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LSI Keywords or Latent Semantic Indexing For SEO Rankings

Once the realm of overstuffed keywords, a shift has been occurring within search engine optimization standards. 

Understanding and implementing topical LSI keyword usage is critical in 2019.

Gone are “Paragraphs” of keyword filled content, stuffed meta tags that are made up entirely of strings of words separated by commas. They have all gone the way of the Dodo bird.

Google alone has made leaps and bounds in this area.  They have developed their algorithms towards the processing of keyword topics versus relevant content. 

So now, more than ever before, topics build search engine results instead of just keywords.

This progress has resulted in a new focus on quality content.   Today, informative topic-based content built for humans is not only encouraged but mandatory for successful SEO. 

LSI keywords semantically related

Definition of Latent Semantic Indexing

While the concept of keywords is probably here to stay, as we move forward, topical SEO will allow a better focus on actual content.

This newest trend is good news for SEO Consultants and amateurs alike. 

Everyone who has been following SEO trends longer than the last five years knows that keyword use alone can be very limiting, especially since the Google Panda update shook the online marketing community several years ago. 

When trying to attract a lead or sell something, you do not want to have to worry as much about keyword placement. Topic-based SEO can provide a wealth of information to consumers.  It will also offer a better opportunity to let the reader know exactly who you are and what you can do for them.

One major player in this overall improvement has been the recognition by Google’s search engine spiders for what is termed “LSI Keywords.”

Google itself has been touting the advantage of using LSI keywords and how they have become more critical even since 2015.  What they have not done much of is let us know what exactly they are and how to go about using them.

That is O.K. though; we are going to take this opportunity to do just that. 


latent semantic indexing keywords tilles

In this article we’re going to discuss:

  • What are LSI Keywords?
  • How Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords work.
  • Why Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords are Important for online marketing
  • How best to use LSI Keywords in your content.
  • How to find Latent Semantic Indexing keywords using tools.
  • How to implement LSI
  • Go into more detail on Topic vs. Keyword only Rankings.

What is Latent Semantic Indexing?

First, LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. 

The change began with an initial implementation of an algorithm by Google in 2004.  The desire was to help the search engine deliver results that more closely resembled what the user’s search had requested.

The algorithm was a program that learned what synonyms were, based on the context of the word. Synonyms defined as a word having the same or almost the same meaning as another word.  Also known as the contents that come up in MS Word when you use the Thesaurus.

It was not just about keywords, though. The implementation of this algorithm was a game changer for Google’s organic search results.  

Google searches did not just look at a single keyword on a web page anymore.

It started, instead, to look at everything on the webpage.

Latent Semantic Related Keywords are words similar to the topic of a web page or site, as they relate to the context of the content around them.

How Do LSI Keywords Work?

It starts with the spiders. Lots and lots of spiders.  And, no, this is not the beginning of a late-night Horror Film.

Google gains essential information about your page and what’s on it by sending out, well, probably about a googol or so of micro-programs regularly.  These mini-programs look at the content of a website and take the information back to the “nest.”

Fun Fact: 1 Googol is an amount equal to a 1 with a hundred zeros after it.  To help put that into perspective, 1 Million is only a 1 with eight zeros after it.

Googol 100 zeros

As these spiders look at a page, they start by observing and recording the page’s keywords to identify its topic content.  But, thanks to the new algorithms, it no longer stops there. 

Since the algorithm update, Google looks at the other words on the page, as well as how they relate to each other.

Then the algorithm formulates together your business name, industry, and site to get a more accurate understanding of each page the site has.  The advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has even gone so far as to let Google understand a site’s context.

Understanding the site’s context means it can tell the difference between “Buck” a male deer from “Buck” slang for a Dollar, based on the words around it.


apple vs apple indexing by latent semantic analysis

latent semantic indexing example


Why are Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords Important?

The initial implementation of LSI was in reaction to SEO’s attempts to “game” the system.

Until this change, it had become almost necessary to cram Meta tags with keywords.  Page content was often long sets of needlessly repeated keywords with no recognizable information or topic, inserted merely to scam Google.

Latent Semantic Indexing allows search engines to give credit to quality web page content.

By including semantically related search phrases in your page’s SEO copy, you are giving Google a better understanding of your page, products, or services.

