top-ranking page for ‘content’, but that Content Marketing World scored pretty well with it. All the same, a TF-IDF weight of around 2 isn’t very high, so these pages aren’t doing particularly well for this keyword.


More information than you need? The next cool thing you can do with this information is reduce it down to the bare essentials. Just go into the list of URLs in the color-coded section under the graph, and click on any that you don’t want to show up in your chart. You can hide them and make them reappear at will, cleaning up the data and making it easier to sort through.


Now let’s take a look at a different set of data. At the top of the graph, let’s click on the tab that says ‘Compare’.


At the bottom of that chart, there’s an area to either paste your own text, or enter a page URL to analyze the text and determine how effective your keyword usage is. This is a great way to make sure you’re not keyword stuffing, but still using enough of your target keywords to reach your audience.



Use the color coded key at the bottom of the graph to analyze your new data.


TF-IDF term comparison guide


As you can see from this analysis from one of my blog posts at my professional services site, most of these keywords fall right within the average range, with some creeping into the max range.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis comparison


At the bottom of the screen below the text box, we have this list of suggested keywords to help me optimize my content even further to help this page rank higher.


TF-IDF semantic keyword analysis comparison


Lastly, we have the ‘Data’ tab, where we can download the information we’ve gathered from Text Tools into neat files to send and share with collaborators. You’ll get a comprehensive list of the term data you’ve gleaned in a nice spreadsheet that you can revisit offline.


TF-IDF Suggest Terms


The ‘Suggest Terms’ tool is reminiscent of Google’s Keyword Planner, but without as much aggregated data. This simple tool takes your primary keyword and generates a list of semantically related keywords for you to sort through.


TF-IDF keyword suggestions


From there, you can dig even deeper into your results, and get TF-IDF reports on the terms, or look into even more keyword suggestions for the list the software generates for you.


It may sound really technical – it is, after all, computer science – but TF-IDF is made simple with Text Tools. This program uses a user-friendly interface to bridge the gap between this type of technical SEO and the content creator, giving you the ability to do in-depth research with an easy to use tool.


Text Tools breaks down the data for you, and gives you the pertinent information first. Use it to refine existing content, round out your editorial calendar, or strategically try to top your competitor’s rankings.


Whatever your endgame, Text Tools gives you the information you need to make it happen, and is a fantastic tool for ensuring you’re not overdoing it with keyword stuffing and blatant placement. These in-depth analyses will give you the insights you need to help you stay five steps ahead of the competition.


You don’t need to fight dirty to dominate the SERPs – get Text Tools now to create content that conquers all on its own.

Why TF-IDF is the Most Effective SEO Formula Around

The internet is a treasure trove of information, but as content strategists, we all know: it’s a jungle out there. There are so many schools of thought as to what the best way to rank higher is, what you absolutely must do to bring in more traffic, and reach a higher volume of your target audience. You’ve read it all, but have you heard about TF-IDF yet?

Who has time for it? You’re busy enough, and you just need to know what you need to know to make the magic happen – to bring searchers to your pages, turn clicks into conversions, and readers into subscribers. Let’s get right into it.

Spammy SEO – When Google Knows You’re Up to No Good

Over the years, Google has gotten smarter and smarter, and the crawlers are now more aware than ever of the techniques sites are using to bring traffic to their pages. This savviness has resulted in Google penalizing sites doing cheap, spammy things to bring in more traffic.

search engine optimization

The problem is, at a certain point in the content marketing craze, it became more about rankings and numbers than it did about just having naturally engaging, unique content. The keyword density craze took hold, and copywriters took to keyword stuffing to the tune of 3-5% per document, putting off readers with robotic and obviously engineered text.

Bounce rates went up, Google took note of the tactics that content creators were using, and new algorithms were created to ensure that sites had to actually provide content of value to readers if they were to land in the top SERPs.

The result now is a better user experience, but a tougher than ever challenge for content marketers. The competition for traffic is fierce, so how do we reach people and employ advanced SEO tactics that Google isn’t going to penalize us for?

What is TF-IDF?

TF-IDF is an algorithm that goes beyond the keyword stuffing techniques of yesteryear, and instead focuses on delivering relevant content to your audience, and helps you reach more of them.

TF-IDF stands for Term Frequency – Inverse Document Frequency. Sure, makes a lot of sense, right? TF-IDF might sound at first like keyword density, but it’s a much more reasonable approach to the dated practice of stuffing content full of your target keyword.

TF-IDF works in two steps. First, it identifies the frequency of important terms in a given text – like, say, a blog post – and then compares that information to the uniqueness of the term to provide a value to every relevant keyword in your document.

So what does this mean for you? You get a list of semantically related key terms that you can use to optimize your content, and add a few keywords to your focus. The results is an information-rich text that will pop up on more SERPs, and be visible to more readers.

Why TF-IDF Kicks the Pants Off Keyword Density Techniques

Initially, this might sound like a really fancy and technical way of keyword-stuffing (which is never cool), but let’s be clear here – TF-IDF is what you make of it. It’s just information, and if you use it to create some 6% keyword dense abomination, that’s on you.

What really makes TF-DF for SEO amazing is that it gives you a unique insight into creating organically engaging content that will rank all on its own, by giving you a list of semantically related keywords to tie into your piece.

Let’s look at an example to paint a picture of what a bit of text might look like before and after a TF-IDF analysis:

Carrots are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, but much of the nutrient absorption is determined by how you prepare them. For the best results, always eat carrots raw. If you must roast them, then make sure you use a cooking oil with a high smoke point. Baste them, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook uncovered at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, and enjoy.

Turns out, after a TF-IDF analysis, we can see that lots of sites mentioning carrots also mention food, so we work that one in. Now we apply this new information to further optimize our text:

Carrots are a vitamin and mineral-rich food, but much of the nutrient absorption is determined by how you prepare these foods. For the best results, always eat carrots raw. If you must roast them, then make sure you use a cooking oil with a high smoke point. Baste them, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook uncovered at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, and enjoy.

TF-IDF – SEO for People

You don’t stuff ‘em, you don’t overwhelm your reader with obvious keyword choices – you just work natural, semantically related keywords into your text to reach more people, and ultimately, rank higher. TF-IDF gives you the information and tools you need to make your content richer and more applicable to a wide range of searches, without using dated methods like keyword density.

If this is the first you’re hearing of this simple SEO tool, I highly suggest you take a look at Text Tools. It’s a very simple platform to use, and provides you with the information you need to optimize new or existing content to organically rank, and blow your competitors out of the water.

Start optimizing your content the right way now – get TF-IDF with Text Tools.