Latent Semantic Indexing.
Sounds complicated. Even by SEO standards.
Maybe you’ve heard the term before. Maybe you’ve avoided diving deeper into what it means. And how using Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords can be even more effective than using individual keywords.
But we assure you. Where LSI keywords are concerned, you have nothing to fear. They’re your friends, in fact. So let’s take that deep, latent, semantic dive. And learn everything there is to learn about LSI keywords. And how they can have a positive influence on your search engine rankings.
What is LSI?
(LSI) is a mathematical method search engine algorithms use to scan data. A natural language processing technology able to recognise specific underlying relationships between certain words. Like synonyms.
Or words like “light” and “house” that have simple definitions of their own. But assume a new meaning once compounded into “lighthouse”.
LSI improves the accuracy of data retrieval by attempting to better understand the structure of language. And how people use it.
And it’s invaluable to SEO. Because the better Google is able to understand your content, the higher Google is going to rank it.
What are LSI keywords?
Dictionary.com defines latent as, “present but not visible, apparent or actualised; existing as potential”.
And semantic as an adjective meaning, “of, relating to, or arising from the different meanings of words or other symbols”.
So what makes a word latently semantic then?
LSI keywords are words, or word groups, that are related to your primary keywords.
They can be words that share context with primary keywords, words often used together with primary keywords or words with special relevance to a page’s theme, topic or content.
The LSI mathematical method puts a greater emphasis on synonyms and phrases than it does on individual and specific keywords. Because a semantic search isn’t looking for just keywords. It’s looking to determine the intent and contextual meaning of a user’s search.
Today, almost all websites use some kind of SEO. Even if it’s just basic stuff. So it’s likely you and the competition are chasing the same or similar keywords. With LSI, multiple keywords and semantically related keywords help you stay a step ahead of competitors. And rank better with search engines.
Why you should use LSI keywords
Keywords are the foundation of your search engine ranking. But keyword stuffing is dead. Search engines are evaluating content based on its overall context. Not keyword density. So overusing keywords is only going to reflect poorly on your site in the eyes of the algorithm.
Using LSI keywords is a tactic that can help you reach a desired result without breaching search engine etiquette.
Remember, you’re writing for people. Not bots. And even the machines recognise that. It’s Google’s goal is to deliver the most relevant, highest quality content it can return.
So the quality of your content should always be Priority #1. Because high quality content keeps users and search engines happy.
LSI keywords improve the quality of content with meaningful phrases and semantic language. And help search engines determine the purpose and value of your content.
Where you can find LSI keywords
Now you know what LSI keywords are. And why you should use them. But how do you go about finding them?
The good news is, there are lots of excellent tools out there that can help you generate the perfect LSI keywords for your content.
You can try Google Keyword Planner for linking synonyms to main keywords. Answer The Public, a visual keyword research tool that supplies relevant LSI keyword options. Or LSI Graph, a tool specifically designed for LSI keywords search.
Website Auditor can help determine which LSI keywords your competitors are currently using, and how often they use them, by using the Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF) analysis, a tool that defines the relevancy of content for visitors on the basis of different keywords placed around the main keyword.
These are all kinds of ways to get ideas for LSI keywords. So if digital tools aren’t your thing, there’s a much simpler way of creating LSI keywords – Google’s search result page.
Every time you write your keyword in the search tab, you’ll get search suggestions. Plus related searches at the bottom of the results page.
Take the time to get creative with your search, and you’re sure to find the most effective variety of LSI keywords for your content.
How to use LSI keywords
Once upon a time, keyword density was the only metric search engines had to measure the relevance of a page to a search query. But it wasn’t long before people found a way to abuse the system by overloading content with irrelevant and repetitious keywords.
And that’s what caused search engine algorithms to start keying in on LSI keywords instead.
There’s no hard and fast rule to the number of LSI keywords you should use in an article. But the copy should always feel natural. And not like an effort was made to squeeze certain synonyms in as often as you could. Remember – people not machines.
Pepper LSI keywords throughout the article the same as you would primary keywords. Try combining LSI keywords and long-tail keywords. Or using them in places like your first heading, anchor text, image alt text, meta description and even the page name.
LSI keywords complement main keywords as specific keyword variations. They help eliminate keyword stuffing. And better explain your content to search engines. Which helps rank your content higher with Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Using Google Analytics is a great way to check which keywords are driving traffic to your web page. It’s information you can apply to your next piece of content. And use to determine future LSI keywords. Which will help increase organic traffic, pull more visitors and earn your site higher rankings with search engines.
Users and search engines agree. Nothing beats original, high quality content that’s relevant, informative and reads natural. And meaningful LSI keywords are a tool that make it easier for you to create this kind of content.
Which will come in handy. Because the more relevant content you’re able to offer users, the better you’ll rank with search engines. And that’s what it’s all about.