Over 200 ranking factors go into where you end up in the world’s favorite search engine. That said, keywords still make the internet go ‘round — for now. It’s this fact that makes Latent Semantic Indexing keywords or LSI keywords all the more important.
Here’s what I’ll cover in this blog article:
- What LSI Keywords Are and Why They’re Important
- Where to Find These Keywords
- How to Use Them Effectively (and grow traffic)
Let’s get into it.
What are latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords?
According to Search Engine Journal:
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a mathematical method used to determine the relationship between terms and concepts in content.Search Engine Journal
Essentially, Google looks at the correlation between words on an entire web page. Not just target and secondary keywords, but the algorithm does its best to see what the piece of content is trying to convey.
Things like synonyms, common phrases, and even closely related terms are all factored in to determine how well a page covers a particular topic (or topics).
LSI is a term to understand how your pages are ranked based on these factors.
So, what are LSI keywords?
LSI keywords are one of those things that are easy to explain, but difficult to master.
The LSI keywords are simply the words, phrases and synonyms that Google is looking to find on web pages that are related to the topic covered on the page.
Easy enough to understand. But finding those keywords and using them effectively is the part you really have to get down.
It’s not 2010.
You can’t “stuff” keywords onto a page, just because they’re loosely related and get a decent amount of searches per month.
We’ll cover just how to use them a bit further down, but first you have to find them. And it’s not just a matter of pulling up your keyword research tool. You have to get out your thinking caps and do the legwork yourself.
Let’s see how.
Where to find LSI keywords
When you do keyword research, even with a good tool, it doesn’t cover the LSI angle. Not yet, anyway.
Take a look at this search for real estate investing. It’s the first 10 results.
It’s likely that you’d find one of these top 10 to target. If it were me, I’d maybe compile the top 100 best real estate investing books to play off of keywords 8 and 10.
Then, you could do further research using your tool. But I’ve found that it doesn’t give you semantic language (the way people talk and type).
Searching for the two real estate book terms, I found too many keywords that you can’t really fit into a sentence.
Things such as:
- books real estate investing
- real estate investing books Australia
- real estate investment pitch book
This isn’t a guide to finding good secondary and tertiary keywords. And Google is honing in on natural language. Which means that forcing these awkward phrases into your blog posts will become less and less effective.
How to use LSI keywords
So, here’s how you find LSI keywords:
Step #1: Search for your target keywords in Google
Your primary and secondary keywords are important. If you have an established blog, I’d recommend going back through and doing this for all of your posts.
LeadFuze has seen some great results in our testing on using this method.
I searched both of the terms in our real estate book example, then, scrolled to the bottom. Here’s what I found.
You can do this two to three levels in, meaning, that you could search for “best real estate books for beginners” and see the results in the bottom of Google. All of those sweet semantic ketywords, ready to be added and tell Google that you are the right source for the people on your topic — not just a couple of phrases that get searched a lot.
This can also be used to plug into your keyword research tool and see word counts, but that’s less important.
Important: This entire tactic is to prove to Google that you’re page is talking about a particular topic, not just trying to rank for a specific keyword.
Step #2: Search your post for these phrases
It doesn’t matter if the post is in WordPress, Google Docs, or Microsoft Word — you can search the page.
Should be “Command + F”, or “Ctrl + F”. Then, begin to type out the phrases you list out in your semantic research. If you find them, great. But, you’ll likely find they aren’t there.
Next, it’s just a matter of adding them.
Step #3: Add the keywords carefully
Using LSI keywords is both for older content that’s been online a while and newer posts. Your strategy will vary ever-so-slightly.
Let’s break both down briefly.
With new content, you likely do your keyword research before you actually write the post. If you gather your topic and keywords, you should likewise do the LSI search, too. Next, you’ll construct an outline.
Here’s the benefit — the outline is easier with these words and phrases. Take a look at this screenshot of a search for email marketing.
If you’re writing a super guide for the subject, these keywords are what people want to know.
Here’s a sample outline:
Email Marketing Definition
- What is X and How Does it Work
- How to Do X
- [insert number] Strategies
- X Good Examples
- X Bad Examples
- [pick a number] Tips
- [insert number] Mistakes to Avoid
- How to Do X
How long does it take you to come up with an outline? Do you even do one? That took me less than a minute. Not because I write a lot — it was all the LSI keywords. With a good outline, the post is much easier to write.
One of the coolest things we’re doing at LeadFuze is optimizing/adding to existing content and then re-releasing it on the blog.
Most of our posts are 1500+ words surrounding a particular topic. Research says the average #1 spot in Google has more than 1800 words. We combine the need for longer content alongside the LSI keywords.
Important: Don’t change content too much. Unless your content is bad and needs changing, you should attempt to keep things in a similar format.
Add your newfound semantic keywords where it makes sense. If it’s a significant phrase (e.g. “email marketing tips”) give it a subheading and add a couple hundred words of text. If you only slip in all of the phrases without making the content more valuable — the post could be keyword stuffed.
Finally, once the post is revamped, it’s time to re-release. Just put a new publish date on it and push it out to your list.
Use LSI keywords to improve traffic
Let’s recap. Latent semantic indexing keywords (LSI keywords) are phrases that people and Google users are naturally using to search for certain topics. Content that uses these phrases helps show that you know about the subject.
Everybody can optimize. Install Yoast SEO, make it evergreen, and then promote your blog post and get links. Everyone does this, but using LSI keywords can both give you an edge in the search engine result pages (SERPs) and make your content more engaging.