Google has done away with their page rank tool. It has left businesses and SEO experts with no good way to gauge page rank. This doesn’t mean the search giant has done away with rankings. They are still necessary.
They determine how competing websites stack up against each other. In other words, who provides the most relevant and useful content for users. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a while, you know keywords play a major role in optimizing pages for search.
Like other elements of ranking, the role of keywords has changed over time. Linking has always been important for ranking.
However, updates to Google’s algorithms over the years have made it impossible to use linking schemes. Therefore, websites now need a network of high-quality, organic links to gain traction with Google.
The same basic principle applies to keywords. Several years ago, practices like keyword stuffing were virtually outlawed. Thus, the face of optimization changed. People had to start finding creative ways to make keywords count. This is especially due to increased competition.
As algorithms became more complex, new types of keywords and keyword strategies had to evolve. A relatively recent addition to the keyword family is latent semantic keywords, or LSI keywords. Every business should be familiar with them.
What are LSI keywords and why are they important? How can you go about finding the best LSI keywords for your content? Will they increase rankings and targeted traffic as a result? Here’s what you need to know.
What are LSI Keywords?
LSI keywords are the result of changing Google algorithms. Google introduced their Panda and Penguin updates in 2011 and 2012, respectively. At that time, there was a major shakeup.
Shady practices like linking schemes and keyword stuffing were banned. This was in a bid to validate pages ranking at the top of searches. They needed to ensure they were actually providing the most valuable and relevant content for users.
The introduction of Hummingbird in 2013 signaled another big shift. This one in which the company built a completely new engine. It took aim not just at words being used for search queries, but at their deeper meaning.
The new system focused on conversational search. It allowed users to pose queries as if making a request in conversation.
No longer did they have to pinpoint the awkward set of relevant keywords leading them to exactly what they were looking for. In other words, the algorithm would interpret their request by focusing on the meaning behind the words.
This caused a shift in the way businesses and SEO practitioners used keywords. A number of significant changes resulted. Keyword phrases, and especially long-tail keywords, became a lot more important. In addition, LSI keywords grew in popularity.
LSI keywords are used to provide search engines with a deeper understanding of the meaning of content. In a way, they play a supportive role for your main keywords. That is because they are semantically related.
This has caused no small amount of confusion. That’s because many people did not pay close attention to lessons on semantics in school.
There is a common misconception that semantic keywords are merely synonyms for other words. Yet, this is not necessarily the case.
An example might be a search related to mold remediation. Synonymous keywords could include things like mildew, rot, and decay.
However, this isn’t really what a searcher wants to find. Therefore, search engines are going to look for keywords that enhance the semantic understanding of mold remediation.
LSI keywords could include terms like mold removal, mold abatement, black mold, or water damage. Others could be restoration, structural drying, and drywall repair.
Even terms like asthma and allergies are often linked to mold. Locational data is often included as part of LSI keyword groups. This is due to the simple fact that someone seeking mold remediation probably requires a local business.
In other words, search engines are seeking deeper overall meaning. They don’t want just other words that mean the same thing as primary keywords. The goal, of course, is to provide the best possible results for users.
Why are They Important?
LSI keywords need to be used appropriately. They can help to signal search engines that your content is the most relevant to a related search query, and to users. This is incredibly important. That’s due to the fierce competition to rank for topics and keywords.
You need to understand that more isn’t always better, though. Google has made it very clear that keyword stuffing is a major no-no.
That applies to both primary and LSI keywords. Throwing in more words to appeal to search bots is at the expense of content quality. Additionally, it’s not acceptable and will infer penalties.
Search algorithms are looking for LSI keywords that provide additional meaning and relevance to content. Additionally, they’re paying attention to keyword density. This ensures they aren’t being duped into ranking content that isn’t the most relevant to users.
Is there a precise ratio that balances keyword usage against overall content? Yes, probably, but only Google knows what it is. Therefore, it’s likely best to err on the side of caution when adding LSI keywords.
Get the formula right. In doing so, you stand to gain a lot in the process, namely getting ranked over competitors for relevant searches. You could also reduce bounce rates, increase conversions, and improve credibility and blog authority.
How Can You Find the Best LSI Keywords?
To some extent, your expertise can help to dictate which LSI keywords are relevant to your content. That said, there are also a number of tools available.
They can help you determine appropriate LSI keywords for specific search terms or content topics. Some of the most popular include LSI Graph’s, LSI Keyword Generator, Soovle, Google’s Keyword Planner, and SEMrush.
Some of these tools are specifically geared toward delivering LSI keywords. These include LSI Graph and Soovle. Others, like Keyword Planner, are more comprehensive keyword tools. Some provide insight into what competitors are doing such as SEMrush.
None of them will tell you precisely which keywords are going to offer the most bang for your buck, so to speak. Nor will they assure how many you should use and in what combination. Yet, they will help you to enhance the semantic appeal of your content for search engines, and hopefully users, as well.
If you have any comments about this topic or suggestions about future topics leave them in the comment box below.
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