Latent Semantic Indexing and the Art of Conversation

Post image

What is Latent Semantic Indexing and Why, Oh Why, Do we Have to Learn It?

Don’t worry. It won’t hurt you. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is not such a difficult concept to grasp, however, if you thought you could coast through the next life stage of SEO and not have to learn what it is or how to apply it to your website, you’d be doing your business a major disservice. Taking advantage of LSI will boost your SEO, improve your search engine rankings, and improve your content.

So What Is It? In Short, it All Boils Down to Math.

According to Search Engine Journal (because they explain it better than I ever could), LSI “is a mathematical method used to determine the relationship between terms and concepts in content. The contents of a webpage are crawled by a search engine and the most common words and phrases are collated and identified as the keywords for the page.”

In English: Latent Semantic Indexing looks at your content as a whole to rank and index your webpage, rather than sift out keywords or phrases. In other words, robots are getting closer and closer to thinking like people. LSI requires the ability to understand concepts and to piece together groups of words to establish a greater meaning. For example, if your title contains the key phrase self-publishing, Google will typically rank your content higher if use LSI keywords such as free self-publishing, ebook publishers list, and amazon create space. 

latent semantic indexing is a mathematical algorithm
Who said math was useless for real life?

Why is LSI So Important?

The core principle guiding search engine optimization is user experience. As long as the end-user is happy, Google is happy. But Google (and other search engines) understand that people are all different. No one is going to search for self-publishing in the same way. Someone might type in “publish my own book” or “publish independently.” Without LSI, your content titled “Self-Publishing on a Shoestring Budget” may not necessarily be viewed by a huge chunk of people who are essentially looking for exactly what you posted. LSI keywords make your content more visible to more people.

And isn’t that what we’re all after?

Oops...sorry.
Oops…sorry.

How Do I Use Latent Semantic Keywords in My Content?

Latent Semantic Indexing is the antidote to keyword stuffing or spammy content. Since Google has long since punished websites that produce content with overstuffed keywords, you will need to diversify and expand your vocabulary. I’m not suggesting you pull out your dusty old thesaurus or worry about brainstorming for the right semantic keywords. You can use a free LSI generator like this one.

What Will LSI Do For My Content?

Never mind that your rankings will suffer if you go the outdated keyword stuffing route. Think of how rich and interesting (and shareable) your content will be if you didn’t have to worry about placing an exact keyword or phrase over and over again into your copy. Think of how natural your sentence structure will be, and how by using related keywords readers will be convinced that you know what you’re talking about.

giphy (3)

How Does LSI Relate to SEO?

It should be obvious by now that LSI will boost your SEO, both directly and indirectly. But, in summary:

  • As just mentioned, using latent semantic keywords will prevent you from ending up on Google’s naughty list. As long as you mix up your keywords, search engine crawlers should index you as a reputable site.
  • Content is king. Content marketing is here and it’s not going anywhere. What does high-quality content look like? Original, free from spelling or grammatical errors, and drafted as if there was no such thing as keyword indexing boosts your SEO.
  • The more semantic keywords are featured in your content, the more search results you’ll appear on. The more search results, the more traffic, the more traffic, the higher the conversions!
  • Hook readers with meta descriptions. Don’t jam the same keyword over and over again into your tiny character limit. This will give the reader a better sense of what your content is about.
  • Simply put, Using LSI keywords adheres to how web crawlers read and index content. By complying with these standards, you’re more likely to improve your search engine rankings.

giphy (4)

How is Your Content Marketing Working for You?

Are you producing content on a regular basis but not seeing the results you expected? Maybe your search engine ranking is okay but could use a real boost. Have you considered revamping your content to include latent semantic indexing keywords? Keeping up with Google’s SEO algorithms can be quite time-consuming, especially if you’re running a business at the same time. And juggling all the moving parts that make up good SEO can seem like a full-time job. There’s more to it than a simple latent semantic index keyword generator (although they certainly do help).

If you want your content marketing to push your website to the top of search engine result pages, considering hiring a professional SEO firm like Awkward Media. We approach SEO thoroughly and holistically using the most up-to-date SEO standards. Contact us today to speak with a team member.

Published by Genevieve Morrison

  • Very informative post Genevieve! But I was wondering, do you think keyword density still matters? if yes, what’s the preferable percentage for your main keyword?

    • Genevieve Morrison

      Hi Emmerey Rose,

      Great question and thanks for reading! When it comes to keyword density, you want to make sure that your keyword represents no more than 2–2.5% of your word count. WordPress plugins like Yoast are excellent because they tell you when you’ve used the term too many times. That’s the beauty of LSI: using similar search terms allows you to reach a wider audience without worrying that search engines will mark you as spam. Hope that answers your question.