What are LSI keywords? Everyone seems to be talking about them…
…and for good reason.
It's the way search engines decide which pages are relevant to a given search query.
In this article I'm going to show you everything you need to know about LSI keywords and how to take advantage of them:
1. What Are LSI Keywords?
LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing) are keywords semantically related to your main keyword. A lot of people think that LSI keywords are synonyms. But this is incorrect. LSI keywords are simply words that are frequently found together because they share the same context.
For example, 'apple' and 'itunes' are LSI keywords because they share the same context and are frequently found together. But they are not synonyms.
Here are some examples of how LSI works.
Let’s say your page or blog post is about Cars (thanks to Nikolay for this example).
You could be writing about any of the following 5 meanings of ‘Cars’:
- Cars the vehicle
- Cars the animated Disney movie
- CARS, the Canadian Association for Rally Sports
- CARs, the Canadian Aviation Regulations
- (The) Cars, the American 1970s music band
How does Google know which meaning of ‘Cars’ is relevant for your page?
Google will be looking for LSI keywords on your page to decide which is the correct meaning:
- If it finds the words: 'vehicle', 'used', 'new', 'buy', 'sell', 'dealers', 'repair', your page is probably about cars, the vehicle
- If it finds the words: 'film', 'movie', 'produced by', 'directed and co-written by', 'motion picture', 'Walt Disney', your page is most likely about Cars, the movie
- If it finds the words: 'association', 'rally', 'sport', 'championship', 'Canadian', your page is probably about CARS, the Canadian Association for Rally Sports
- If it finds the words: 'aviation', 'regulations', 'administration', 'aerial', 'aerodromes', 'airports', your page is most likely about CARS, the Canadian Aviation Regulations
Here’s another example (thanks to Fedingo Marketing for this one):
Let’s say your page or blog post is about Apple.
How does Google know if you’re referring to the fruit or the company?
It looks for LSI keywords:
- If your page contains the words: 'baked apples', 'red apple', 'green apple', 'apple nutrition', 'fuji apples', 'honeycrisp apple', 'eating apple', your page is probably about apples, the fruit
- If your page contains the words: 'itunes', 'apple hulu', 'apple news', 'apple stores', 'apple iphone 5', 'apple new ipad', 'apple stock price', 'discount computers', your page is most likely about apple computers
So why did Google start using LSI keywords?
2. Why Does Google Use LSI Keywords?
There was a time when the only measure Google had for relevancy of a page to a given search query was keyword density.
As we all know, keyword density was horribly abused and spammed.
So Google moved away from keyword density and began looking at LSI keywords.
The reasoning was this:
A legitimate page about ‘Apple computers’ will likely contain a host of other words that are related to Apple computers (such as 'apple stores', 'apple iphone 5', 'apple new ipad', 'apple stock price', 'discount computers').
On the other hand, a keyword-stuffed page about ‘Apple computers’ will probably just contain that one keyword.
So LSI keywords provided Google with a way to sort the sheep from the goats.
But there’s another reason Google started using LSI keywords…
Latent Semantic Indexing helps Google to better understand the meaning of a search query and the meaning of a web page.
And that allows Google to improve the match between what people search for and what they find in the search results.
3. Hummingbird and LSI Keywords
In August of 2013 Google introduced the Hummingbird algorithm, sometimes called the semantic algorithm.
The Hummingbird algorithm focuses on synonyms and improves Google’s ability to understand the context of a web page.
Hummingbird is particularly interested in searcher intent.
Whereas previous algorithms focused on individual words in a search query, Hummingbird looks at each word within the context of the whole search query.
In other words, the Hummingbird algorithm is trying to understand meaning – it helps Google match user intent with search results.
The Hummingbird algorithm helps Google match user intent with search resultsCLICK TO TWEET
But how does this help me rank higher in the search results?
4. How Can LSI Keywords Improve Your Ranking?
Here are three ways LSI words will improve your SEO:
- Google is now looking at total context rather than keyword density. This means your page will rank higher for your main keyword because Google better understands the context of your page.
- Let’s say you’ve reached the limit for keyword density on your page – anymore repetitions of your keyword and you risk a Google penalty. With LSI keywords, you can safely keep adding closely related keywords.
- LSI keywords are closely related to your main keyword – they're 'keyword variations'. That means your page is going to come up in the search results for your main keyword as well as for those keyword variations.
Source : What Are LSI Keywords – 7 Things You Need To Know