Say it with me…
“We love LSI keywords!”
They’re cool because they help make sure Google knows which keyword you’re trying to rank for.
Plus, it’s been said that LSI keywords can improve your pages’ rankings.
Sure, they might be just one small component of a much larger SEO strategy, but I argue that it’s an important one.
Without LSI, Google might have a tougher time trying to figure out what your page is all about.
That being said, this post is going to show you the 6 “must-knows” of building an LSI SEO strategy that works.
Let’s dive right in.
LSI SEO: 6 Must-Knows for Creating a Killer LSI Keyword Strategy
1. Know What LSI Means and Why It Matters
LSI is an acronym for latent semantic indexing.
I won’t bore you with the details… but it’s a mathematical method created by a team of super-smart people in the late 80s that sought to improve information retrieval.
- Latent stands for hidden,
- Semantic stands for words, and
- Indexing stands for info retrieval.
Put it all together…
…and you’ll see that LSI is all about finding the not-so-obvious relationships between words and then grouping them together appropriately so they can be easily retrieved.
Or put another way:
Finding synonyms and words related to a primary word (in our case, a primary keyword).
Why LSI Matters to SEO
At the end of the day, LSI keywords help clarify to search engines what a page is about; helping ensure that your page is not associated with a completely different keyword meaning.
It’s a popular belief in the SEO circle that LSI keywords can help improve a page’s rankings.
But it hasn’t been proven.
Some people even say it doesn’t help SEO.
The thing is that Google has never formally stated that they use LSI to help determine the meaning of a page, but it’s been widely speculated.
So does LSI really matter? Should you spend your resources on it?
I and countless others say yes.
Not only because we’ve seen positive results ourselves (in combination with other on-page SEO strategies).
But also because some of the top SEO minds and websites tout the usefulness and effectiveness of LSI keywords.
People and sites like Brian Dean:
and Neil Patel:
To me, that’s proof enough that there’s “something” there with LSI and that it’s worth incorporating into your strategy.
Worst case scenario…
It doesn’t have an effect and you spent a few extra minutes adding words to your content that, quite frankly, probably makes the page clearer and more appealing to your audience.
2. Know Your Searchers’ Intent
LSI keywords should always correspond with the intent of the searcher searching for your page’s primary keyword.
Let’s break that down real quick:
First and foremost, the LSI keywords should be in the same niche as your primary keyword.
Take the word “cars” for example. “Cars” can have a number of different meanings:
- the Disney movie franchise
- a rock band
- a rally car association
So if your page is about “Cars” the Disney movie, then LSI keywords related to automobiles would be a poor choice for inclusion in your content.
That’s the top level of searchers intent.
But then you can break it down even further into three different types of intent:
1. Informational. Is the searcher looking for information about the movie “Cars?” Example search: disney cars movie plot
2. Navigational. Is the searcher looking for information about “Cars” on a specific website? Example search: disney cars amazon
3. Transactional. Is the searcher wanting to make a transaction related to the keyword? Example search: buy disney cars bluray
So if your page is about the brilliance of the “Cars” screenplay and its primary keyword is cars screenplay, then your searchers’ intent will be informational.
Thus you’ll want to use LSI keywords that 1) are related to “Cars” the movie, and 2) are informational in their intent.
3. Know How to Write Purposeful and Relevant Content
Here’s the cool thing about adding LSI keywords to your content:
If you purposely create long-form content that’s relevant to your primary keyword, you’ll naturally include LSI keywords on the page without you needing to think about it.
Brian Dean even admits to no longer focusing on adding LSI keywords because he found that he naturally incorporates them into his in-depth, laser-targeted posts.
So focus on creating in-depth, relevant content and all you’ll need to do is review the final edit to make sure you have LSI keywords in the copy.
But there’s one thing you want to make sure to avoid:
Using irrelevant LSI keywords in your content.
For example, adding an LSI keyword related to automobiles in a post about the Disney “Cars” movie.
Something like that will only confuse Google and potentially hurt your chances of ranking for your primary keyword.
The good news is that there are plenty of useful online tools available that will help you avoid making that mistake…
4. Know How to Find LSI Keywords
You don’t have to play the guessing game when deciding which LSI keywords best complement your page’s primary keyword.
There are a ton of tools online that’ll do the work for you.
Some are better than others.
Here are four tools that I’ve found work the best:
Google Search is the most popular and easiest way to find LSI keywords.
