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What are LSI Keywords & how do they boost your SEO?

What are LSI Keywords & how do they boost your SEO?

Keyword stuffing used to be a successful SEO tactic of the past, but not anymore. 

Google found out that keyword stuffing focuses on beating the search engine algorithm rather than providing a great user experience.

Here’s an example:

Example of keyword stuffing

Found something fishy?

Repeating the same word or phrase so often makes it sound unnatural and breaks the entire experience.

That’s when Google decided to mark keyword stuffing as spam and moved on to embrace semantics over exact match keywords. It started favoring those articles that have written their content naturally and one of the ways to detect this is by looking at the LSI keywords.

In other words, Lexical Semantic Indexing (or LSI) keywords help Google understand the context of the content. It’s the way Google decides which page is more relevant to a user’s search query. 

Let’s understand the concept of LSI in detail.

What are LSI keywords?

LSI, or latent semantic indexing, is a technique that uses natural language processing to analyze the relationship between terms in a document. Google uses it to understand content and concepts on pages within its index.

Caveat: LSI keywords are string of words that convey the same idea as that of your focus keyword. However, LSI keywords are NOT synonyms of the main keyword.

For instance, you can’t talk about cars without mentioning vehicles, roads, automobiles, gas etc. These are nothing but ideas that are semantically related to cars, and are hence known as LSI keywords of the main keyword. 

Some more examples are: 

White House — Donald Trump, Washington, Republican

Joggings — Shoes, Fitness, Cardio

iPhone — iTunes, Apple launch, apple price

Importance of LSI keywords in SEO

Occurrence of LSI keywords in your content offers multiple SEO benefits like: –

#1. Better understanding of your content

LSI keywords allow search engines to better understand the context of your content and its relationship to the main keyword. 

Let’s say you have a blog post about ‘Windows.’

It could mean either you are talking about the software ‘windows,’ or the furniture ‘windows’.

So how does Google realize which one are you referring to? 

It’s simple. It looks for LSI keywords in your article to better understand the context of your post. 

If your page is about the windows software, it will definitely include words like ‘Microsoft,’ ‘software,’ ‘windows 10,’ ‘technology,’ and more. 

Whereas if your page contains words like ‘wood,’ ‘plastic,’ ‘height,’ and more, Google will get the hint that your page is about the furniture ‘windows.’ 

Example - How LSI Keywords help in better understanding

A well-written article that contains appropriate LSI keywords will help the search engine read your content like a human does. 

#2. Boost rankings

Google’s ranking system is made up of a whole series of algorithms. To send out better search results, it takes into consideration many factors, including the words of the query and the relevancy of the content. 

Let me explain. 

The current Google algorithm focuses on understanding the intent of the search query

Google uses LSI keywords, which is nothing more than related key phrases and entities, to match the user intent with search results. 

For example, if you are trying to sell Nike shoes, your focus keyword will be ‘buy Nike Shoes.’ But the page will also contain other relevant information on price, rating, shoe description, payment options, and more. 

Example - LSI keywords boost ranking

This information helps Google understand that the website is trying to sell Nike shoes. 

So, the next time a user searches for Nike shoes with the intent of buying, it increases the chance of your page getting ranked. 

In short, LSI keywords help Google understand the overall topic of the page and makes it easy for Google to rank relevant pages for relevant queries.

#3. Opportunity to rank for long-tail keywords

LSI are semantically related words, while long-tail keywords are a combination of two or three words that are a bit more specific. 

Having long-tail keywords in an optimized website provides a better ranking opportunity for those exact search terms. 

For instance, you are searching for ‘weather.’ But if you want to be more specific, you will include ‘weather forecast for California.’ It will narrow down your search.

Example - Ranking for long tail keywords

Using LSI, on the other hand, means including keywords like ‘California,’ ‘temperature,’ ‘warm,’ ‘cloud,’ and more in the article.

Example - LSI keywords

Weather and temperature are not the same words, but they are related. Thus, LSI broadens the search result and adds more context to the keywords, making it easier to rank for long-tail keywords.

#4. Gives you more content ideas

When you run a search query, you will see how Google shows you what related keywords you can use (shown at the bottom of the result page). 

Search Query - Nike shoes

Related keywords for Nike Shoes

This gives you more ideas on how to create unique content revolving around the same keyword but from a different angle. It also tells you what your audience is looking out for. 

Thus, you can create content around those topics. 

How to find LSI keywords easily?

#1. Google Autocomplete

You can quickly uncover LSI terms by using Google’s Autocomplete functionality. 

Let’s say you want to create a blog post about ‘Search Intent’. 

When you type Search Intent on Google search box, it will drop down autocomplete suggestions in bold.

Google autocomplete

These bold words are LSI keywords. Those are the terms often searched by users when they are looking for “search intent” related content. 

When you start writing, include some of these keywords ideas as part of your content.

#2. Google Search

You can find LSI keywords directly from Google. 

When you search for a keyword, you might have noticed how Google bold terms in result snippets. 

