What are LSI Keywords?

Just when you think we've got enough acronyms in SEO, they throw another one at us.

Keywords: they’re important for SEO.

Keywords are the words and phrases that users enter into a search engine query and it’s important to utilize the right keywords throughout your webpage in order to rank highly for searches relevant to your website. 

It used to be assumed that the more keyword matches you had on your site, the higher your page would rank for that search. However, this isn’t exactly true, and risks making your website guilty of keyword stuffing-which can lead to penalties from search engines.

While keyword density is important for your website, it’s time to start thinking of the concept differently.

You not only want to show your website contains words that users are searching for, you want to show search engines that your website is relevant to the broader topic of a user’s search. 

So how can you achieve this? You need to start incorporating LSI keywords.

What are LSI keywords? 

The “LSI” stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. This refers to the system that search engines have developed to identify and analyze the words people use surrounding a specific keyword’s broader topic. Using search patterns, Google analyzes the relationships between terms and concepts in order to figure out other related keywords to specific keyword searches. 

The LSI system means that Google can “read” your site better than ever before. With more advanced capabilities of understanding the content on your site, search engines look for LSI keywords to categorize and rank your site accordingly.

LSI keywords are those words related to the keyword search; they are words and phrases that are closely correlated to the target topic. Using the proper LSI keywords will add rich context for search engines to analyze your site, and will indicate to them your website is relevant to the search topic. 

Many people think that LSI keywords are just synonyms to the target keyword, but that is actually not true.

They are words that show up often with the target keyword in high-value content. That makes finding them a little trickier, but don’t worry we have some tips to get you started. 

How do I find LSI keywords?

Now that we know what LSI keywords are, how do we find them? Here is our 4-step approach to build up a bank of LSI keywords to supercharge your next piece of content.

1) Use your industry knowledge

Oftentimes, LSI keywords will come naturally to you. After all, you have enough expertise in your field to be creating web content in your industry! Think about the topic of each page of your website, and what details and aspects related to that topic that you know your users would want to find. 

Including as much relevant information as possible and using all of the common terminology surrounding your subject will help the LSI system identify your site’s value. 

For example, say your website sells natural shampoo. This falls in the product category of “hair care,” so you’ll want to include that phrase on your website. Shampoo can also be classified as a “hair product,” and is often used in the “shower” or “bath.” 

People that are interested in natural shampoo are looking for key adjectives such as “organic,” “clean,” and “paraben-free.” (You would need to make sure that your shampoo is in fact all of these attributes, of course!) 

How does the user’s hair look and feel after using your shampoo? How do you use it? What benefits does it provide? Answering these questions and more in your copy will naturally incorporate LSI keywords. 

2) Use Google autocomplete

Finding LSI keywords can also be as simple as looking at Google’s suggested searches when you type in your target keyword. Incorporating words from those searches as well can help your page rank higher for those searches, and can give you a better idea of what people are really looking for when they use your target keyword. Let’s continue with our natural shampoo example, and see what Google suggests to us to complete our search.

This autocomplete reveals to us that many people want natural shampoo for their specific hair type. Based on this information, you should be sure to include descriptors of the hair type your shampoo works best for. You should talk about what problems that your product will solve for their hair, such as dandruff. 

Looking at autocomplete will help you tailor your website to the questions that users want answered while not just mentioning the keywords that users are searching for.

3) Look at related searches

Another simple method of finding target keywords is to make a Google search with your target keyword, and then scroll down to the bottom of the SERP to the section that says “Related searches.” This is another way to gauge what users are typing into search engines in regards to your topic, and can be a helpful source of language that people are using.

Take a look at what the related searches are for “natural shampoo”:

A word that is repeated in these searches is “best,” so you may want to include some copy at what your natural shampoo is the best at. Using the same adjectives that users are typing in is another way for your website to prove its relevance. 

It is reiterated in these related searches that people want to find natural shampoo for their certain hair type. Remember, even if you aren’t selling natural shampoo, you want your website copy to fulfill a user’s specific needs.

4) Use online tools 

There are also plenty of tools on the web to help you identify LSI keywords to use on your website. One website, completely free, is called https://lsigraph.com

You can simply input your target keyword into the website, and it will generate a long list of LSI keywords to use, as well as show you the top performing content for that target keyword. Here is what it looks like:

How do I use LSI keywords?

So once you’ve identified some great LSI keywords for your website, how do you use them?

LSI keywords should be incorporated throughout the page that you want to rank for. This includes in the copy, as well as in the page title, headings, the link anchor text, and in the alt text and titles of images. 

While incorporating these keywords, try to put highly related LSI keywords close together in the copy. You must do this while maintaining the flow and coherency of the writing. Strong writing should always be the priority.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, LSI keywords are necessary to incorporate in order to get the most benefit from your keyword strategy. Google looks for words and phrases that are adjacent to your target keyword; it helps search engines better understand your website. When Google understands your website, it will be able to identify the value of your site and rank you appropriately. 

Don’t overthink LSI keywords; rely on your industry knowledge and the information that search engines give you to purposefully use LSI keywords to your advantage, while always maintaining the integrity of your writing. If you do this, you will have achieved keyword density in a much more valuable way.

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