LDA Score Optimization Update

19 Dec, 2010  |  Written by  |  under Uncategorized

This is an update to my previous article about LDA Optimization. The process is now a lot easier with an update to the optimizer tool!  Many thanks to Virante and SEOmoz for ideas, support, and inspiration!

Step 1: Identify your Keyword

First up, figure out what keyword you want to improve your page’s rank for. For this test, I’m using the phrase “basketball drills”. I just chose this at random and hoped I’d be able to find a good example site in it. See how that worked out below!

Step 2: Identify the Competition

Chances are you already know who this is, but doing a search for your keyword on Google and using the top results is a good start.

Step 3: Find Your Missing Keywords

2010-12-19_2044At this point you should have a good feel for how your page stacks up against the competition.  Now let’s see what words they have that you don’t have, and what words they have in greater frequency than you have.

For the example keyword basketball drills, let’s say that our site is www.basketballteacher.com, which has LDA of roughly 61% and ranks #17 on Google for the phrase. Here’s where we’ll use this new LDA Optimizer tool.

This tool takes your phrase, your URL, and up to 9 competitors’ URLs. It then finds words they use that you don’t, and words that they use more on average than you do, and provides a word cloud showing your opportunities. It can take a couple of minutes to run, so be patient!

To exclude words specific to just a handful of sites, you can specify “Show Keywords Seen on at Least” at the bottom of the form. I used a setting of “4 sites” for my test but got similar results with as many as 8 sites. I recommend playing with this until you’re happy with the results, seeing lots of good words to add but not a lot of extraneous noise.

Step 5: Reviewing Missing/Insufficient Keyword Use

For the sample site, we get this word cloud (on the Wordle link, their clouds are prettier than mine!) for missing words:


So this page related to basketball training is missing words like “rebounding”, “dribble”, “jump”, etc. Lots of opportunities to improve LDA score.  (Note that singular vs. plural isn’t handled well here so some of these words (drill) might exist on the page in other forms that Google would find identical.)

Here are the words the page doesn’t have “enough” of relative to competing sites:


A bit more emphasis on these words might help the site show that it is more topically related to the search phrase.

Step 6 Optimize your LDA Score

The LDA Optimizer tool then provides a suggested set of words and densities to improve the page’s LDA score. Just taking these and pasting them in to your page is unlikely to help, but you should now have some guidance in terms of how many instances of the various words to shoot for as you revise copy.

Adding the suggested words to the site’s existing set moves its LDA from 61% to 86%. So we’ve at least helped our LDA score with a change along these lines. Whether that improves search rank is up to you to test!

Step 7 Check for Higher Google Ranking

Hopefully making changes along these lines will improve your page’s Google ranking, but that’s relatively uncharted territory with regard to LDA today. I’d love to hear your results!

Here’s the optimizer tool.

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