Sometimes blogging terminology sounds so complicated that it just about compels one to throw up his hands in despair. A prime example are the terms: LSI, LSI keywords or latent semantic keywords.
Bloggers will often come across these terms when learning about the principles of search engine optimization and/or best SEO practices for their blog content.
To get back to the LSI keywords topic, in reality this mumbo jumbo is nothing more than geek speak of relatively simple concepts related to the perception of language in the eyes of the search engines. As well, it relates to the optimization of content for both humans and the search engine robots.
Definition of LSI Keywords – Latent Semantic Keywords
LSI is an acronym for Latent Semantic Indexing. LSI Keywords are keywords based on latent semantic indexing method.
In geek speak, the technical definition of LSI is:
…an indexing and retrieval method that uses a mathematical technique called Singular value decomposition (SVD) to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text…A key feature of LSI is its ability to extract the conceptual content of a body of text by establishing associations between those terms that occur in similar contexts… Wikipedia
In simpler terms, latent semantic indexing is the process of identifying related words or phrases. Basically and very simplistically, it is a process of identifying synonyms and synonymic phrases. As well latent semantic indexing is based on the assumption that terms that are used in similar context tend to have similar meanings.
Major search engines, particularly Google use latent semantic indexing as one of their many search and indexing algorithms in their quest to provide the best possible search results to their users.
Your online existence and your blog’s chances to be “found” depends on the search engines’ likeabilty of your site and their ability to correlate your site’s content to the search queries. Therefore, it is in your best interest to provide content that can satisfy search engines algorithms and one that search engines deem worthy of being matched to the search queries.
Because LSI will also include results that are conceptually similar in meaning to search criteria, it is important that you not only use targeted keywords relevant to the topic of your website or an article, but that you also use synonyms and related words and phrases.
Use Of Latent Semantic Keywords – LSI Keywords
Previously, for SEO purposes (or rather, the manipulation of search engines), most website owners keyword stuffed their content with the terms that the website was targeting. As a result much of the online content was written for search engines and not for humans. The quality of search results suffered.
In the last few years this practice has been discouraged and currently major search engines penalize sites that still adhere to this questionable practice.
The use of latent semantic keywords and phrases within the content is a very natural way of using a language. It often results in a user friendly, much more legible and understandable, better quality content.
For example, if your website or an article revolves around weight loss and your main keywords are “weight loss” or “lose weight”, LSI keywords would include related phrases or words such as, diet or healthy diet, exercise, fat free foods, healthy foods, healthy recipes and so on.
To use synonyms and/or related terminology is very intuitive. A normal use of a language intuitively dictates an avoidance of duplicate words. In other words, normally when people speak they automatically avoid frequent use of the same words (most people do, anyway).
Free Tools To Search For Latent Semantic Keywords
- Google Keyword Planner – is the best tool in my opinion I am not including a link because it is so complex and it often breaks. However, all you need to do is to input “keyword planner” search term in the search box and the link to this tool will be in the first spot of the search result page. If you don’t know how to use the new keyword planner yet, you can learn how to use the keyword planner here…
- Thesaurus – you may also want to use an online or offline thesaurus to come up with excellent alternatives for your keywords. The online Thesaurus is my favorite of all online dictionaries .
Conclusion And a Cautionary Note
Using latent semantic keywords, in addition to your targeted keywords, allows you to easily comply with major search engines’ algorithms which penalize websites that keyword stuff their content. You have a greater flexibility in expressing yourself and in the end you provide a better experience for both, your human visitors and the search bots.
A word of caution. With respect to the use of synonyms or related words, the same rules apply as those that apply to the use of targeted keywords. Less Is More. Do not over stuff either your targeted keywords or related keywords. Keep the keywords at between 1-2% of your text.
Finally, latent semantic keywords (LSI keywords) should be used not only in your content but also when building your links. Mix up targeted keywords words, related words and synonyms. It is not hard to do. A little thought into the process will take you a long way.