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How TextRank Algorithm Helps in Effortless Keyword Extraction

April 5, 2024
min read

In the age of information overload, efficiently extracting crucial details from text underpins the success of various applications. TextRank, an unsupervised keyword extraction algorithm, is a powerful tool for this task. Inspired by PageRank, the TextRank algorithm leverages a graph-based approach to analyze the relationships between words within a document.

TextRank assigns a score to each word by considering these connections, highlighting the most informative terms that capture the document's essence. It proves invaluable in the Natural Language Processing (NLP) field by enabling tasks like information retrieval and summarization by pinpointing the core thematic elements within textual data.

TextRank Algorithm Explained

TextRank probes into the heart of a document by employing a graph-based approach to identify the most significant words. Let us explore its core functionalities:

1. Building the Text Graph: The TextRank algorithm constructs a graph representing each word or phrase within the document as a node. The connections between these nodes, known as edges, reflect the relationships and similarities between the words. TextRank establishes stronger connections between words that frequently co-occur or share semantic closeness.

2. Ranking Through Iteration: Inspired by PageRank's approach to ranking webpages, TextRank employs an iterative process to assign a score to each word (node) within the graph. In each iteration, a word's score is calculated based on the scores of its connected words. Intuitively, words with connections to high-scoring nodes (frequently occurring or semantically important words) see their scores rise. This iterative process continues until the scores converge, resulting in a final ranking for each word.

3. Revealing Key Concepts: Following the ranking process, the TextRank algorithm identifies the words with the highest scores. These words are considered the most important keywords within the document, encapsulating the document's core themes and concepts. Leveraging this ranking allows users to gain valuable insights into the document's content and extract the most informative keywords for various NLP applications.


TextRank's strength lies in its ability to move beyond simple word frequency and into the semantic relationships between words. The graph-based approach allows the TextRank algorithm to identify frequently occurring words and the most interconnected and thematically relevant terms within a document. 

Implementing TextRank for Keyword Extraction

TextRank's forte is its ability to move beyond simple word frequency and dig into the interconnectivity of words within a document. Here is how to leverage TextRank for keyword extraction using Python libraries:

*SpaCy Integration:

PyTextRank, a Python implementation, is readily available for seamless integration with spaCy. After installing `pytextrank` and spaCy (`pip3 install pytextrank spacy`), you can incorporate TextRank into your spaCy pipeline. A glimpse of the code is provided below:


import spacy

import pytextrank

nlp = spacy.load("en_core_web_sm") # Load spaCy model

nlp.add_pipe("textrank") # Add TextRank to the pipeline

text = "Your text here"

doc = nlp(text)

# Access top phrases using doc._.phrases[:n] where n is the desired number

for phrase in doc._.phrases[:10]:



This code snippet showcases how to process text using spaCy, which automatically applies TextRank. You can then access the top-ranked phrases using `doc._.phrases[:n]`, where `n` represents the desired number of keywords to extract.

Exploring Beyond SpaCy

While spaCy offers a convenient approach, the TextRank algorithm can potentially be implemented with other NLP libraries like NLTK. This may involve manually constructing the word graph and implementing the PageRank algorithm for ranking keywords. However, spaCy's integration offers a more user-friendly and efficient workflow. 

Understanding TextRank Output

The TextRank algorithm assigns a score to each keyword within a document, reflecting its significance based on word relationships. The output typically takes the form of a table with the following:

  • Keyword: The extracted keyword phrase potentially contains multiple words.
  • DocumentNumber: (Applicable for multi-document scenarios) The document number where the keyword is found.
  • Score: A numerical value representing the keyword's importance within the document.

The TextRank algorithm prioritizes keywords that frequently co-occur or are connected to other high-scoring keywords. This technique goes beyond just word frequency and identifies thematically relevant terms.

Consider the following TextRank output snippet, for instance:

| Keyword | Score |


| minimal generating sets | 0.8 |

| linear Diophantine equations | 0.75 |

| systems of linear constraints | 0.7 |

In this example, "minimal generating sets" receives the highest score, indicating its strong connection to other significant keywords like "linear Diophantine equations" and "systems of linear constraints." TextRank algorithm recognizes these terms as forming a central theme within the document.

Analyzing the keywords and their corresponding scores provides valuable insights into the document's core content and the most prominent topics discussed. 

Fine-tuning TextRank Parameters

TextRank's effectiveness hinges on selecting the right parameters. While prior works applied these somewhat arbitrarily, this study emphasizes the importance of fine-tuning for optimal keyword extraction. 

Here is how parameter adjustments can influence results:

  • Co-occurrence Window Size: This parameter defines the range of surrounding words considered when establishing word relationships. A larger window captures a broader context but might introduce noise. Conversely, a small window focuses on immediate neighbors, potentially missing important thematic connections.
  • Iteration Number: This value determines how many times TextRank refines keyword scores. More iterations can lead to more accurate scores, but excessive iterations might result in diminishing returns.
  • Decay Factor: This factor controls the influence of a word's co-occurring words on its score. A higher decay factor reduces the impact of distant neighbors, emphasizing the importance of closer connections.

Careful adjustment of these parameters can enhance the precision and recall of extracted keywords. 

TextRank vs. Other Methods

The TextRank algorithm stands out from traditional methods like TF-IDF (Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency) by considering word frequency and the relationships between words. While TF-IDF might prioritize frequent terms that might not be conceptually central, TextRank can identify the most interconnected and thematically relevant keywords.

Similarly, YAKE (Yet Another Keyword Extractor) offers unsupervised keyword extraction but focuses on keyphrases and does not leverage graph-based analysis. It can be advantageous for tasks like short text summarization, where keyphrases might be sufficient. However, the ability of the TextRank algorithm to analyze word relationships makes it a strong choice for in-depth content analysis and uncovering the core themes within a document. 

TextRank in Action

TextRank's deep understanding of the document's thematic structure makes it valuable for many industries and tasks.

Information Retrieval

  • Scientific Literature: TextRank can be employed to analyze research papers, pinpointing the core topics and relationships between concepts. Researchers can efficiently navigate vast amounts of scientific literature and identify relevant studies.
  • Patent Analysis: Patent documents often contain complex technical jargon. TextRank algorithm can help identify key technical terms and their interconnections, aiding patent examiners in understanding the novelty and inventive aspects of patent applications.

Document Summarization

  • News Articles: News organizations can automatically generate concise summaries of lengthy articles by extracting the most important keywords and concepts using TextRank, keeping readers informed on the go.
  • Legal Documents: Legal contracts and agreements can be lengthy and intricate. TextRank algorithm can be used to summarize these documents, highlighting the key terms and clauses and facilitating faster review and comprehension for legal professionals.

The Bottom Line

TextRank applies a graph-based approach to analyze word relationships, revealing the core themes within a document. TextRank offers valuable applications in information retrieval, document summarization, and various NLP tasks. 

MarkovML, a cutting-edge AI platform, seamlessly integrates TextRank's capabilities. Incorporating the TextRank algorithm into your workflow allows you to acquire a deeper understanding of your text data, indicating hidden themes and relationships.

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