The Importance of LSI Keywords in SEO

If you’ve never heard of the term LSI keywords, you’re not alone. LSI stands for Latent Semantic Index which does nothing to clarify anybody’s understanding of the topic. Without getting into pages of technical jargon LSI attempts to identify relationships between terms and concepts in text. Search engines use LSI so it’s important to understand how it works.

With Google Panda updates and Penguin update the SEO is in a state of upheaval. Some sites with plenty of quality content are dropping in the rankings while a few garbage sites with very little quality content are in the top ten for some competitive terms. I’m going to write more about current industry theories and what the Google Penguin update is targeting tomorrow.

LSIs are basically related keywords and with recent updates they’ve become more important than ever. If I’m creating content that I hope will rank for the term “travel through Europe” it’s fine to have that term in the title and use it a time or two in my main body but Google is likely also checking for the presence of other terms to see if my article is REALLY about travel through Europe like your title claims it is.

What terms could it be checking for? How about “backpacking”, “trains”, “euro rail” and “bus”? The presence of terms like this would help indicate to Google that your article was indeed about travel in Europe. LSI usually isn’t an issue if you’re writing high quality content because your article is likely to naturally use keywords related to your main topic. Where people run into problems is when they use poor quality content (scraped from low quality sources like PLR article, poorly spun content etc.) or when they try to keyword stuff and use their main term an unnatural number of times in lieu of using related terms.

If you’re writing an article and would like to view a few LSI keyword options there are a few ways to do it. The way most people find them is by going straight to the source and using Google’s own AdWords keywords tool. It’s 100% free to use and provides good results.

If you’re using WordPress, there are several SEO plugins which will enable you to view LSI keywords while you’re writing your page or post. I use a plugin called WP Easy SEO and I love it.

The moral of the LSI story is that with the SEO landscape in such flux, using quality and original content is more important than ever and be very careful not to “over optimize” your keywords in your post but instead use natural synonyms like those suggested by the Google keywords tool.

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