What is Latent Semantic Indexing?

Just starting to learn SEO and you have no idea what Latent Semantic Indexing is, or maybe you’ve been writing a ton of content and you still can’t get it onto page one. If that’s the case, then you’re going to want to read this whole article. And the reason why is because I’m going to explain to you in layman’s terms, what is Latent Semantic Indexing, whether or not it even matters today. And I’m going to wrap up with three free methods that you can use starting today to start figuring out what LSI keywords are related to the content you’re creating.

In this article, I’m going to show you a look over my shoulder of me actually using these methods to figuring out the LSI keywords related to a topic. In case you’re new here, I’m Will, and on this channel, I teach you the real-world business skills that you didn’t learn in school to help you level up your business.

What is LSI?

Latent Semantic Indexing in the context of SEO is when search engines try to figure out the intent behind your search by putting it in relation to other related words. You can imagine a word cloud, which has a ton of similarly related words to the phrase that you search for. Now, these aren’t necessarily synonyms, but they are closely related words to what you searched for.

For example, if you were to look for something like umbrellas in photography, then you might come across LSI keywords, like umbrella reflector, soft boxes or light modifiers. Without providing those other keywords in the search related to umbrellas in photography, we would get completely different results.

For example, we might get something like thunderstorms or T-storms or rain, showers, so on. So, by having these LSI keywords, we allow Google to get a better understanding of what we’re writing about.

Why did search engines start using LSI?

The reason why is largely because back in the good old days of SEO, people started keyword stuffing a lot. And what I mean by that is they would put in phrases like umbrellas and photography, 70 times in an article to tell Google that this page was about umbrellas in photography. But ultimately, this keyword stuffing made things really hard for Google.

And if you think about what Google is trying to do, it’s trying to give you the searcher the best possible result for the question that you’re asking. So, they had to come up with a better way to figure out the relevancy of the post, as well as the quality of the content.

Going back to that umbrella in photography example. If we had a post that cover things like softboxes, light modifiers or umbrella reflectors, then Google would have a much better chance of understanding that we’re writing about umbrellas in the context of photography, as opposed to umbrellas in the context of thunderstorms or bad weather.

Does LSI really matter?

Naturally, the use of LSI by search engines leads to the big question. Does LSI even matter? To be honest, there’s a lot of debate amongst SEOs in terms of the importance of LSI. Some people are in the camp that it’s a popularized myth, whereas others find it incredibly important to their content. Whether or not Google uses LSI is your guess as good as mine.

Just using some common sense, I think LSI is important. And the reason why is because by providing related keywords to the content that you’re creating, you’re helping a robot try to better understand what you’re creating. It makes perfect sense to me that having it, as opposed to not having it would be beneficial. So to me, what that means is that if there’s even a marginal gain that I stand to benefit from using LSI keywords, as opposed to not using LSI keywords, I’m going to use them because they’re going to give me an edge up with my competition.

So now that we know all the fundamentals behind LSI, let’s dig into three quick ways that we can start using LSI keywords today.

Method #1: People Also Ask

The first way we can do so is by using People Also Ask and just your general Google search. So let’s go ahead and jump into the computer and search that phrase, umbrellas in photography.

There are two things I’m looking for as I look at my results. The first one is the People Also Ask section. And the second one is the People also search for section. And what I’m going to notice is that as I’m expanding out this people also ask section, there are clearly some closely related keywords that are related to my search term of umbrellas in photography.

For example, softboxes has comes up. Another one is something along the lines of lighting, right? So in this situation, I didn’t have anything on lighting in my original query, but I know that lighting is important and highly relevant to umbrellas in photography.

Now let’s go to the bottom of the page. When we do so we’ll see things like different types of photography umbrellas. Photography umbrella versus soft box. Again, the importance of softbox with relation to photography umbrellas, or shooting through an umbrella. So these are the kinds of keywords that are really important to include if we were writing a piece on umbrellas in the context of photography, as opposed to umbrellas in the context of a thunderstorm.

