WTF is Latent Semantic Indexing? | Hacker Noon

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Have you heard about Latent Semantic Indexing? We can define Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) as the analysis process used by Google to establish semantic relationships inside a website in order to determine its position in the search rankings for certain keywords.

If we are able to analyze this mechanism we can incorporate a serie of improvements in the optimization of the internal factors of our SEO positioning strategy (especially in the writing of our content) and in our Link Building strategy. 

In this article, we will see what Latent Semantic Indexing is and how we can use it to improve our website.

What is Latent Semantic Indexing?

Expanding what we saw earlier, we can define Latent Semantic Indexing as the process by which Google analyzes our website in order to establish semantic relationships inside our content. 

In other words: Google, in addition to considering the keywords for which we position a certain content, also takes into account the terms semantically close to the keyword we choose. 

At Logos BR – Marketing de Conteúdo we work with semantics, NLP to write epic content.

For example, if we write an article about “snake” it is very likely that throughout the post terms like “snakes” or “vipers” appear. These terms will reinforce Google’s idea that our article talks about snakes.

Certainly when you read the terms Latent Semantic Indexing you thought it was complicated, but in the end it is much simpler than it looks.

What does Google consider to be semantically related terms?

Now that we know what latent semantic indexing is, we can prepare a list of aspects that Google considers as semantically related terms. In the previous “snake” example, you probably had a little idea of ​​how it works.

  • Variations of Singular and Plural: car and cars;
  • Male and Female: In this example it would not be valid, but imagine that we want to position the word “lawyer”… What if we also use the word lawyer?;
  • Synonyms: snake, viper etc.;
  • Nouns, verbs, adjectives and linguistic variations in general: size, species, etc.

As you may notice, we can see many related terms with just a quick review. However, next, we will see a set of tools that will be useful to extract related terms.

Tools to extract related terms

If we want to take advantage of latent semantic indexing to optimize our SEO positioning on Google, the best tools are those provided by Google itself.

The Google keyword tool not only helps us to analyze the level of searches for a particular keyword. Also, the “Keyword ideas” option will give us a series of suggestions that we can use.

The semantic search command (press Alt + 4 and then the space key) will suggest different variations (synonyms, plurals, conjugations, etc.) for a given search. For example, if you write “tourism” on Google. 

Pay attention to the bold words. In the first two surveys, it indicated a related term: tourists.

You can also use related Google searches to discover semantically related terms. For example, if you search for “SEO” Google will suggest the following links.

If you want to take advantage of Latent Semantic Indexing to your advantage, thesaurus can be very useful. For example, Word Reference offers a huge volume of suggestions for each word.

How do I implement Latent Semantic Indexing in my SEO strategy?

At this point, we will see how to incorporate Latent Semantic Indexing into our SEO strategy. The advantages? We can easily list:

Greater wealth of content.

Reinforce the main term we want to position.

Positioning of several related terms, not just one term.

Definitely higher quality of content.

Finally, we’ll look at the steps we should take to take advantage of Latent Semantic Indexing:

As you know, SEO-optimized content should contain a keyword density between 2% and 5%. 

Now that you know what Latent Semantic Indexing is, you should consider that to optimize a particular keyword you should not only search for the specific term, but also search for all related terms. 

For example, if we write a guide about web positioning we can use the related terms “SEO positioning”, “SEO optimization” and “Search Engine Optimization”.

The length of the title tag is too short to include related terms, but the meta description isn’t. The optimal length of the label can reach 160 characters. This length is sufficient to take advantage of Latent Semantic Indexing. 

For example, if I want to write a guide about web positioning I can put “Web Positioning Guide: Tips and Tricks to optimize the SEO Positioning of your Web page”.

We can also include related terms on the labels H1, H2, H3, etc. These tags (also known as headers tags) provide information to Google about the content of your page. We don’t always need to include our keyword, we can include related terms.

An image’s Alt (or descriptive text) tag provides information to Google about the image’s content. They may also include terms related to this tag.

And finally, we can take advantage of Latent Semantic Indexing in building links. In an optimal Link Building strategy it is necessary to contain a minimum variety in the texts of the links. So… Why don’t we use all these related terms in addition to the main keyword?

We can definitely take advantage of Latent Semantic Indexing in SEO positioning strategies and, especially, in content development. 

The semantics is essential to create efficient contents which helps the searchers to identify best answers for user doubts.

Remind yourself to always write your content for humans, not for robots. That’s why understanding semantics is so important. When you link another articles from your blog, search contends that complement the user reading, after all, the objective is to help him.

It’s also important to optimize images, putting the ALT text description correctly. Try always offer a good experience for the user, because Google also takes it in consideration when ranking your site.

Now you are prepared to create incredible contents both for the user and for Google.


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