What are LSI Keywords?
Back in the early days of SEO, Google would figure out the topic of a web page by looking at just the keywords found on that page. For example, if the phrase ‘digital marketing’ was used over and over on a page, Google would say the page was about digital marketing. This is why keyword density used to be so important, the higher then better. The disadvantage of this was that if you didn’t use your keyword numerous times, Google wouldn’t understand that that was the topic of your page.
These days however, Google is much smarter and it’s aim now is to figure out the page’s overall topic, this is where LSI keywords come in. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are conceptually related terms that search engines, like Google, use to gain a deeper understanding of the content on a web page. For example, lets say you’ve recently published a blog post about stationary, the search engine will still look for the word ‘stationary’ in your title tag, content and image alt text (to name a few). However, Google will now also scan your page for LSI keywords (such as; pen, pencil, notebook and paperclip). Finding these keywords lets the search engine know, without a doubt, what the topic of your page is. A recent Google research paper states that they use “words frequently occurring together” to fully understand an article/page’s main topic.
One thing to remember is that LSI keywords are not synonyms, for example, ‘bunny’ is simply another word for ‘rabbit’. Using the ‘bunny’ may help your on-page SEO but it is not an LSI keyword. LSI keywords for ‘rabbit’ would be words like; carrot, hutch and long ears.
There are a number of tools you can use to find LSI Keywords, the easiest and fastest of these if to use Google’s Autocomplete feature. We’ve all started typing a search query into Google and been given a drop down box containing suggestions on how to complete our query. The words that appear in bold in this drop down box are terms that users will search for that relate to your query, in other words, they are LSI keywords.
There are also websites you can use that are built specifically to generate LSI keyword suggestions, the one we would recommend is LSI Keywords, you simply type in a keyword that you want your page to rank for and it supplies you with a list of suggested LSI keywords. The reaons we recommend this one is that, in our experience, the suggestions it gives you are usually of a better quality than those from other websites.
If you prefer to get your LSI keywords from Google and have already tried to Autocomplete then another way of finding them is to pay close attention to the snippets on the SERP. You will have noticed already that Google bolds the keywords you have searched for in each snippet, they also bold words similar to those you have searched for. You can use these as LSI keywords.
One last point to remember about using LSI keywords is that it doesn’t matter where they appear on your page, whether its in the image alt tag, one of more of the headers, the title tag or in the meta description, Google will find it.
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