The recognition of which encourages website owners and their search engine optimization specialists to create and maintain quality content.

In the end, Google is happy and your website visitors will be too. Quality content keeps leads once they have arrived, and increase conversion rates. 

 Finding Keywords with LSI tools

My infographic is a great resource, feel free to share it, or save it.


infographic on using lsi keywords in your writing


There are a few different ways to find LSI keywords for your content. Here are a few of my tips and tricks.

Industry Knowledge

If you have an in-depth knowledge of your industry, you probably already know the different terms that will describe any one item, task, or product.

For example, let’s say you are a full-service accountant.  In addition to the keyword accountant, you will probably also include in your content a description of your services that might consist of the words accounting, book-keeping, tax preparation, etc.  All of this will probably be on your homepage somewhere.

This way you are not only targeting the literal description of your title, but you include all the ways your audience may look for your service.

Industry knowledge can be a great place to start.

Google Auto Complete

google auto complete

Finding LSI keywords from Google


By far the easiest way to find LSI keywords is to go to the Google.com search page, type in your main keyword, and see what other options pop up in the drop-down menu as enter a search query. Google will provide the best matching phrases. Use this as a starting point.

Additionally, once your input a search for your primary keyword, you can scroll down to the bottom of the screen and check the “Searches related to …” for a selection of options that you can use. Take note though, use common sense when choosing which words to implement. 

searches related to LSI

Latent Semantic Indexing Software Options

Necessity breeds invention.  Once Google started looking at LSI SEO keywords, programmers took that as a new challenge to overcome.  And overcome it, they did.  Some of these are paid tools, but you can always start with free Google tools.

Thanks to these incredible future-minded go-getters, there are now several free online tools available to help you start a list of LSI Keywords.  With these tools, you may even discover alternative words that never would have occurred to you

Often when writing an article, finding the appropriate terms to use for ranking purposes may seem overwhelming. Implementing and choosing the correct keywords can not only help overall visibility,  but can help drive traffic to a website.

How to find LSI keywords

Keywords Suggestion Tool is an LSI tool that provides the most highly used words in your market.

This tool will give you a place to start before creating your content. Specifically, what words to use. Whether a novice or expert, The Keywords Suggestion Tool is easy to use and understand.

The purpose of the Keywords Suggestion Tool is to make SEO easy for everyone in every aspect. Users of the tool notice an overall page rank improvement, as well as natural and organic site traffic growth.

Pricing: Free

  • LSI Graph Keywords Tool

    LSI Graph is a free keyword tool that provides alternatives to your preferred keywords. By using formulas that help you better leverage your main keywords, LSI Graph returns the best results. This allows for a broader range of search terms, which enables you to appeal to a broader audience, and assists you to outrank your competitors.


lsigraph.com search generator

  • Using LSI Graph and its formula results in better ranking and provides a quick method to determine popular search terms or phrases, so you give a variety of terminology in your article, engaging your readers. Because of its ease of use, this is an excellent tool for those wanting to break into a new market or perform a competitive analysis.

    Pricing: Free

    Niche Laboratory

    Niche Laboratory is a great tool to use when you need new topics or ideas based on your keywords. When running keywords through the Niche Laboratory, users can expect a wide range of useful information in return.

    You can use Niche Laboratory to return a useful overview of the term for which you searched. You can also find everyday phrases associated with your topic for use in a new micro niche. A word cloud gives you a visual of which words are most popular in that area so you have a better idea of which ones you would like to use more.

    It also returns results that include the top ten websites in that niche and their meta description, keyword tags, and much more. Provide a guide for key influencers in a given area helps generate ideas and traffic.

    Pricing: Free

    Ubersuggest LSI keywords Research Tool

    Ubersuggest helps users quickly find keywords that aren’t available in the Google Keyword Planner. Find keyword ideas for SEO, PPC, digital marketing campaigns, blog posts, or website homepage.

    Segmented searching allows finding web articles, images, shopping, YouTube, and news. The breadth of language searches offered appeals to people of many different nationalities, companies who run multi-lingual websites, or entrepreneurs doing business in other languages.

    Of the phrases suggested, you can drill further down with filters based on more specific keywords. For instance, if you searched for ‘dog food,’ your search might return ‘best rice-free dog foods,’ ‘dog food with chicken,’ or ‘canned dog food.’ You could then filter by ‘chicken, ’ and it would narrow your search to those results with ‘chicken’ in them.

