What Are LSI Keywords And Do They Matter?
Head to any SEO-related website, and you will often find mentions of LSI keywords. Many ‘experts’ make the claim that LSI keywords are the key to ranking high in Google. This doesn’t tell the whole story. Before we dive into why it is probably worth getting a solid understanding of the ‘basics’.
What are LSI keywords?
Latent Semantic Index, or LSI for short, are words that are related to a core concept. For example, if we are talking about tools, then related words may be drills, screwdrivers, screws, drywall, etc.
Many ‘experts’ claims that Google considers LSI when ranking a website. However, Google claims that they do not. Although, it is likely that Google does consider LSI, but not really to the extent that ‘experts’ believe Google considers LSI.
How does LSI work?
It is impossible for us to go into depth on the specifics of how LSI works here. It is an incredibly technical subject. What we can do, however, is give you a brief idea of how it works in practice. To do that, we need to have a rough idea about the intentions of LSI: LSI provides a method that allows a searcher to find information, even if the information has not been indexed under the keyword they are searching for.
Let’s say, for instance; the word ‘Fall’. This word has a synonym; Autumn. It is also polysemic. This means that it can mean something completely different to what you are searching for. This means that if you are searching solely for the word ‘Fall’, you may never get the information that you want.
LSI is all about ensuring that when you search for something, you are getting relevant results and avoiding the ones that are completely meaningless.
How does LSI apply to searches?
Now, we could easily tell a computer which words are related to what. The problem is that this is incredibly time-consuming. It is a never-ending process, and we will never get it quite right.
LSI is a system that allows computers to ‘discover’ the meaning of a page based upon the words that are on it. For example; we mentioned the word ‘Fall’ previously. The LSI algorithm can look for words like ‘Autumn’, ‘Summer’ and ‘Seasons’ and determine that the page has been written about the season.
The idea behind LSI is that it will always deliver the right information to you. It will look beyond giving you ‘exact match’ results. It will look at the context behind the results that it is serving up. The more results the algorithm serves up, the smarter the computer will get, which means that it can continue to deliver relevant results.
Google doesn’t use LSI
This is a fact. Despite what everybody tells you, Google does not use LSI. Even if you do not believe Google when they say they do not use LSI, we have enough proof that they do not. This includes:
LSI is old technology
LSI is simply not cut out for the web. It was never made for indexing data sets like this, particularly when the data is so dynamic. Google is indexing billions and billions of pages, and they are being updated regularly. Even Google doesn’t have the processing power to run LSI on information like this.
LSI had a patent
The LSI patent may have expired now, but Google was serving up relevant search results before it expired. This is more than enough evidence that Google has it’s own technology and didn’t need LSI.
Is there a benefit to mentioning related words on a page?
Absolutely. Even though Google doesn’t use LSI, it still looks for related words to determine what a page is about. Google can look at related keywords on a page and determine exactly where it should be sitting in the search engines and for what results it appears in. In fact, Google algorithms are so smart that you could technically only mention your main keyword once, but the whole context of the page will be determined by the other words you have mentioned. You may even be able to obtain the top result for a search like this.
How do you find related words for your page?
In most cases, you probably won’t need to. This is assuming that you are writing about something that you know. It is likely that most related keywords will appear naturally in the content. You may want to put some of the techniques into action, though. This will ensure that you have covered every single base:
Read your content
Go through your content when you have written it. Think about other concepts that could potentially be included (if it is related to everything else on the page). Just one extra section in your content can give the page a lot more context, and it may result in it ranking higher. If something is ridiculously obvious to include and you haven’t included it, then it should probably be added to your article.
Look at the autocomplete
If you look at the autocomplete information for your keyword, you may be able to get a couple of ideas about the sorts of things that you could be included in your articles.
When you carry out a search for your keyword on Google, scroll to the bottom of the page. Look at related searches. This should give you an idea of what people are searching for, and maybe some ideas about how you can improve an article based around your keyword.
Use an LSI Keyword Tool
They don’t do what they say on the tin (i.e. they don’t use LSI technology), but they will give you a few suggestions for content you may want to include in your article.
Use a keyword checker tool
There are some online tools that will allow you to check which keywords a site is ranking for. Look at some of the top sites and see which keywords they incorporate and where they rank for them.
Look up your main keyword on Wikipedia. If there is a sidebar, go through the information. Google is likely using this when it comes to ranking websites. Don’t forget to read through the page for concepts to include in your articles.
You can safely ignore people who tell you that LSI keywords exist. They do not. What does exist, however, will be related keywords and concepts. Incorporate these into your articles, and you will notice a boost in your search engine position.