Google search engine is a wonderful tool making our lives better each and every day.
Over the time it has seen numerous changes. As you well know, nowadays Google focuses more on the meaning behind the text than the actual words being used.
Search engine goes deep trying to uncover various correlations whether we’re talking about keywords, links, shares or anything else that may indicate how qualitative content is.
Co-citation and co-occurrence are similar in that regard.
In a way, they allow us to establish some important relationships.
Want to learn more how to use co-citation and co-occurrence to boost your articles? Keep on reading!
What is co-citation?
When you cite something, you are relying on data from another source. That being said, building links can be regarded as citation. In fact, people often use exact lines from authoritative websites copying them into their own articles.
This is normal. People have always been copying content from more authoritative website. This is the how small blogs manage to survive.
The interesting thing happens when one website (website 1) links to different websites (websites 2 and 3).
Google notices this and immediately establishes a link between websites 2 and 3. Given that both of them got a link coming from one and the same article, it is safe to say that certain type of connection exists.
On top of that, they both received a link so content on websites 2 and 3 is probably worth something right?
Co-citation is a passive way of establishing connections between various blogs even though there is no direct connection between them.
How do you benefit from co-citation?
First of all, co-citation may seem as a fluke but this information is really telling.
Even with Google’s best efforts, guest and sponsored posts are still being used. In these articles, it is common to see a link pointing to the website that paid money. There usually isn’t any other link in the article as guests post buyer is not inclined to boost other people’s websites.
So the link stands alone.
This makes sense as you wouldn’t like to promote competition.
With co-citation, the game completely changes. You can no longer pay just for your link; you also need to pay for your competition’s link given that Google will focus on co-citation and appearance of other valuable resources in the article.
The system is still not perfect as there is still an easy way to cheat it; just add another link.
But this does have one clear advantage: content on the Internet is becoming better as you are forced to link to other authoritative websites.
Who profits from co-citation? Smaller websites.
This secondary linking shows that your website is on the same level as some other, high tier authoritative website.
Most likely, Google will consider all co-citation in various combinations. As long as you continuously appear in articles, being mentioned side by side with other big names, your website/page will receive a boost in Google.
What is co-occurrence?
In previous articles, I wrote about LSI keywords.
Basically, for a particular page to rank higher, you need to have a specific corpus of words.
For example, if you’re writing about “SEO” Google expects to see words such as “link”, “keywords”, “website” and “page” in your article.
You shouldn’t focus on one keyword! Instead, you need to write natural content AROUND this keyword.
This is how co-occurrence works.
If there are two articles who have similar corpus of words and phrases, it is easier for Google to establish the connection. That being said, your best bet is to create content that is akin to articles ranking high in Google.
Research the top websites, reverse engineer their web copies and outrank them in Google.
Now that we’ve mentioned co-occurrence, it is necessary to touch base with TF-IDF.
TF-IDF or term frequency-inverse document frequency represents importance of a word to the whole document.
Let me explain this a bit more.
The term is used to show us how often a word will appear within a text. For example, a 500 word SEO article might use the word SEO 10 times. Naturally, there will be some inconsistencies. But if you wish to use co-occurrence to your advantage, it is best to check out the term frequency of the keywords within top 10 results for your main terms.
As you can presume TF-IDF is mainly used by the search engines. Google have filed a few patents regarding this which you can read here:
It is used to show us relevancy of an article. For example, if you type in query “SEO best practices”, Google will first focus on all documents having “SEO”, “best” and “practices”.
It is even better if these keywords are close together. If the words are near each other, this means that correlation is higher.
Similarly, we can use this weighing process when we wring our own articles.
Have in mind that your article doesn’t have to have same length. But, if the frequency of word “SEO” is 5 %, you also have to have the same frequency; that is number of repetitions.
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How do you benefit from co-occurrence?
As I already mentioned, you can easily trick Google into thinking that your article is of similar quality as the highest ranking ones.
What is Google’s mindset behind this?
Well, if there are several articles with similar corpus of words, they are likely all true. In other words, blogs are not willing to share false information.
“Why is that?” you’re probably thinking. If a post has already reached number one position in Google, isn’t it easier to write something similar and trick the search engine regardless of the quality of information?
Here is the deal.
Although you might have built some links and reached page one in Google, this is artificial. Problem occurs when you start getting more and more traffic due to your position and people slowly start leaving bad comments, bouncing, spending short amount of time on website etc.
Due to these things, your article will quickly lose its rankings and with it, all articles that are based on it will be affected.
This is at least in theory.
Precisely the reason why false news can be number one in Google just for a day.
So, as you can see, it is not only about copying content. It is mainly about providing the best information possible and experts will usually have the same opinion when it comes to what the quality information is.
Your strategy in practice
Finally we come to the thing you’ve all been waiting for.
Let’s see how you can use co-citation and co-occurrence to your advantage.
Co-citation is usually out of your hands. You cannot decide whether a person links to you or not.
It is even harder to be on the same page as other authoritative websites. Anyway, best way to be co-cited with others is to create top notch content.
As I mentioned, I see co-citation as a concept that should prevent/reduce amount of paid links. Even so, I feel that in future people will do link building both to their own website and other valuable resources.
Good way to be mentioned or linked to from the same page as other experts is if you participate in industry roundups. This way, you will immediately be perceived as someone on the same level as others.
Have in mind that every roundup has an underlying topic so it is expected that this will boost your domain for a particular set of keywords.
Unlike co-citation, co-occurrence is definitely something you can control.
Like always you should produce easy-to-read, high quality content. Only now you will also need to pay attention to other valuable resources within your industry and track words that they’ve used in their own articles.
As bad as this sounds, with co-occurrence Google is stimulating repetitive articles. If you see an info on one blog, you’ve seen it on all of them.
There are several good reasons why Google turned to these two concepts. However, this also means that articles will become boring in future.
Basic premise remains: create high quality content and try to end on the same pages as the big fishes!
What is your personal opinion of co-occurrence and co-citation? Share it in the comment section below!