Today’s world of content marketing is becoming more and more crowded by the day. Big brands like Amazon and Yahoo are now content producers, as well as countless advertisers and marketers. So while the barrier of entry to content marketing is low, being able to stand out from the crowd becomes harder and harder every day. In this episode of Here’s Why, Mark & Eric will explain what it takes to get your content to really be unique.
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- Inverse Document Frequency and the Importance of Uniqueness
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Mark: I just want to be me! … Phew, that’s better! It’s important to be unique, to stand out from the crowd. Your site content needs to be unique too. In this episode of “Here’s Why”, Perficient Digital’s Eric Enge will explain why unique content gives YOU a competitive advantage!
Mark: Eric, why is it important to create unique content on your site?
Eric: Well, unique content targeting very specific queries gives your site a fighting chance to stand out from the crowd, but before we get into that further we should have some understanding of what search engines do with the trillions upon trillions of words on the internet.
One of the methods search engines use to evaluate words on website pages is Inverse Document Frequency, or IDF. In simple terms, IDF is the measurement of the rarity of a term. Let’s say we’re looking at a sample of 100 million documents. The word “a” appears in every document in the sample, so it isn’t unique at all.
Therefore it has no value in determining the uniqueness of the document. In SEO we call these “Stop Words”, and search engines mostly ignore them. But the word “mobilegeddon” appears in only 1,000 of the documents, or one-thousandth of a percent, so “mobilegeddon” would be far more valuable to a search engine trying to understand the uniqueness of a document.
There’s a lot more to the math of Inverse Document Frequency and how it’s used to determine how rare terms are in a set of documents. If you want to see the actual formulas and how they work, refer to my Moz blog post using the link we’ll give to you at the end of the episode.
Mark: Well IDF is fascinating, Eric, but what can it teach us about how we should construct and target our site content?
Eric: Well think of it this way: If I search “super bowl 2015”, Google will find 6.78 million websites. We call commodity search phrases like these “Head Terms”. No matter how great your content about Super Bowl 2015 is, the chances of your site ranking for that term is just about zero. You’d have to have link authority signals as high as sites like NFL.com or Wikipedia, so you’d have to go for something more unique than “super bowl 2015.”
For example, just adding the word “predictions” reduces the playing field from 6.78 million results to about 24 thousand results returned. Expand that to “super bowl 2015 predictions and odds” and you’re down to just 640 results. See where this is going? IDF teaches us how to create content that has a better chance at being seen because it’s targeted at more unique terms.
Mark: But those more unique terms don’t get searched as much, right?
Eric: That’s true, but if your site is lower authority or fairly new, you aren’t going to rank for those head terms anyway. It’s far better to go for the smaller but more achievable traffic of more unique terms than to get zero traffic by trying to go after less unique terms. Of course, the reasons to create content that is highly differentiated and unique go FAR beyond SEO. It’s good for your users and it’s good for your reputation, visibility and also your SEO.
Mark: Well thanks Eric! Sounds like a great way to kickstart your SEO efforts in competitive spaces. For more about Inverse Document Frequency and the importance of unique content, see Eric’s article on the Moz Blog at the link on the screen, and join us next time as we continue to give you the “why” behind the “what” of marketing on “Here’s Why.”
Eric Enge leads the Digital Marketing practice for Perficient Digital. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO. Learn More About Eric Enge