Method #2: Combination of LSIGraph, Keywords Everywhere, and KeywordTool.io

The second method that we can use to figure out LSI keywords is by using a combination of LSIGraph, Keywords Everywhere, and KeywordTool.io.

So, first I’m going to jump into LSIGraph.com and I’m going to search that same phrase of umbrellas in photography. So, what I see here is that LSIGraph has put together a few of the keywords that are commonly related to the search term of umbrellas in photography. There’s things like different types of photography umbrellas, umbrella photography ideas, photography umbrella versus softbox, shoot through umbrella, how to set up an umbrella lighting for photography, things like this. So these are closely related search terms to the core phrase of umbrellas in photography.

Now let’s jump into Keywords Everywhere results. So, as I searched for this phrase using Keywords Everywhere, what I’ll notice on the right hand side is a related keyword section. And this is where you all see a lot of the same types of keywords that were coming out in LSIGraph. I see things like shoot through umbrella, how to set up umbrella lighting for photography, different types of photography umbrellas and so on.

The last thing we can do in the second method is to check out KeywordTool.io. So, what I’m doing here is I’m going to go ahead and type that same search phrase that I’ve been using in the first two sites. And what we’ll see here in the results for KeywordTool.io is some commonly used phrases to the particular phrase of umbrellas in photography.

Something that you’ll notice though, is that KeywordTool.io actually wasn’t as good as the first two tools though, in terms of identifying phrases beyond just umbrella. The other two tools picked up things like the importance of soft boxes, whereas KeywordTool.io did not.

Method #3: MonkeyLearn or any other free word cloud generator

The last method that I’ll show you for figuring out LSI keywords is to use MonkeyLearn or any other free word cloud generator. What you can do is you can look up the top three to five ranking articles and copy and paste the content of those articles, into a word cloud generator, to see the sorts of words commonly come up in the best content for that particular search phrase.

So, let’s go ahead and do that real quick. To do so, the first thing I need to do is I need to search the phrase umbrellas in photography. From here, I’m going to get it a ton of different results. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to open up the top three responses. As I do that, I’m going to load up each page and I’m just going to simply copy and paste the contents of that page, to the word cloud generator that I have open in another tab.

So, I’m going to straight up just copy this entire page here from start to finish. I’m going to paste it into the word cloud generator. I’m going to do that again with this second page. Just add a line break. I’m going to include that in the second page. And then in the last page, we’re going to do this again.

All I do is click that generate cloud button. And what we’re going to see is we’re going to see some words that are commonly related to umbrellas in photography. As you see here, MonkeyLearn does a lot of the hard work for us and actually output some of the most commonly used phrases with relation to these three top posts.

There’s things like photography umbrella, photo umbrella guide, reflective umbrella, light source, umbrella receptacle, softer light, and so on. And what you also notice is that the word cloud easily shows you a visualization of which words are most commonly used in relation to the search term of umbrellas in photography.

In order to quickly isolate for which LSI keywords are best for you to target, what I recommend you do is focus on creating training videos, showing these three methods. Then delegate it to your virtual assistants so that they can help you with some of the keyword research and save you time as you can focus more on the content creation process.

Are any of these methods for discovering LSI keywords getting you super excited, or did you learn something new today?

Now, let’s talk about where you can use your LSI keywords. You can use them pretty much anywhere. So what I recommend you do is you include them in all of your major headings, your H2s, H3s, H4s, H5s  et cetera, as well as the alt text of your images. In case you don’t know, alt text is short for alternative text. And it’s essentially what shows up in the situation in which your image doesn’t properly load.

I recommend you don’t take any chances and that you incorporate LSI keywords in the beginning, middle and end of every single content piece, whether it’s a blog post, a YouTube video or something else, it always makes sense to do so, because why take the chance?

Big Takeaways

Two big takeaways from today’s article:

  1. The first one is that the entire point of search engine is to show you the best response to your search. And so what LSI keywords help search engines do is better contextualize the content that you’re creating.
  2. The second thing I want you to remember is that there are a ton of free ways for you to discover LSI keywords. And hopefully you found one of the methods that I showed you today super helpful.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might benefit from learning about LSI and the importance of LSI for their content creation.