Here’s how it works:
Search your primary keyword in Google:
Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the section titled “Searches related to …:”
These are words that Google itself thinks are closely related to your target keyword.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
Choose a couple, sprinkle them in your post, and you’re all set.
LSIGraph lets you type in a primary keyword and get back a list of other related keywords.
Here’s how it works:
Type in your primary keyword, check the “I’m not a robot” box, and click “Generate:”
LSIGraph will give you a list of LSI keywords:
It’s that simple.
LSIGraph really shines when you sign up for a membership.
One standout feature is its Latent Semantic Value (LSV) score, which ranks each LSI keyword’s relativity to your primary keyword. The higher the LSV, the closer the relationship between the primary keyword and LSI keyword.
Keep in mind also that you’re allowed a limited number of free searches. After that, you’ll need to sign up to continue using it.
Answer The Public
This is arguably my favorite tool for generating LSI keywords because it provides you with so much information for each primary keyword.
Just type the keyword into Answer The Public’s search box, choose your language, click “Get Questions…”
…and you’ll get:
UberSuggest has always been a popular keyword idea generator. But it’s also good at helping you come up with solid LSI keyword ideas.
Start by searching for your primary keyword…
…and you’ll get a list of suggested keyword ideas…
…and related keyword ideas:
Now, you can simply put words from this list directly into your copy, or do what I prefer—take the keywords and use them in a Google or Answer The Public search to uncover even more LSI keywords.
There are other tools available too. And if you want to use them, go nuts.
But you really only need a couple of the ones above to be able to have plenty of LSI keywords to put into your page’s content.
Speaking of which…
Let’s briefly talk about how you should be using these LSI keywords in your content.
5. Know How to Place LSI Keywords in Your Content
You might expect this section to be long, in-depth and full of groundbreaking strategies.
As a matter of fact, it’s probably the shortest section in this guide.
I promise… I’m not short-changing ya.
It’s just that placing LSI keywords is very simple and straightforward. You find ’em, pick ’em and place ’em. That’s pretty much the gist of it.
Here’s what you need to know:
There’s No Perfect Ratio for LSI Keywords
Google hasn’t told us much about how they use related words to rank pages.
So we make our best guesses.
You’ll hear different ratios depending on where you look.
The sweet spot tends to be between 2-4 LSI keywords per 1,000 words of content.
I suggest you aim for the higher end of that range.
Now keep in mind, this ratio includes all LSI keywords.
For instance, you’ll want approximately 12 LSI keywords for a 3,000-word article.
But those 12 LSI keywords won’t be the same keyword. The group will most likely include 8-10 different LSI keywords used in the article.
Include LSI Keywords in Other On-page Areas
Page-related LSI keywords can go anywhere. They’re not confined to only the page’s copy.
Some of the smartest places to sneak in LSI keywords are in locations that aren’t as obvious at first glance.
- Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.)
- Title tag
- Page description
- Image descriptions
So make sure you don’t confine yourself to only page copy. Branch out and incorporate LSI keywords into other on-page areas, too.
6. Know How to Track Your LSI Keyword Progress in Rankings
So how do you keep track of all of this LSI awesomeness you’ve incorporated into your pages?
How do you monitor how well your keywords are doing after the LSI keywords are added?
With Monitor Backlinks‘ keyword tracking module.
This tool will keep track of any keyword you want to monitor—be it your primary keyword or an LSI keyword that you come across in your research.
You can track things like:
- Current and previous ranking status
- Competition comparison
- Best position
- Search volume
Here’s how it works:
First, log in to Monitor Backlinks and go to the Rank Tracker module:
(If you don’t have a Monitor Backlinks account, click here to sign up for a free 30-day trial!)
Next, click the plus sign in the top right corner to add a keyword:
In the pop-up box field, type in the keyword/s you want to track and click “Add Keywords:”
And you’re all set.
Your keyword will appear in the list…
…and Monitor Backlinks will automatically monitor any pages that rank for your keyword and give you up-to-date information on its progress.
Remember, LSI Is Just One Aspect of SEO
While LSI is an effective SEO strategy, it’s just one small piece in a much bigger puzzle that is SEO.
Your primary focus should always be on…
- Choosing the right keywords
- Creating great content and
- Building a portfolio full of quality backlinks
…first and foremost.
(And Monitor Backlinks can help you in all of those areas.)
But once those are taken care of, it’s well worth your time to find the best LSI keywords for each page and sprinkle them throughout your content.
At the end of the day, it’ll only help your chances of ranking for the right keywords and ranking higher.