    How each search term is trending on Google will help to determine what’s the most popular and which ones you should use. View your keywords as text so you can easily copy and paste or download them into a CSV.

    Pricing: Free 

    Ultimate Keyword Hunter

    Ultimate Keyword Hunter helps you create high ranking content with quality keywords. You can choose additional filters before you search allowing you to select which search engines you want to return, the number of results per page, and the count of words in a phrase.

    Using LSI techniques to determine semantically similar words and phrases, Ultimate Keyword Hunter analyzes your results for you to decide which words and phrases you should use in your article. This provides you with the most relevant words based on your target audience or search engine, allowing you to describe your topic perfectly.

    Filtering and sorting by total count or the number of sites that have used your main keywords, you can determine relevance that matters to you. Perhaps the most useful aspect of the keyword research tool is the ability to import your terms to analyze your article’s content live based on the keywords you enter and the specifications you choose.

    Pricing: Free

    SEOPressor WordPress Plugin

    SEOPressor WordPress Plugin helps you identify valuable insights about your website’s optimization on a single dashboard. With clarity, you can determine the intelligence of your site, or segment your data by section for specific information on blogs, media, pages, or comments.

    latent semantic analysis software built in

    Latent Semantic Indexing keywords research

    The site audit feature will find errors and alert you to unoptimized sections, allowing you to fix it accordingly. You can select up to three keywords for the software to use to optimize your site and get suggestions for how to improve your optimization using them.

    Then, use SEOPressor to measure your LSI so you can make sure to strengthen your contextual linguistics. This is my SEO plugin of choice.

    Pricing: Free

    Google Keyword Planner

    Google Keyword Planner helps you to identify and stay on top of keyword trends to ensure your content remains relevant. You can search for words or phrases related keywords to your products and services, and the Keyword Planner will suggest keywords that are the most pertinent to your business. Select the words you like best and add them to your plan.

    Research your keyword topics for bid estimates or to see how regularly certain words are searched. Identify how their volume changes over time so you can narrow down your list and optimize your budget.

    Once you have created a plan you like, you can save it and share it with others on your team. Keep everyone on the same page so that you can continue to market to the same keywords effectively. Create groups, so everyone has access to the plan. Without a doubt, this is a researching tool that should be in your tool-kit.

    Pricing: Free

Keep in mind when using any or all of these LSI keyword generator tools; your results may provide some choices that won’t quite fit your current page’s content. 

It will be up to you to decide what word or keyword phrase will best describe what your content is trying to say. Remember, your first priory when creating content is that is easy to read and engages your potential buyer or client. 

How to Use LSI Keyword Analysis For On-page SEO

Latent Semantic keyword Indexing is by no means as advanced as, say, neurosurgery.

In actuality, it is mostly basic common sense.  Where Google did all the hard work, we get the “easy as pie” results. 

Once you have found your Latent Semantic Indexing keywords, it’s a snap to implement them. 

Here are my tips on where to use your new terms:

best places to use lsi keywords


Suggested Guidelines for SEO usage are: 

  • Make sure your web page meta title tag matches the topic of your article.  I.e.,  If the title of your site is “How to Groom Your Cat” don’t make your content about baseball, make it about grooming a cat.
  • Don’t overuse your keywords in the content. Overuse can appear to spiders as stuffing and get you red flagged by the search engine.
  • Start by replacing a few occurrences of your primary target word with an LSI keyword.
  • Use one keyword for approximately every 200-300 words on a page.
  • Check in occasionally with Google Webmaster Tools to see what keywords are driving traffic to your pages. Then you will know what other topical keywords related you can slowly implement.

Keep in mind; this is not a scientific formula for LSI usage or keyword density, merely a loose set of guidelines to help you get started.

If you are not sure how to measure “one for every 200-300”, a great way when using MS Word is to select a section of text.  Then, look at the bottom of the window at the word count. 

How to calculate keyword density?

If for example, you currently have 500 words in your document and you select a paragraph that has 78 words in it, it will display “78 or 500 words” in the bottom of the window.

You can also Google “keyword density tool” for multiple online tools.

calculating the density of keyword useage


Even though we have mentioned the possibility of overuse and its consequences, don’t spend too much time overthinking your content for a blog post.

