In the early days of SEO, content marketing was all about keyword density. Search engines would determine what a page was about based solely on the repetitiveness of the keywords they found on the page.
For example, if a page repeatedly included the term “content marketing”, Google would assume the topic of the page was content marketing.
Today, Google is able to determine what the overall topic of your page is about by relying on latent semantic indexing (LSI) to understand context at a deeper level.
Latent Semantic Indexing
Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is a mathematical technique that detects the way words cluster together in predictable patterns. Search engines use these patterns to understand context.
LSI helps Google to better understand search intent and the meaning of a web page. This allows Google to improve the match between what people search for and the search results they are served.
Essentially, it's the method in which search engines decide which pages are relevant to a given search query.
LSI keywords are terms that are semantically- and conceptually-related to your main keyword. They are words that are often found together with your keyword and share the same context.
However, LSI keywords are not synonyms. Instead, they’re terms that are closely tied to your target keyword. For example, LSI keywords for “swimming” are terms like “pool,” “suit,” “goggles,” and “towel.”
Google will still scan your page to see if you use the term “swimming” in your title tag, content, and image alt text. But, it will also scan your page for LSI keywords, like “pool,” “suit,” “goggles,” and “towel” to make sure that your page is about what it thinks it is.
Discover LSI Keywords
Autocomplete is a feature within Google Search designed to help users complete searches faster. When you begin to type in the search bar, Google will populate predictions. You can use this as a tool to uncover LSI terms to use in your content.
To begin, enter one main keyword into the search bar and Google will provide a list of related keywords.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is another Google feature that can help you discover LSI keywords.
You can either search a keyword or a landing page and it will suggest hundreds of keywords, common search terms, and phrases. You can use these suggestions as your own free LSI keyword generator.
If you enter a keyword, you can see which related SEO keywords have high search levels and low competition.
If you search using a landing page, you can enter a competitor’s landing page that’s ranking above you in the search results to discover new keywords.
LSIKeywords is a free keyword generator tool. You can enter up to 10 seed keywords in the search box at the top, then hit the “Generate LSI Keywords” button.
The software will then find up to 10,000 LSI and long-tail keywords, along with their respective global monthly search volume and cost-per-click metrics.
LSI Keywords Will Improve Your SEO
LSI means that, as an SEO professional, you can focus on creating content for your user and not a machine.
Google now looks at total context rather than keyword density. LSI keywords will give more context to your article. This means your page will rank higher for your main keywords because Google better understands the context of your page.
Your site can be penalized if you repetitively use a keyword too many times on a page. Using a keyword over and over is referred to as “keyword stuffing”. Keyword stuffing will upset both users and Google and result in a lower ranking. However, if you’ve already used your keyword too many times, you can safely continue to add LSI keywords without the risk of a Google penalty.
Tip: Google will give your site more priority if you use both a keyword and an LSI phrase in the meta description. The algorithm will see your content as more relevant to your keywords, resulting in more relevant search results.
LSI keywords are variations of your main keyword. This means that your page will rank in the search results for your main keyword as well as for the keyword variations.
If you need help developing a keyword strategy or marketing plan, contact us for a free consultation.