What Are LSI Keywords (And Why Do You Need Them)?

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is an indexing and retrieval method used by search engines to help give context to words on a page.

Let’s say you created a page about “Peaches”

Google would look for associated words to help decide if the page was about:

  • The fruit (texture, taste, how to grow)
  • The song by The Stranglers (release date, album, lyrics)
  • Peaches Geldof (Bob Geldof, tv presenter, columnist)
  • The Canadian musician Peaches (Electronic music, Canada, singer)

What are LSI keywords

So if we were optimsing for peaches the fruit we would want to include LSI keywords that indicate that.

As an SEO you can leverage this system to help improve your contents relevancy and search visibility.

Are LSI Keywords Still Useful?

There is lots of debate of whether including LSI keywords in your content is still helpful.

LSI keywords are still part of my content creation process, and let me tell you one thing-

They certainly don’t hurt and it doesn’t cost anything to do!

Every article on this blog was optimised to include LSI keywords and you should be doing the same as well.

Granted, there are other onpage optimisation methods like like TFIDF (which I do immediately after publish) but LSI keywords are still inserted during the first draft.

How To Find LSI Keywords For Your Content

There are 2x free tools that you can use to help you find LSI keywords to include in your content.

The first one, is from Google themselves-

#1: Google

Head over to Google and enter the target search term you want to rank for.

Then scroll down to the “Searches Related To” section-

green coffee LSI example

You can see you if were writing about “Green Coffee Beans” you might also want to include-

  • Prices
  • Organic information
  • Side effects
  • How to process them
  • How to make Green Coffee

PRO TIP: If you want to earn some extra on page brownie points you can also scroll to the “People Also Ask” section-

people also ask

And include those questions as headers with answers in an FAQ section of your content.

The main problem with Google’s tool though is they don’t return many ideas.

#2: LSIGraph

Is a free tool that shows you an expanded list of LSI keywords.

These are keywords associated with your topic which should fit into your content easily.

Put the main keyword for your content into the search bar:

lsi graph

Once entered hit the generate button and you’ll be greeted with a list of LSI Keywords.

lsi graph results

They aren’t ranked in any (obvious) order. You’d have to run each of these keywords through Google’s Keyword Planner to find exact search volumes.

How To Use LSI Keywords In Your Content

So now you know what the LSI keywords are for your target keyword…

…We need to look at how you fit LSI keywords into your content.

I’m going to cover two topics:

  • How to work them naturally into your writing
  • Where to place them in your content

If you’re brand new to keywords then I suggest you read both.

How To Naturally Use LSI Keywords In Your Writing

A lot the time, LSI keywords don’t read like words that can be used in a natural writing flow.

But making sure they fit in naturally is important.

You don’t just want to randomly drop a keyword into a sentence and hope nobody notices.

LSI keywords should occur naturally in your text and not look like they’ve just been shoved in with half a tub of Vaseline.

How Not To Use LSI Keywords

Your LSI Keywords can fit into:

  • Subheadings: The smaller headings that break up the different sections of content
  • Questions: Questions can be used to start sections or setup for a new point
  • Statements: Give information in a definitive way

Let’s take a look at an example together:

Imagine if our target keyword was “Home brewing starter kit”.

You could insert the LSI keywords like this-

  • Sub-Headings: Where Can You Buy A Home Brewing Starter Kit? or The Best Home Brewing Kit
  • Questions: How long does home brewing take? or How much does a home brewing kit cost?
  • Statements: This is the best home brewing starter kit I’ve used or This is a great IPA homebrew starter kit

See how natural these can feel? Not only that, but each of these points are helpful to the reader!

When used right:

LSI keywords sound natural and provide additional value to your content.

How To Place LSI Keywords In Your Content

Once you know how to add the LSI keywords to sentences naturally…

You can begin to place them throughout your content.

My mantra has always been  “Keep it simple stupid”   and that rule definitely applies here too.

Here are four simple and easy, yet effective ways to place LSI Keywords in your content-

  • Add two LSIs to every piece of content: This should be in addition to your main keyword. This can be anywhere it adds to the value of the content.
  • Add LSIs to your meta descriptions: By including them in your meta description you can add to the overall relevancy of your page.
  • Add LSIs to your images: These keywords work well in the alt tags or filenames of images in your content.
  • Add LSIs to the heading tags: Including the keywords in the <h2> and <h3> tags of your pages are strong signals.

You can use these in any combination, or apply all four.

Whichever you feel best suits your content and the audience you’re presenting it to.

Just stay focused on keeping things natural!

Wrapping It Up

Knowing how LSI keywords work and how to use them is an SEO advantage.

And I make sure I add them to every new piece of content I produce (including this one).

It doesn’t cost anything to find LSI keywords and it doesn’t cost anything to integrate them either.

So why wouldn’t you take advantage of them?

If you add LSI keywords to your content and do a TFIDF analysis after publication, you will be in a much stronger position than most of your competition.

Assuming your are doing keyword research the right way anyway!

4 Responses

  1. Kunjal
    5.29.2019

    This is the only LSI Keyword Post that isn’t ambiguous. Thanks for sharing Mat!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 29th, 2019 at 5:39 am

      No problem Kunjal – LSI keywords are very important and I hope this showed you why.

  2. gaurav patyal
    5.10.2019

    Very nice post… thank you for sharing such an informative post!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 13th, 2019 at 2:42 am

      Hey Gaurav! No worries, hope it helped you understand why you need LSI keywords :)

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