Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) – How The Right Words Make Your Website Work
There’s something perverse about SEO. It’s technical, highly complex and, as soon as you smugly think you’ve finally (sort of) got the hang of it, some other sneaky little three-lettered abbreviation Ninjas its way into proceedings. It’s like the JAWS of the digital marketing world. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, daaaa dum…..daaaa dum…. oh look here comes Latent Semantic Indexing.
It’s just as well SEO works so darn well or we really wouldn’t like it very much at all!
And that is the absolute truth of it – SEO does work well. Really well, in fact. And if you’re not making the best use of it, then you are missing out on one of the best marketing opportunities to come around in a very long time.
Because we’re so passionate about SEO – and digital strategy in general – we want to spread a little of the love around (we’re awesome like that). We know that the more you know and understand about the process – even if you’re a newbie – the more you’ll appreciate the truly amazing things it can do for your business.
So let’s get stuck into showing you how you can turn your humble web pages into a flashing neon sign of irresistible magnetism for search engines.
One of the ways to do this is with Latent Semantic Indexing.
What is Latent Semantic Indexing?
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is very helpful if you’re a search engine, and it’s absolutely fantastic if you’re a website. Why? Because it gives search engines a far better understanding of what people are actually looking for when they type in a specific search query. It also helps them “see” more clearly what a website is all about. This means that they can deliver more relevant, accurate and appropriate search results.
Latent Semantic Indexing does all this by using a specific, and very clever, part of the overall search algorithm. It not only identifies the words in a search but also finds words related to the original search words. It can identify synonyms, and understand the relationship between words, LSI gives search engines the tools it needs to interpret websites more comprehensively. This, in turn, gives you a far better user experience.
The Evolution of The Keyword
Search engines are very clever, and they are continually getting cleverer, but, let’s face it, they’re not people. They don’t process information in the same way we do, and they can’t use context or association to understand language.
People, for example, can hear the phrase “SMS bundle” or “free app to download” and know that the conversation concerns smartphones – without actually hearing the word “smartphone”.
Search engines? Not so much.
Traditionally, search engines processed queries very literally. If you wanted information about different smartphone packages available, for example, you would have to use specific keywords so that the search engines knew exactly what you were looking for.
The beauty of Latent Semantic Indexing is that it gives your search context so that search engines have a better understanding of what you want to know. How? By using LSI keywords – which are actually terms or phrases – that are related semantically to the main keyword.
So a website with the main keyword phrase “cell phone packages” might have the LSI keywords “free data,” “network option” or “smartphone choices”. These LSI Keywords give context to your website. They expand its reach and increase its chances of being found by search engines.
How Do I Know What LSI Keywords To Use?
Great question! And fortunately, one that’s not difficult to answer. There are several methods you can use to find LSI keywords, including:
Google’s “Related Searches.”
You may not have a clue what that is, but bear with us, you’re about to find out.
Try this right now:
Go to Google and enter your primary search keyword, then look at what happens when you press enter. Let’s say our primary keyword was smartphones. When you type that into Google’s search bar, you get a page of search results. Scroll down to the bottom of that page, and you’ll find a very handy little box called “Searches related to Smartphones”.
Among these, you’ll find “smartphones price list,” “sim free smartphones,” “smartphones for sale” and “smartphone definition”. These are all commonly searched-for phrases, so are automatically phrases you want to include in your website content. (Provided, of course, you have a website that is primarily about smartphones!)
But you get the idea. Whatever primary keyword you want to be “found” for, using the Related Searches phrases throughout your content is like putting a lumo vest of awesomeness on your website – Pow! Suddenly you’re a whole lot more visible to search engines than you were before.
Google Keyword Planner
This is as easy as creating a Google Adwords account (which can be linked to any existing Google account, such as Gmail, for example), and typing your primary keyword into the keyword planner.
Once you’ve done this, click on the tab that says “Ad group ideas”. Then click on the group that relates as closely as possible to your content’s topic. Preferably one with a lot of average monthly searches and not much competition. The keyword list you then see is a great source of potential LSI keywords.
Keyword Generator for Latent Semantic Indexing
There are many free LSI tools which do exactly what they say on the tin! All you have to do is enter your keyword into the search area of the generator and you’ll get a comprehensive list of possible LSI keywords.
Okay, So Now What?
Don’t worry, we won’t get you all dressed up and then leave you with nowhere to go! Once you have your list of potential LSI keywords, there is all sorts of fun stuff you can do with them:
Choose the keywords that will fit best into your content. If you’re writing about “The 10 Best Apps For Your Smartphone” don’t pick the LSI keyword “smartphone prices”. It’s also important to think about who is likely to be searching for your website, and why. Are they looking for information? What problem do they have and how can you solve it?
Getting more in touch with your potential customers through aligning your keywords with their search habits will help you attract the right people to your page.
Work Your Website
Once you’ve decided on a few relevant LSI keywords, you need to make sure they appear throughout your website content. There are many ways you can do this in addition to just using them in your actual copy. Remember the golden rule here, though – no keyword stuffing! Stuffing is for cushions and pillows. And, if you’re that way inclined, for your roast chicken, but it’s definitely not for websites!
In addition to your web page copy, LSI keywords can be used in header tags, meta title tags, subheadings, meta descriptions and anchor text.
In all the excitement of using newly discovered LSI keywords, don’t forget to make sure your primary keyword is still the boss! So use that one as a priority and work your LSI keywords around it.
At Mind Map Marketing, we know a lot about LSI and how you can use it to make your website pop.
Actually, we know quite a bit about Digital Marketing in general and SEO in particular. So if you’re looking for help with improving the visibility and rankings of your website, chat to us.
We’re lovely. Just saying.