What are LSI Keywords? Latent Semantic Indexing Explained

Search engines have become intelligent. For visitors to find you, it’s now essential to know what LSI keywords are. Here, latent semantic keywords are explained.

Your LSI guide to switch on your content strategy

“What are LSI keywords?” is a question that I’m asked often. I think it’s about time I explained latent semantic keywords, and how to find them – because if you aren’t using them, your online content strategy could be suffering.

Why you need latent semantic keywords

It used to be that online content producers needed to consider only a single keyword when writing blogs and web content. The more you used that keyword in a piece of content, the higher your page could be ranked. This is no longer the case.

Search engines have become intelligent. They look for meaning, context, and relevance. Now, focusing on a single keyword – and stuffing your content with that keyword – is more likely to drop you down the ranks. You’ll be lost in the crowd. What you need is LSI keywords.

So, what are LSI keywords?

LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords are the key to getting found by search engines (pun intended!). In layman’s language, LSI keywords are words, terms, or phrases that are directly related to the context of your content. Whether short tail or long tail, LSI keywords help search engines determine that your content is relevant to what someone is looking for.

How do LSI keywords help search engines discover your content?

Think about what you are writing, and the audience you want to attract. If your blog is about Apple products, you will probably use the word ‘Apple’. But how do you let Google and other search engines know that you are not writing about the fruit? The answer is that it will look for associated words that put your content into context, such as:

  • Computer(s)
  • iPhone(s)
  • Tablet(s)
  • iPad(s)

If it finds words such as nutrition, diet, recipe, and so on, Google will consider that you are writing about ‘apple’ the fruit.

In a nutshell, LSI keywords are variations and contextual terms related to your main keyword.

How do LSI keywords improve your SERP ranking?

Google hates content that is keyword stuffed. Now, when a surfer keys in a search term, Google seeks to match that search with content that is relevant. Google’s search algorithms are intelligent, and becoming more so with every search made. It understands what the surfer is looking for.

Using associated keywords like this helps creating more meaning for your content, but be careful.  Keyword stuffing is bad regardless if it’s the same keyword or multiple. Make sure you are writing relevant content for your visitors, and you may even find that you attract visitors searching under phrases that you have used as LSI keywords. This all helps to push your content up the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Where can you find LSI keywords?

There are several tools to help you find LSI keywords; some are free, others paid for. Whichever you use, you will need to use your judgement to decide which LSI keywords are most relevant to your content and intended audience. A good place to start is Google Search itself.

Using Google Search to find LSI keywords

When you key in your search term (or main keyword), Google provides a handy list of LSI keywords. Scroll down to the bottom of the search page, and you will find a list of searches related to your search term.

You may be able to use these search terms in your content. And here’s another trick: click on these related search terms, and scroll down to the bottom of the page again. You’ll find more search terms that you can consider using. Repeat this a few times, and you could have a list of dozens of potential LSI keywords to use in your content. Your judgement will tell you which are best.

That’s it! LSI keywords explained.

What methods do you use to uncover LSI keywords? Have you noticed your pages dropping down in the SERP rankings? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll help tackle those issues.

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