What Are LSI Keywords & Why You Need Them for SEO
In the early 2000s, when Google was figuring out search engine optimization (SEO) and bringing the best content to users, search engines used keyword density. So the more you used the same keyword in the article, the better results.
Fast forward to today, that is no longer the case. If you have a car dealership, using the keyword “car dealership” thousands of times will no longer bring the precious organic views you’re hoping for.
Google got wiser, so you need to keep up the pace. To avoid exploiting the SEO system, Google no longer operates on the quantity = quality logic. Technically speaking, Google doesn’t use LSI technology. Nevertheless, Google AI tries to figure out the general topic of an article, and it does that by using words frequently occurring together.
For the sake of the article, we’ll use the term LSI keywords. So what are Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, and how can you use them?
What Are LSI Keywords?
Although latent semantic indexing sounds scary, it’s pretty simple. LSI keywords are words that Google Analytics believes to be directly related to the topic outside the main keyword. If your primary keyword is “car dealership,” LSI keywords would be vehicles, engine, deals, price, and even long-tail keywords such as “where to buy a car in Austin, Texas.” Instead of keeping a laser focus on a single phrase, online businesses need to spread keywords strategically. You need to diversify your keyword bag and sprinkle each one just enough for Google to notice. By using LSI keywords, Google tries to solve the synonym/polysemic problem.
Maybe you just bought a safe, and you want to bolt the safe to the floor. So you go to Google and search “bolt.” Unfortunately, instead of getting a how-to or a bolting service, you end up reading articles on thunderbolts during a thunderstorm.
Keep in mind that Google will still check if you’re using the main keyword in titles, subtitles, H2s, and H3s. But it will also be on the lookout for LSI keywords. Think of it like this. The main keyword is the foundation of your “SEO house.” LSI keywords are the walls that prevent the house from collapsing. But how t do you find LSI keywords crucial to your business?
How to Find LSI Keywords
The first thing to keep in mind, LSI keywords aren’t synonyms. Meaning, searching for synonyms won’t help you much with SEO. You can browse for a long-tail keyword or use the LSI keyword search tool, but there’s a much more straightforward way to find LSI keywords.
Let’s go back to what Google wants. Google wants to find “words frequently occurring together.” So how does Google do that? By collecting and analyzing what people search. Instead of guessing if people search for “tiers” when searching for “car dealership,” you can use Google Autocomplete.
Do you know when Google automatically suggests words? Google does that by gathering what people look for. You might get the following phrases and words by doing a quick search for the keyword “car dealership.”
- Near me
- In San Francisco
- Open on Sunday
- Near me used
- Hiring near me
These are the words and phrases people often use together with “car dealership.” So what you want to do is use some or all of them in your content. Another simple way is to simply Google the keyword. In alt texts, you’ll see bolded words. Again, Google considers these words as closely related to the primary phrase. Another way is to use an LSI tool such as LSI Graph. All you need to do is type in the main keyword, and the free SEO tool will list possible LSI keywords for you to use. How to Select LSI Keywords? Once you create a list of LSI keywords, selecting the right ones should be a pretty simple process. If you own a car dealership but you’re not selling used cars, you obviously won’t use LSI keywords such as “near me used” from the above list.
What you want to do is use some or all of them in your SEO. But make sure you use the right ones, or you’ll be sending Google the wrong signals. Instead of new customers, you could get people who are job hunting. Keep in mind that your geolocation will impact the predictions. Meaning, you don’t want to analyze LSI keywords for your car dealership in San Francisco while taking a vacation in New York.
How to Use LSI Keywords?
In SEO, there are strict rules on how and where to use primary keywords. You need it in the title, a couple of times in the text itself, as an alt-title for images, etc. However, when it comes to using LSI keywords, you have more breathing room. As long as you sprinkle the correct LSI keywords in your page descriptions and SEO articles, you’re good to go.
Earlier, we said LSI keywords are the walls of your SEO house. More specifically, each LSI keyword is one brick in the wall. Therefore, the more you have them, the stronger the website becomes. So, as long as you use the correct words and terms somewhere in the article and in your pages, you’re doing a solid SEO job.
If you use LSI keywords in your page’s meta description, the Google algorithm is more likely to rank that page higher. For articles, using a single one to three times should be enough. Finally, LSI keywords go well with long-tail keywords and are often an essential part of a vibrant long-tail keyword. So make sure you combine them correctly for the best SEO results.
Like everything in SEO, you can’t do one big SEO project and call it a day. It’s a long-term investment that keeps on giving as time passes. As long as you stay consistent with seeding the correct keywords, you can be sure that your website will slowly but surely rise.
As a practice, you can take a look at this article you’re reading right now. Skim through it one more time and see if you can pinpoint used LSI keywords. The main keyword should be obvious.