Google Search LSI keywords

But if you look closely, it not only bolds the terms that match your query exactly but also related phrases and words. 

That means if you are searching for ‘Android Phone,’ Google also bold related terms like ‘devices’ ‘mobiles’ ‘Android mobile.’

These are the words you should optimize your content for.

#3. Google’s ‘Searches related to’

‘Searches related to…’ is displayed at the bottom of the search results. 

For example, searches related to ‘LSI tools’ looks like this –

Google's searches related to

You will see a list of related terms. And if you pay extra attention to the bold terms, you can use those words to get more effective results. 

#4. LSI Graph

LSIGraph is one of the most common tool to generate LSI keywords. 

You simply need to enter your main keyword in the search box, and it’s done. 

LSI Graph tool

#5. Twinword LSI keywords

Twinword LSI keywords is another free LSI keyword generating tool. 

You simply need to enter your focus keyword in the search tool. And it will display you a list of related keywords that you can use. 

Twinword LSI keywords tool

#6. Google Image Tags

Not many marketers realize that Google image search results are also the place to look for LSI tags. 

When you search for something into Google Images, it hooks you up with a bunch of related terms above the image results. 

Look at this example:

Google Image Tags

In this case, you have related terms as logo, motherboard, computer, screen, and more. 

It’s a legitimate LSI tool. 

How to use LSI keywords? 

After you generate a list of LSI key phrases, you need to first choose only the most relevant ones. 

The next step involves placing your LSI keywords naturally. They should enhance the value of your content and not reduce it. 

There is no hard rule for its placement. However, you can try to sprinkle your LSI words in your: 

Well, that was easy, wasn’t it?

LSI keywords SEO best practices

#1. Must be relevant to the focus keyword

Some of the LSI keyword generator tools can generate a long list of keywords that might not be even relevant to the focus keyword. 

That’s why when choosing your LSI keywords, make sure these are related to your primary keyword. 

Otherwise, it could make you look like you are trying to rank for two unrelated topics.

#2. Use LSI keywords only when required

Just because the tool is suggesting you an LSI keywords, it doesn’t mean you have to force fit it in your content.

Include it only when it makes sense and is the need of the hour. 

Besides, you don’t have to overstuff the keywords. 

As long as your LSI phrases stay relevant to your content, Google will take notice. 

If you are writing naturally, there’s a high probability that you would have included a large number of LSI keywords without even researching for them.

That’s the beauty when you write for your readers and not just the search engines.

#3. Spread throughout the content

Marketers quickly learned the method of keyword stuffing and horribly spammed it to improve their rankings. 

But now Google has made notice of the same, and it even penalizes you for using repetitive keywords on the page. 

Thus, you need to evenly spread LSI keywords throughout the body of your content to make it effective. These LSI keywords should make sense to the readers. 

Again, if you have written naturally, this aspect would be automatically taken care of. Still, there’s no harm in doing a quick check and running some quick optimizations, in case required.

#4. LSI doesn’t mean synonyms

LSI keywords do have similarities in meaning and some kind of relationships between words, but they are not necessarily synonyms. 

Let’s say you are looking for information about Laptops on Google. It might include information about brands, operating systems, and more. 

It might consider words like devices, HP, Dell, Windows, and more. 

While these may not be synonyms of the laptop, they have a relation with the word laptop. 

Contrary, synonyms of laptop are as follows, and none of these has a close semantic relationship with laptop.

Example - Laptop Synonyms

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

#1. What is LSI in digital marketing?

LSI, or latent semantic indexing, is a technique that identifies patterns between terms in a document with the help of natural language processing. Google uses this technique to better understand the context of the content.


#2. What are LSI keywords?

LSI keywords are words and entities that are related to the focus keyword. It helps users and search engines to better understand content. For example, if you are talking about smartphones, then LSI keywords will be battery, display, storage, camera, etc.


#3. How do I use LSI keywords?

First of all, LSI keywords should be relevant to the focus keyword. You must include LSI keywords in meta description, content, image alt text, heading tags, etc. If you are writing naturally, most of the time it is already taken care of.


#4. Why can LSI keywords improve an article’s ranking on Google?

Google shows those results that are relevant to the user query. Therefore, when you include LSI keywords, Google has a better understanding of the content wrt user query, which makes it easy for Google to rank relevant pages.


#5. How do I find my LSI keywords?

You can find LSI keywords by using tools like LSI Graph and Twinword LSI keywords. Apart from that, you can also find these keywords using Google Autocomplete, Google’s ‘Searches related to’ and Google image tags.


When you try to create meaningful content, you will naturally include related words and phrases in it.

If you go by John Mueller’s famous tweet, there is no such thing as LSI keywords.

John Mueller Tweet on LSI Keywords

What he really means is that by writing natural content, you wouldn’t even feel the need to add LSI keywords.

And time and again, Google has specified that it uses natural language processing algorithms as part of its search crawler. And semantics is the core when it comes to processing information like a human.

Therefore, giving a quick check and sprucing your content a bit with LSI keywords will do no harm.

Do try it out.

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