Latent Semantic Indexing

LSI – What It Is and How to Use It to Your Advantage

Latent semantic indexing is a fancy term that describes the process the major search engines use to determine what a particular page’s keywords are. Gone are the days when one could stuff the meta tags full of the desired keywords and achieve anything of a ranking. Google is very aware of people stuffing their pages with keywords and such a practice is no longer rewarded. Now, the professionals are implementing these LSI tactics.

How LSI Works

When Google’s algorithm is trying to figure out what your page is about, it looks at the entirety of the page and all the words on it to piece together the overall big picture.  Sort of like scanning the back of a book to find out if the inside is worth reading.  Rather than placing an extreme emphasis on the beginning H1 tags or just the site title itself, the bots will scan a page’s entire content to determine what the real subject matter is.

Producing “LSI Friendly” Content

Optimizing each one of your pages for latent semantic indexing is extremely important, since Google is now using this look at your page’s relevance. Although we usually place a huge emphasis on building proper links and off-page factors, assuming that the on-page SEO is just simple and of a lower priority is mistaken. We want to make sure our content is optimized because it really is so easy to do- it’s like a freebie. Spending a little extra time to go through your pages and make sure that you are optimizing your on-page techniques to the max can definitely result in a better rank.

First of all, all of our content needs to make sense and be generally related to the central theme and title of our site. If we’re making a site about Web Design services in Boston, all of our pages should have topics like Web Design, Boston Web Design, Boston Website Design, etc.  We don’t want to have any random pages about Minced Garlic.

To some people, this is just obvious, but realize that everything needs to generally go with the topic of the site.  When optimizing your on-page aspects you also need a philosophy that you can easily use to correct all your pages with.

Here is a simple one that we currently use:

  • Main keyword once in the H1 tags- but with some other text around it to look natural
  • Main keyword once in the first sentence of the article
  • Main keyword once in the last sentence of the article
  • Any secondary keywords once in the first paragraph (as long as it doesn’t look spammy)
  • Heavy use of keyword synonyms throughout the article (very key to LSI)
  • Any images are given the alt text of and named with variants/synonyms of the keyword

The Cardinal Rule: nothing can look spammy.

Remember, Google spends millions on human resources monthly – just to make sure it’s service is going to deliver quality to the billions of people who are searching.  They cant stand finding a ton of useless crap on the internet, keyword stuffing, or mindless data cluttering up the digital landscape andmaking the useful information harder to find.  It’s up to search engines to make useful information easy to access; and that’s why we love them.  Thanks big G.

So now you have your checklist of things all your pages should include and a philosophy for placing your keywords. Maybe you would like to modify it slightly if you have a different strategy with your SEO, but the point is, you need a systematic way checklist to follow.

Parting Words of Wisdom:

Never use article spinning software for articles you use on your actual business sites. They spit out horrible content and in the future this could result in penalties. And make sure to use synonyms to your keywords heavily throughout your articles – it’s a huge sign of relevance to Google and will definitely increase your page’s relevance to the topic in their eyes.  Oh, and make sure your content is original, you wont get any points by copying someone else’s articles verbatim.  Last but not least, the main rule of thumb is: Write for Humans and not for Robots.