To understand the latest search engine ranking guidelines, you’ll likely hear a lot about something called LSI Keywords. This stands for Latest Semantic Indexing, and many people make the case that this is a key part of search engine rankings right now. Particularly for Google, many people believe the search engine values these highly. Is this accurate? The truth might be complicated.
LSI keywords are words that Google believes are semantically related to a larger topic. These are synonyms, broader and more specific related words, and topics of general interest.
For instance, LSI keywords might include hamburgers, french fries, soda, and other related topics if someone searches for fast food. Some people make the case that these help search engines understand the content better and result in higher rankings. But how effective is using these words for your website?
Do LSI Keywords Matter?
People who swear by LSI keywords make the case that search engine algorithms are likely to pick up similar word patterns and group sites together based on them. If people search for a keyword and commonly add in more specific ones, it stands to reason that those who search for the main keyword might also be interested in the specific ones.
This is why many people who worry that a core keyword might have too much competition try to focus on a more specific but related one. It’s easier to dominate a small slice of the search engine metric than to try to carve out a space in a massive area.
The problem with this strategy is that it’s hard to know if you’re actually finding that share of the market or if your site is only being seen by those who search for a more specific keyword. LSI keywords aren’t a clear sign, and there are many explanations for why someone might benefit from proximity to a popular keyword even without using it.
While this system is popular among people trying to establish themselves in a crowded online marketplace, there is little evidence that Google uses it, the current king of the search engine world.
In fact, Google’s people in charge have specifically said they don’t use it and give reasons for why it’s not their favoured technology. For one thing, this is an older search engine technology, one that was created in the 1980s and designed for smaller digital indexes.
Improving Search Algorithms
Today, the internet is sprawling, and to try to use this system would confuse the algorithm. Not every synonym or related keyword is actually relevant to the search, either.
For instance, someone who wanted to search about slip-and-fall injuries and insurance claims might start getting links about another sort of fall – autumn – if the algorithm automatically searched for synonyms. It was designed to work as an index for documents, not a massive internet of websites, and the technology is patented.
But just because it’s not being used by Google now doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant for the future. An update to the technology could create a new filter that would make it easier to narrow down search results.
LSI For Effective Online Marketing
While it might not be desired on Google’s primary search metric because it could result in too-broad results, there’s another area where it could be very useful — advertising. Websites are getting more effective at identifying people’s interests from their search history and targeting ads.
Using LSI keywords could help to broaden that net and potentially get people interested in things they haven’t searched for yet. Search engines may also want to help people narrow down their searches by presenting more specific subcategories within their search range.
LSI keywords might be an old technology, but as the internet gets bigger and broader, they just may be ready to make a comeback.
Using LSI Keywords Properly
If you’re looking to use LSI keywords properly, one of the most important things to remember is to use common sense. You want to look for anything your readers might be interested in but not cast too wide a net.
Looking at Google’s suggestions in the search engine bar can help give you an idea, but not all of these will be accurate. Related search filters can also help you identify topics that you might want to include.
While the odds are Google is not using LSI keywords as a direct metric for search rankings, you can boost your ranking using this strategy. Checking target keywords or other tools from Ahrefs can help you identify where your content can benefit from this strategy.
Is LSI the Future?
Old technologies sometimes make a comeback when the time is right. While LSI was designed for an earlier time, more and more sites are experimenting with it. If you think your site could benefit, the tools are there to help you get started.