As Google continues to dominate search engine use, ensuring your SEO strategy is robust is the best way to gain online visibility for your brand, reach its target audience and drive leads. Its search algorithm has also come a long way since the days when keyword stuffing drives the competition to rank in top-searched keywords.
Today, Google’s algorithm is smart enough to understand the context of any page. It does this by looking for closely related words of the search query in the webpage content, which is also known as Latent Semantic Indexing – or LSI keywords.
What is Latent Semantic Indexing?
LSI keywords refer to words or phrases that are linguistically related to the main keywords and core topic you’re focusing on your content. They aren’t necessarily synonyms, but they help to build context around the message you’re creating to engage readers.
For instance, if your article topic is on wedding bands (referring to the ring), you will use multiple related keywords such as “diamond rings”, “bridal jewellery”, and “wedding bands for men and women”, which shouldn’t be confused with wedding bands related to music and live entertainment.
Google compares the relationships between different terms and concepts to understand the content on a webpage so it can return search results with contextual relevance that a reader was hoping to find, and at the same time, rank it higher on the SERPs.
Why are LSI keywords important in SEO?
When LSI was introduced as a ranking factor, Google’s crawling methods changed which impacted a website’s SEO strategy.
- Google understands pages better
Modern Google search algorithms prioritise a website’s overall context to understand at a much deeper level over looking for multiple occurrences of a specific keyword.
This is a big change as compared to the heavy use of keyword density back in the days. If your keyword didn’t appear numerous times in your content, Google wouldn’t understand that your page is about that term. Now, Google aims to figure out a page’s overall topic – using LSI keywords and penalise pages that are overloaded with keywords.
- Google helps users find what they are looking for
By using LSI keywords in your content, you improve the relevancy signal that Google uses to rank a page. The search engine can now detect topics with words that frequently occur together and differentiate between words based on the tiniest details, for example, literal and figurative expressions. This encourages websites to provide more relevant and meaningful content.
- Google will rank more relevant content
Without incorporating enough LSI keywords, your content may lack readability and looks unnatural. But by using related words, your page gets to appear in more relevant results as well as in semantically-related searches. This provides a better search experience for users, which means improved search visibility and SEO traffic. A website has a higher chance of ranking high, earning impressions, and converting sales if it has relevant and succinct content.
How to find LSI keywords?
Google keyword planner is a free tool that helps web marketers identify the appropriate keywords to use, which also assists in optimising ad spend. This classic keyword research tool will help you to look for LSI keywords – when you enter your target keyword, it will suggest the relevant keywords as well as commonly related terms and phrases that are being actively used in Google queries.
Log into your Adwords account. Select Tools from the main menu and click on Keyword Planner on the left-hand side of the drop-down menu.
Select Find new keywords and enter your target keyword into the Keyword Planner. It will then generate a list of related keywords that you can use to supplement your content and help you reach people who would be interested in your product or service.
For instance, below is what you will see if you search for “SEO Services”. You can also find out on the average monthly searches to know how competitive each keyword is. In addition, this will give you an insight of what people have in mind when they search for “SEO Services”, which lets you better understand user intent.
While there might be many LSI keywords to choose from, identify selected search terms that are the most aligned with page content where they can be a natural fit and will increase your content’s topic relevance to earn more traffic.
How to optimise your site’s content using LSI keywords?
Now that you know how it works and you have a list of suitable LSI keyword options, it’s time to add them to your content.
- Use it in any part of your page
LSI keywords found in title tags, meta descriptions, subheadings and throughout the body text will be crawl by Google, which informs the algorithm what your content is about and how relevant it is to the search query.
If your LSI keyword happens to be a long-tail keyword, it can also be used in the page title. For instance, your main keyword is “wedding band”. One of your LSIs is “wedding bands for men and women” which can be used in the page title, and help you rank for both search terms. Use it in your meta descriptions to draw the attention of searchers, but avoid stuffing too many keywords that will hurt its readability. You can also include relevant LSI keywords in your image alt texts to send strong signals to Google.
- Supplement your main keyword phrase with LSI keywords
LSI keywords act as a supplement to your target keywords which helps in strengthening the context and semantic relation of the content to its topic. The algorithm will be able to determine relevance and identifies your page as quality content, which attracts leads and increases the conversion rate.
For example, if your main keyword is “Apple iPhone”, you can use LSI keywords such as “gadgets” or “lightning port” in your content.
- Include short and long-tail keywords in your content strategy
Short-tail keywords refer to search phrases with only one or two words, while long-tail contains three or more, which often shows a searcher’s intentions like “how”, “what”, “why”.
Incorporating these keywords in an optimised site provides better ranking for those exact search terms – and LSI keywords come in to help search engines understand what your page is about. It will broaden the search result and adds more context to the keywords, making it easier for your page to rank for short- and long-tail keywords.
- Focus on context and readability
Repeating the same word or phrase too often makes a content sound unnatural and hard to read. Focus on the reader’s experience when spreading LSI keywords throughout the body of your content. Make sure it makes sense to the readers.
If you’re unable to create natural texts for these keywords, your content may not be sufficiently comprehensive and will require revision. But if you are already writing with the aim of providing value to readers, you will wind up using related keywords in a natural way throughout your text.
With over 3.5 billion searches processed in Google each day, the search engine is always looking to improve user experience and return relevant results that match what users are looking for. This is precisely why LSI keywords have become such a large part of Google’s ranking factors, and SEO experts would agree that incorporating LSI keywords successfully will be beneficial as part of their SEO strategy.
It may take some practice getting the hang of these tactics and strategies – let a digital marketing agency do the heavy lifting for you so you can be assured of providing meaningful, relevant content to users and improve your search visibility.