If you have developed explicit, high-quality content that flows and will attract readers, you’ve probably hit the bullseye and are all set.

Once you have had some practice, you will even start using LSI’s them without having to think about it.  Soon enough, you will be a natural. 

In the meantime, Google is ranking your pages higher in organic results, your visitors will have an even better experience when they find you, and you improve your online footprint.

Topical Writing is Now is the new SEO

how to calculate keywords of my own website

Keyword Search Density report of Seoexpertbrad.com


Up to this point, we’ve focused on the LSI Keywords and how they’ve significantly improved the overall Google Search experience. Now let discuss in more detail the importance of Topical Search Ranking.

Topical rankings are what happens when Google combines primary words with LSI keywords and any other relevant terms its learned that users might use to start a search.  Moreover, it is not going to go away. 

Google has reported that they will continue to make advancements in identifying overall content on a page and how it relates to other content found on the web.

Their goal is to find and use all words and phrases that relate to your primary keyword, allowing users to locate your content over a broader scope of your topic.

The increased use of mobile and smart technology has all led to an ever-growing number of online users that will be searching more often in the future. Additionally, the evolution of language in informational and educational content to a more conversational style has already changed how user phrase searches when typed into the Search Engine.

On top of all that, the increase of “Paid” search results taking up the top of a results list has made top 5 organic listings even more necessary.

kwfinder.com search for keywords

A search using Keyword Finder Software.


Since Google has taken a stand against keyword stuffing and the over-use of optimization, Topic writing allows you to focus more on themes through topic keywords.  Rankings established like this creates the more natural results that they prefer.  They are also easier for your audience to understand and enjoy.

Back when the focus was only on primary words, SEO strategy was quite restricted for website owners.  It omitted a lot of what your target audience may have been needing.  More than ever, it’s become essential to know what is meaningful to the audience that is doing the searching. 

Then, you can create original content that can be informative and educational while still being fun.

Latent Semantic Analysis is the Future of Digital Marketing

When Search Engine Optimization (SEO) first began to develop as an essential marketing strategy, keywords were rightfully thought of as the end all be all by content marketing and SEO experts.

Standard procedure involved extensive keyword research to see where your current ranking was as compared to your closest competitor. Then you would evaluate how much traffic each keyword picked up.

Eventually, you’d find a handful of essential related keywords to use in your marketing, selecting them based on their highest search volume with the lowest competition rating. Finally, you would begin placing the prized target keywords related to the meta-data, body content, and external links from your site.

Fortunately, thanks to Google’s LSI search abilities, you can focus more on the topic of your services or products.  Utilizing your energy and talent in a much better way by creating informative and engaging content than stressing over an impersonal list of semantically related words.

Topic-based SEO lets the owner and marketer focus on writing for a living, breathing person, not just for electronic spiders.

These spiders do still play just as crucial a role in the efficiency of an organic search as they’ve always done.  The difference is, now the search engines ability to read more like a living, breathing person is the reason it works.

And, remember, keyword stuffing in your body content to the point where content flow becomes more tiresome for the reader is a good sign you may be in danger of being “red flagged” by the engine itself.

google guidelines on keyword stuffing

Now you know enough to get started on this new approach to Search Engine Optimization using Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords.

We’ve discussed not only what LSI words are, but how they work, why they are essential, and how best to implement them.  You can even have a custom list of keywords created for you from one of the many generators that are currently available.  Then, you can begin to implement them into your website’s content right away by inserting them into areas you have placed your primary keyword.

After all of this, keep in mind that keyword-based SEO techniques will still be rooted in data.  You will yet need to evaluate the search volume, monitor the competition, and calculate an ROI when deciding how to proceed with expansion or new products.

Keywords will probably always be the backbone of search engine optimization.  But, now they should only be used as your guide to assist in your creation of great topics, appealing blog content, and as established anchor locations that will lead search engines to your website.

two people on couch

You made it this far, similar but not the same, yet topical?


So, make sure you do your keyword research before deciding on your topics for a blog post or web page.

Just don’t let those same keywords dictate the natural progression your content needs to take. 

Remember to always keep your content as user-friendly as possible. Once you’ve got that in place, you should find your conversions and your ranking increase accordingly.

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