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What Matters Is what Is Inside: Content Optimization

Google’s evolution over the past years showed that the search engine has put more emphasis on the importance of high-quality content. A website's content is now more relevant than ever before for search engine optimization, while, for years the focus had been on off-page optimization and link building. Grammar, writing, unique texts and information are some of the criteria to evaluate the quality of content. Most often, when users are looking for information, short texts are not helpful and the search engines evaluate them accordingly.

It’s the content that matters: high-quality content is indispensable for search engine optimization

It’s the content that matters: high-quality content is indispensable for search engine optimization

The content of a page should be as individual and search engine-friendly as possible and should offer added value to the user. A balanced use of keywords (relevant buzz words) on the page is also important, in order for search engines to classify the page as relevant for these keywords. Texts of minor quality are identified quickly by Google nowadays and usually lead to bad rankings. Ideally, a good online text contains optimized content and uses natural language.

Search engine optimized texts using new tools and formulas

Using keywords is an important element for content optimization. However, these days it is not enough to simply look at the keyword density, it is important to also take into account what competitors are doing. Search engines now evaluate how often keywords are used on a landing page compared to the most important competitors' pages and they can also assess if the page is completely out of the ordinary with regard to keyword use. If a page has been optimized for a keyword at a below average level compared to what competitors have been doing, this has negative effects on the ranking. If a page has been optimized at an above average level compared to competitors' pages, this could at worst be considered “keyword spamming” and lead to punishment. Therefore, finding the the golden mean is important.

The so-called WDF*IDF formula permits the calculation of how frequently a keyword is used in a document in comparison to competitors' documents. The WDF (within document frequency) indicates how often a specific keyword appears in a document. The higher the value, the more often the word appears. With the IDF value (inverse document frequency) that number can be combined into an evaluation formula. The IDF value indicates how often a keyword is used in comparison to all the other documents that have been considered.

Thus, with the WDF*IDF formula you can calculate to what extent the content of the page has already been optimized for the keyword or whether it still needs to be optimized. This complex analysis can be carried out easily by using WDF*IDF tools. There are various providers for these, OnPage.org is among them. With this tool you can, for example, carry out an analysis for a specific keyword (also known as focus keyword) to determine how the keyword is distributed on your page compared to the top 10 search results. Using this tool can help to answer the following questions: How often has the focus keyword been integrated into the website? How often do competitors use it? Are there any terms that competitors use more often? Has a keyword been integrated into the text too often, risking that the page might be considered as spam by the search engine?

Below you can see an example for the WDF*IDF value, using the Wikipedia page about “search engine marketing”:

At one glance: how often is the keyword used compared to competitors' pages

At one glance: how often is the keyword used compared to competitors' pages

The orange bars indicate how often, at an average, the keywords appear on competitors’ pages. The red line indicates how often these keywords appear on the Wikipedia page. As you can see in the chart, some of the terms could be used more often in order to increase the relevance compared to competitors' pages. Among these terms are, for example, “search engine advertising”, “Adwords”, and “SEM”. The results of the analysis are a good reference point to see how the website is positioned in comparison to competitors' pages. However, the results should not be taken as a 1:1 recommendation because they are not suited for all kinds of websites. The WDF*IDF tools look at the text of the entire website (including footer and header). Therefore, the analysis would not be useful for pages such as retail pages where, typically, short descriptions and enumerations are used and comprehensive texts avoided.

Conclusion

Optimized content – informative and of high quality – is an important factor, which together with other SEO measures ensures good ranking results, high visitor numbers, and increased awareness. For websites with comprehensive texts, the WDF*IDF tool is a great help. However, it is important to critically scrutinize the results and to see them rather as points of reference.

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