Why You Should GAF about Google’s TF-IDF

SEO is a minefield of acronyms. Heard of Google TF-IDF? (You’re about to, never fear.)

But more than what it is—how can this acronym help your business? Is it millennial marketing slang or a long-standing practice designed to improve your platform’s organic growth rates?

Let’s break down a seemingly complex acronym and learn why you should GAF about Google TF-IDF (excuse our French.)


What is TF-IDF?

TF-IDF stands for “term frequency-inverse document frequency.” It’s a process that scores the retrieval and summarization of different keywords that you might use in your content.

That doesn’t sound so complicated, does it?

Google’s TF-IDF is designed to boost the relevance of words that appear multiple times within the content that its algorithms index. If this tool a) detects a particular term multiple times within one of your documents, then b) detects the same term repeatedly in your competitors’ documents, then the system will boost its relevance and consider it among the more important keywords in your industry.


Exploring Relevant Terms

What precisely is a “relevant” term, though? You don’t have to worry about terms such as “the,” “a,” and “and” impacting your SERP ranking courtesy of TF-IDF’s influence. TF-IDF tools separate throwaway terms like these from terms with more concrete meanings.

These terms are the ones that would help readers understand the content of a written work at a glance. Effectively, if the words in question could be viewed outside of the document, on a blank page, they should still help you develop an understanding of what the original text was discussing.


How Does It Work?

While we don’t want to get into the actual code that allows TF-IDF tools to do their job, we can break down the process these tools use to separate relevant terms from less meaningful terms.


To start, these tools count the number of times each word in a document appears in that document. That explains the use of the phrase, “term frequency,” in the tool’s title.

Then, the tool eliminates the counts of words such as “and,” “the,” and “a.”

With these terms removed from the overall term index, TF-IDF tools can begin to assign value to the individual words you’ve used to create your content.

Once that value has been assigned, the tools will supply Google’s neural network to contextualize your terms. It’s that final contextualization that allows your content to be appropriately categorized on Google’s SERPs.


Why Does It Matter?

If you’ve ever wondered why, exactly, certain keywords are considered high-value keywords, now you know. However, TF-IDF tools do more than decide which keywords are the most important; they help Google address consumers’ needs like another person.

If your consumers forget the name of your product or search, in general, for a product your industry sells, TF-IDF tools help them find what they’re looking for. How? By valuing your work properly. Without these tools, Google wouldn’t be able to understand consumers’ needs half as well as it does.

Software such as STAT and SEObility readily calculate the TF-IDF value of the pages you create. When you assess the value scores these tools provide you with, you can ensure that consumers are more capable of finding your content amongst the noise of the internet.



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