LSI is all about context
LSI stands for latent semantic indexing. It’s a term that describes a way to identify patterns in relationships between words and concepts within a body of text.
What are LSI keywords?
Google’s mission is to organise all the information online and present it so that the “best” is at the top of the search results. It uses LSI to group together terms/keywords that are linked or related to a specific search, or within the same context.
It means that when you type a question or word into a Google search, Google indexes all the possible results that relate to your query, not just the ones that use the exact keywords you typed in. Google’s algorithm aims to make results as relevant as possible by trying to determine what a user really wants to know.
Those Google bots are doing the thinking for us and they’re getting pretty damn good at it.
How LSI works in Google search:
Let’s imagine I’m looking for cruise trips from Sydney so I type that into my Google search:
A bunch of results come up with the keywords ‘cruise‘ and ‘Sydney‘ in them, but I also see the words ‘deal‘, ‘package‘, ‘trip‘ and ‘holiday‘ appear a lot in those articles.
Those are LSI keywords relating to that search term. Google knows that I’m probably looking for the best package deals for those cruise trips from Sydney. Not a list of cruise company websites or fluffy pages about how nice it is to take a cruise from Sydney. Thanks for saving me time Google!
LSI and acronyms:
Google also knows what you mean when you type in an acronym, as long as you use some context.
What do I mean by bf? Best friend? Bloody fabulous?
Google is smart, due to LSI it knows I must mean breastfeeding, this was the first result:
Why are LSI keywords important for SEO?
Traditionally, SEO writers have focused on optimising for one main keyword per page and that would be enough.
Google now ranks pages that look like they will provide the most overall value to the query in full, not just for one particular word or term. So it’s worth looking for LSI terms related to your keyword and incorporating a few to maximise your search opportunities.
Should I still look for that one golden keyword/set of keywords?
Some SEOs say it’s no longer important to have an exact-match keyword in your on-page SEO elements. They argue that it’s now more important to diversify the semantic core of your text and make it relevant to the keyword rather than copying it.
I suggest that it’s still worth finding and using an exact-match wherever possible, particularly for very competitive keyword search terms or specific long tail queries that make sense within your text.
After you’ve identified your top keyword, list out 3-5 LSI keywords that you can sprinkle throughout the text in order to boost your chances.
The LSI keywords will probably come naturally anyway
In reality, if you’re writing a relevant article that deserves to be ranked for a specific keyword, you will naturally include many of those LSI terms anyway. However, I’m a firm believer in being strategic about whatever you’re putting time and effort into. Why not do the research and try to boost your SEO as much as possible?
How to find LSI keywords to boost SEO – my simple 4 step recipe
1. Map out words using your buyer personas
Sitting down with a pen and paper and mapping out buyer intent based on your personas is a great way to find LSI keywords, or at least starting points.
Say you sell wedding dresses. Your persona is a professional 30 year old who is engaged and lives in Sydney. She is savvy about money and doesn’t want to blow her life savings on the dress.
You decide you want to rank for ‘affordable wedding dresses Sydney’.
Start by writing down all the things that might be related to the term affordable:
- Off the rack
- Good price/price
2. Do a quick Google search
Type the search term into Google and see what comes up – what are the top ranking websites using in their meta descriptions or snippets? Which words are in bold (these are search synonyms that Google highlights)? Which keywords or terms appear multiple times?
You should also scroll down to the bottom of the SERP to check out the related searches for more suggestions:
3. Use an LSI keyword generator to build your list
Next you can try using a free LSI keyword generator like LSI Graph:
The list goes on much further. Obviously you have to be smart about it – there’s no point in including Parramatta in your search if your shop is in Alexandria.
That’s why I believe in starting by using your own intuition first, then layering in some automated suggestions that make sense.
4. Finalise your thoughts using the Article Insights tool
To top it off, if you want to get really serious about winning with your page or article, use the Article Insights tool.
This tool can be awesome – it allows you to find keywords based on the analysis of content of your competitors. It provides you with a map of words and topics that your audiences are searching for and you can filter by country, language and time frame.
But you must use your common sense – like with all generators, it can let you go troppo pretty quickly if you let it.
It suggests headings you could use:
Provides a group of ‘must have words’:
And suggests topics that you can cover in your article shown as keyword groups:
While you’re writing, it reviews your article and lets you know the density of the LSI keywords you’ve used within your text.
This is a pretty cool tool to have up your sleeve in terms of getting started. Don’t rely on it to write the article for you though, or you’ll probably end up with a big ole’ mess that doesn’t really appeal to any of your real life customers. Thank goodness the real copywriters are still winning over the machines!
I hope that this article has been helpful to you in terms of better understanding what LSI keywords are, how they can boost your SEO and how to find them.
Have you used LSI keywords in any of your pages or articles recently? How did you go about finding your LSI keywords? I love to hear about new tools!