By: Alex Fuchs

Using TF-IDF To Outrank Your Competition

November 8, 2017 10 minutes

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Earlier this month our very own, Josh Moody wrote a great post that explained what TF-IDF is, and why it is ranking factor we should care about as SEOs. I won’t go into detail on what TF-IDF is since Josh explained it very well, but I highly recommend you give his post a read if you are unfamiliar with TF-IDF.

In this post, I am going to explain how we can use TF-IDF to audit a specific page and compare how it is ranking against its competitors, and what we can do to outshine those competitors.

TF-IDF stands for term frequency-inverse document frequency. As Josh stated in his post,

“TF-IDF is a formula that can help you understand what topics you should include in your content marketing pieces if you intend for them to rank…”

Now that we know TF-IDF is important for our pieces in order for them to rank, I want to show you one of the strategies I have used to help my content pieces rank better.

We start by using Ahrefs, though there are other tools that will perform similar functions (e.g. SEMRush). Throw in your site’s homepage, then navigate to the left where it says “Organic Keywords” Since I’m a big fan of skimboarding, we will throw in Victoria Skimboards homepage.

You want to click on “Organic Keywords” on the left side of the page because we want to see all of the keywords Victoria is ranking for

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Then, navigate over to “Features” and make sure the “Featured Snippet” box is checked and hit “Apply”.

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Now, we will be able to see all the keywords Victoria ranks for that currently have a featured snippet opportunity available. With some quick research, it seems that the keyword ‘skimboards size chart’ would be a good opportunity for Victoria to try and climb in the SERPs. The reason why is it has a decent amount of search volume and it is one of those keywords considered “low hanging fruit”. It is on the first page but could be doing better, so we will optimize and monitor its movement.
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Next, will be using a great tool called Ryte, formerly known as Onpage.org. Ryte is a paid tool but as of writing this, it looks like you can do a free version which allows for 5 TF-IDF analysis a month. Ryte is a great tool that can do multiple things but in our case, we will be focusing on the “Content Success” tab.
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Once in the “Content Success” tab, enter the keyword you are optimizing for and click “Start Content Analysis”

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Next, click on “ Add URL for Comparison” and enter the URL you are working on:

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Then click “Compare Result”

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What Ryte is doing is taking the top 10 results in the SERPs for our specific keyword and comparing our page against it using TF-IDF.

In this graph, you can see how our keywords match up against our competitors. This graph shows other keywords that Google deems related to the keyword ‘skimboard sizing chart’ and tells us that we should include these keywords on our landing page in order to compete.

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By looking at the green dots you can see which keywords we are using a lot of, and which keywords we need to use more often. If the green dot is at zero, it indicates that the page isn’t using the term as much as the competitors. If the green dot is above the orange bar it indicates the word is being used more than competitors.

Ryte also allows you to look at two-word combination keywords as well:

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And if you still wanting some ideas Ryte has a “Content Analysis” function that allows you to copy and paste the copy on the page you are working on, and they give you recommendations on keywords to add and remove.

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After you gather all of this data it is important to filter out keywords you don’t need such as competitor brands, and unrelated keywords.

The next step would then be to implement the changes into your page. And monitoring the changes over time. Here are some changes I have seen over time for my clients: (The orange exclamation point indicates the date TF-IDF changes were made)

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As we know, there are more than 200 different ranking factors when it comes to Google, however, TF-IDF can be a pretty quick and simple way to get a win and compete against the top pages ranking for our keyword.

Written by Alex Fuchs on November 8, 2017

Alex is a marketer at 97th floor. He loves to skate, dance, and collect sneakers.

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