LSI gets thrown around a lot these days. It is an approach to SEO to help you boost your web page rankings faster.
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. It is a buzzword in SEO, but it is important. Today, I will tell you what it is and why it is important.
I will discuss:
- What is LSI?
- Why do search engines use it?
- What are the benefits of LSI keywords?
- How do you find LSI keywords?
By the end of this tutorial, you should be ready to use LSI each time you publish a post. This should help you look better in the eyes of search engines, and help you boost your rankings.
What is LSI?
LSI has a different meaning between SEO and its academic counterpart in linguistics. We will just focus on the SEO definition.
LSI is a process where search engines determine how words are related to each other. With mathematical calculations, the computers can understand what the content of a web page is about.
There was a time when publishers stuffed their websites with keywords, and this resulted in poor user experience. What happened was that Google was showing content to users just because the content was rich with keywords.
Over time, Google realized that it had to look for new ways to analyze what a blog post is about, and then use that analysis to decide the content matches which the user is searching for.
So, if you write about Apple, Google has to determine if your content is about the company or for fruit.
How does it know?
So, let us say that your keyword is “benefits of apple,” Google will scan your content for other words, which are called LSI.
Here are some examples:
- Doctor away
As you can see, these words tell Google that your content is not about the company, but rather the fruit. On the other hand, if you used words like Steve Jobs, Wozniak, or iPhone 5, Google knows that your content is about the company that sells phones, computers, and tablets.
LSI was first introduced in 2004. At that time, the Google search only relied on main keywords, and the results of the search pages were not as relevant to the user’s expectations. At the time of its release, Google was able to give its users more value.
Why is LSI Important?
LSI makes your web pages more cohesive, at least in the eyes of machines. You see, human beings can easily interpret the words that they read, but robots don’t.
In the early days of the internet, many website owners tried to manipulate search engines. They stuffed their web pages with keywords, along with their title tags, meta-descriptions, and much more.
The result was that the content was a jumble of words with no meaningful content. Despite this, the Google search engine was forced to offer this content because, in its mind, it has the keywords that a user is looking for.
Today, your content will no longer rank unless you use LSI.
Because it is a mandatory requirement for Google’s algorithm to rank a page.
Even if you use the keyword “Katy Perry and Russell Brand Divorce” on your title and meta, the algorithm will still explore your content to know if it is about Katy Perry’s divorce from Russell.
If the robots do not find any other words in the article related to your main keywords, it is not going to find value in your content. As such, do not expect the algorithm to show your article on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
What are the Benefits of LSI Keywords?
So, what benefits can LSI keywords do for you? We know that it helps you boost your page rankings but how?
Here are the benefits of using LSI keywords:
- Google understands your content better – with LSI, it is easier for Google to get the context of your content. As such, the robot knows what your message is, and who your intended readers are. For example, if your keyword is PS5, and your content has words like “games” and “Xbox,” Google knows that your page is about PlayStation, not Photoshop.
- LSI allows you to understand user intent – if you search for the right LSI, you will also understand what people are searching for on Google. There are tools like LSI graph where you type your main keyword, and the tool will tell you what LSI keywords are important for readers and search engines.
- Your page will appear in different keyword searches – at the bottom of a Google search, you will see related search phrases. These are both LSI and main keywords. If your content has these words, search engines will show your article not just for the main keyword you are targeting, but also for these related phrases.
As you can see, the use of LSI is not just for Google, but also for you. Researching for LSI keywords is the first step to using the right ones, and this is going to make your pages better as far as search engines are concerned.
How Do You Find LSI keywords?
There is no definitive guide to find the right LSI keywords.
Why is this?
Because LSI keywords are still keywords. They just happen to not be your main target keyword.
Here are my recommendations on how you can use LSI keywords in your content:
- Google related searches – use your main keyword in the Google search box. Hit enter. Once the results are in, scroll down to the very bottom of the first page. There is an area that says “searches related to.” Use the keywords in that area in your blog post.
- Google Trends – this is a free tool from Google where you can see how your chosen keyword is trending in terms of volume. Once you have searched for a term, scroll down, and you will see what other search phrases people are using. You will even see which cities and countries have the highest search volume for specific keywords.
- LSI Graph – the last the I recommend is LSI Graph. It is a free tool where you can type a keyword, and then it will tell you related keywords that have a high search volume. Pick three to five of these LSI keywords and then use them in your article.
You can also use SEO tools if you want. But these tools are expensive. For one, SEMRush and AHREFs, the two biggest SEO tools out there, cost about $99 per month.
If your blog is not yet earning money, you need to seriously manage your expenses. There are many free keyword tools that you can use out there. Make do with them and then only pay for an expensive SEO tool if you are already earning.
LSI keywords are still keywords. However, they are not your main target keyword for ranking. As such, you do not have to use the LSI in your title tag and meta.
Instead, sprinkle LSI where they are appropriate. Use at least three of them but make sure you do not stuff your blog post with LSI keywords, or Google will start thinking that you are keyword stuffing your content with it.
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