Your website needs fresh texts for your content marketing. Finally, you can immerse yourself in the subject of SEO content and write – or assign the writing of – your new content in a way that immediately improves your search engine ranking. In your search for a new service provider, you’ll come across a variety of content suppliers who can create your texts according to a WDF * IDF analysis. It’s madness – a formula for the perfect SEO text. Wow!
Before explaining the formula WDF * IDF (within-document-frequency * inverse-document-frequency), I want to take a look at keyword density. Keyword density shows the proportion of keyword occurrence within a text. Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear a different percentage that’s meant to be the perfect proportion to achieve a good Google search result ranking. While you’re likely to achieve good results around the 4% mark, you’ll probably drown in the ranking losses once you exceed 7%. This is because Google considers an unnatural keyword density as “keyword stuffing”.
And what exactly does the secret weapon WDF * IDF do?
Just like keyword density, WDF * IDF is used for the analysis of the content signals your text sends to the search engine algorithms. Let’s summarise the factors that affect the relevance evaluation of your text in the WDF * IDF analysis:
• How many times do all words appear within your text.
• How many documents within a single database also incorporate a keyword used in the specific text.
• What is the proportion of the number of pages that include your keywords compared to the total number of pages in that database.
Die Größe einer Datenbank variiert je nach WDF * IDF-Werkzeug und bildet immer nur grob ab, welche Artikel im Web inhaltliche Überschneidungen haben. Eine Optimierung per WDF * IDF soll dir helfen, folgende Schwachstellen in deinem SEO-Text zu erkennen:
• Your preferred keyword does not dominate the SEO text.
• There aren’t enough subject-related keywords.
• There are keywords that appear so often that they might distort the context.
Does that sound helpful? Yes. But is it any different to the strengths of a professional content marketing copywriter? I think not.
Does WDF * IDF = good content? Yes, no, maybe?
I have to admit: It sounds like it drives sales. Finally, you can put a value on things that have always been difficult to measure, at least before you went online.
What strikes me though, is that text producers (I avoid the terms “content marketer” or “content strategies” on purpose) are actually trying to sell WDF * IDF as a shortcut to success. Let’s be honest: This one formula is meant to guarantee the success of your SEO text and your internet presence? Google employs some of the smartest people on earth. The search engine giant modifies a strictly secret search engine algorithm more than 500 times a year and this is what defines your ranking in the search results. Huge Google algorithm updates with cute animal names, such as “Hummingbird” or “Panda”, are the real game changers. They are followed by an outcry from those involved in SEO and Google is blamed for security breaches in search engines. Yet, the real responsibility lies with those who focus on tricks and shortcuts rather than on user experience!
In 2010 German online marketing guru Karl Kratz stated in a blog post about the “SEO myth of keyword density”:
“If you work with the factor “keyword density”, you failed to understand SEO.”
He pulls keyword density to shreds in his article and points out that WDF * IDF might be put to better use in the definition of the key message of the text. Unfortunately, most people don’t seem to have finished reading the article, or they are just picking out the bits they can utilise in their promise of super-quick SEO success to the customer. Karl Katz’s conclusion is somewhat sobering:
“By the way: The methods described here provide fruitful ground for an argument – it’s a bit like using a technical chart analysis as a basis for your next investment decision on the stock market. Rather scary, isn’t it? 50% of the readers really like that method … Just remember the most important thing:Write good content for the users, not for the search engines. OK? ;)”
If you want to know what else Karl Kratz has to say about good online content, take a look at this interview published by t3n.
If you rely solely on the WDF * IDF factor, you have failed to understand SEO
I consider WDF * IDF to be a formula that can be used. However, I get angry when someone tries to reduce SEO to this technical aspect. There’s no doubt that you need to keep a few technical tools running in the background of your content marketing. But that doesn’t stop a technically perfect text from failing on the front line. Your text’s search engine success depends on user behaviour – and people are still people. People take in the overall impression of your website and they scan your content with their emotional filters.
Sean Si, Editor in Chief at SEO-Hacker.com, sums this up in his article on the human emotional filter and the effect of SEO:
“Start piercing your user’s Human Emotional Filter. Chances are, your competitors are still stuck in the field of doing technical SEO. Your creativity and ability to emotionally communicate with your users is your best asset – it is not easily replicated”
Your SEO content must support your content strategy. Headlines must spark an interest in reading the article. SEO text cannot survive as a keyword compilation – the reader will make a quick exit, trying to escape from a sinking ship.
How does the failure of WDF * IDF affect the SEO performance of your webpages?
• Google measures a short time the user spent on your website and assumes that your content isn’t really relevant (e.g. for the search query the user just entered into the Google search).
• Your users don’t share your content. You miss out on positive social signals and on links from other website/blogs.
• Your SEO content is both the entrance and the exit point of your website. All the other content on your page remains unread and becomes obsolete from a SEO perspective.
It’s not rocket science. You can observe your daily performance with the free Google Analytics tool.
Remove WDF * IDF from power and define your key performance indicators for your SEO text beyond a ranking based on keyword placement!
These objectives might include:
• A purchase in your online shop
• A registration for your newsletter
• A click on a sub-landing page or another article
• User engagement in the form of a comment or the sharing of your content
• A potential customer getting in touch to request more specific information about your services or products
Content marketing aims to develop a positive reputation and a close customer relationship. Neither of these objectives can simply be copied from the competition. Both of them require your content to be tailored to your customers. And that means that your text producer really needs to grasp what you want to achieve with your SEO content. Serving a continuously changing Google algorithm on the basis of uncertain, superficial knowledge can backfire.
When Google releases the next update on your SEO content, your obsession with optimisation will lead to significant visibility losses in the search engine’s results lists..
Google doesn’t, doesn’t want to, and will not punish websites with a recurring readership. This requires the production of good content, rather than passing the reins of your content to WDF * IDF in blind trust. Content marketing comes into its own and affects both search engines and users most if it combines the expertise of SEO experts, professional copywriters, web designer and content strategies in the interest of the brand.
You can find further tips on the subject of content production in my blog post “A successful content marketing cycle in 6 steps”.
Author: Ben Harmanus