Although the majority of the SEO world is still focused on the “mechanics” of ranking (links building, automation, etc), those who’ve been following Google closely know that content is the most important aspect of any SEO campaign. 

And by content, I’m not just talking about the “old way” of doing content – doing keyword research and basing your content solely off of those keywords.

I’m talking about the user experience. 

Ever since the Panda Update, Google’s been using a wide variety of metrics to determine where to rank websites. And a huge number of those metrics have to do with content.

We’ve already covered this topic in detail before, so if you didn’t read that article, go check it out real quick: Website Not Ranking? Might Be Time for a Quality Check.

But in summary, here are a few things Google looks at to determine your rankings (based on content alone):

  • Bounce Rates (if traffic immediately exits your site on landing or if they stick around)
  • Average Time on Site (how long is the user spending on your site?)
  • The number of Pages Visited (did the user just read one page or did they click around your website?)
  • LSI Keywords (is your content “keyword soup” or does it really talk about what your website says it does?)

Now, we’ve already covered the first three in the article linked above. Today, we’re going to talk about the last metric: LSI keywords.

What are LSI Keywords?

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. Google uses LSI to determine whether or not a website really delivers on what it says it will.

Here’s how it works:

When you do “keyword research,” you determine a few phrases that most people in your niche will be using to find your website. So if you’re in the music business, people might be searching “how to sell CD’s,” “how to make it in a band,” “making money with music,” etc.

Now, some website owners stop there. They get the basic keywords for their niche, write “content” based around those keywords and that’s it.

But they don’t really write content on those keywords. They write meaningless “fluff” that delivers no value to the person who visits their website. 

So with our music business example, they might have a page titled “making money with music,” but it doesn’t actually say anything of meaning on this subject.

Here’s where LSI comes into the equation. Google realizes that when you target a specific keyword, there are other relevant keywords that go with that keyword.

So if your main key-phrase was “making money with music,” that’s not the only music-related keyword you’d have in relevant content. Such an article would probably have additional keywords like “marketing,” “contacts,” “record label,” “entertainment attorney,” “recording,” “performance,” etc.

As you can see, all these LSI keywords are completely relevant to the main idea of the article: making money in the music industry.

Now, when you have these LSI keywords in your content, Google can tell that your content is truly related to what your main keyword says it is. As a result, based on LSI alone, Google can tell that your website has a high probability of providing its visitors with value.

Of course, LSI isn’t the only tool Google uses to gauge the user experience. But in many cases, SEO’s get caught up in the idea of using keywords, building links, etc. So for those of you who are more mechanically minded, LSI gives you something to keep in mind whenever you’re creating content.

How to find LSI Keywords

So how do you find your LSI keywords?

Fortunately, there are a wide variety of tools available on the internet for free. Simply searching “finding LSI keywords” will give you a huge number of free tools. 

So next time you’re creating content, don’t just target one keyword. Don’t create “keyword soup,” but include relevant LSI keywords into your content.

Obviously, if you’re writing valuable content, these LSI keywords should come naturally anyways. That’s what they’re designed to do. So create content designed to increase the level of the user experience. Keywords, LSI and backlinks will naturally follow (of course, it never hurts to give your site a bit of a push…).

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