There is no doubt that keyword research is important to our SEO strategies if we have online businesses. We are all on the hunt for that highly searched but low competition keyword. But did you know that keyword density isn’t required anymore? With the most recent “Hummingbird” algorithm (2013), Google now searches for LSI keywords to determine what your content is about.
There are still many people advising you to use a certain percentage keyword density to earn high ranking with search engines. But I believe this advice stems from early, outdated SEO training. I’ll explain this later…
So, what is an LSI Keyword? Will they help my SEO? How do I find these words? Do I need a special tool to research these keywords?
These are the questions I want to answer for you in this article and more. This information could prove to make a positive difference to your SEO strategy.
Here’s a cute explainer video about Google Hummingbird…
What is An LSI Keyword?
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. I know this sounds intimidating, but unless you’re the type of person who wants to understand the coding behind it, it doesn’t have to be. It’s just one of the ways search engines use to find the right answers to people’s questions.
LSI Keywords are words and phrases that are closely related to your primary keyword. They share the same context. Do I mean synonyms? Yes, and no! You can use synonyms, but I mean other words as well. Words that you would naturally use to describe what you’re talking about.
Let’s say your blog post is about “Apple”. Are you talking about apple the fruit? Apple the brand? Or possibly Apple the name? Google will crawl your article, looking for other words that relate to the keyword “apple”.
For instance, if you’re talking about Apple the fruit, you’re probably using descriptive words like:
- the tartness of green apples vs red ones
- the firmness of Fuji over Gala
- recipes for apple crisp and baked apples
If you were talking about Apple the brand, you might say:
- ITunes for music or movies
- products like Iphones and Ipads
- online shopping for computers
Apple the name would use entirely different words:
- popular baby names
- daughter of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
- meaning of the name Apple
Will LSI Keywords Help My SEO?
Yes! And this is why…
As I mentioned earlier, Google has implemented a new way of indexing your content. They now search for words and phrases to determine what your content is about and if it’s relevant to a search query.
Before all these new algorithms were integrated, Google would depend on only primary keywords to find the appropriate information for searches. People soon learned how to manipulate the system by “keyword stuffing”. These unsavory types would stuff their articles to the point where it was annoying to read or just didn’t make sense. It was horrible and spammy, but all they were concerned about was ranking #1.
So Google decided to penalize these “thin” sites with no valuable information. They started by implementing the “Panda” algorithm in 2011, but then became more focused in 2013 with “Hummingbird”. Now, keyword stuffing will only bring down your ranking!
According to Wikipedia:
Instead of looking for just the primary keyword, it now searches for words used to describe that topic. Related words that are in context. The term ‘natural language’ is important. You need to write in the same fashion as you would speak to your friend, let’s say.
If you were talking about Apple Iphones, you would be naturally describing the phone and all it can do for you. You might talk about the apps or the length of battery time. You wouldn’t be repeating the keyword “Apple IPhone” over and over again in your discussion. Your friend would most likely think you’re nuts and shut you down. Well….. this is exactly what Google is doing!
Now, because of these improvements, Google can deliver the best results to someone’s question. They can search through the millions of published data online, and bring up what it thinks are the relevant answers.
Keep in mind that this is only one way in which Google determines relevancy. Other proper SEO techniques are still required.
How Do I Find Them?
Here are four quick, easy, and free, ways to find LSI keywords:
- Google search
Simply type your keyword in the search bar, and you’ll see the first 10 suggestions that come up. The top suggestion is the most typed-in words, then the second most, and so on down the list.
- Related searches
If you scroll down to the bottom of your search results page, you will see where Google shows you some related searches. These can make awesome LSI keywords.
Not all the related searches may make sense. If it’s not worded in proper conversational English, then don’t use it. The first rule of any keyword usage is that it must make sense. I know that people will often misspell or take shortcuts when asking a question, but this is not the way we should be writing. Always be grammatically correct, OK.
This free keyword generator tool brings up many alternatives for you. As I’ve shown you in the picture below, there are always some that don’t make sense. Best not to use these!
This is another free tool that not only brings up LSI phrases but lots of other information you could use in other areas, like article ideas. I’ve pointed to the phrases tab, but the keywords tab is plumb full of words. You will need to use your discretion here though. Many of the words don’t necessarily apply to “apple recipes”.
There are other free tools online, but personally, if I do use one, I’ll use LSI Graph. Many times I’ve come up with LSI keywords by just writing naturally, so that my content flows from point-to-point, covering the material I had planned to cover.
Where Do I Put These Keywords?
You should scatter them throughout your content. I reserve my Title for the primary keyword, but I add my LSI keywords to the Meta Tags, the Image Alt Tags, and throughout the body of my article.
Remember not to overuse these keywords. Just because it’s considered an LSI, it will still be considered stuffing by Google. Typically I’ll use each word or phrase once.
One final thing I’d like to mention to you. The longer your article, the better the chance you will naturally use different ways of discussing your topic. And if you didn’t, then the longer length will give you more opportunities to input the new LSI phrases you found. Working in multiple new phrases, to sound natural, is much harder in a 400 word article, than in a 1500 word article.
Now that you understand what an LSI keyword is, your chances of earning higher ranking have definitely improved.
Are you successful at writing naturally? We may not all start as great writers, but we can learn to be. If you click the button below, you can read all about where I learned how to write and to be found by my targeted audience.
Are you struggling in other areas with your business? Would you like some additional help? Let me know below and I’ll be happy to help.