A Quick Look at Latent Semantic Indexing

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Latent semantic indexing. Bust that term out at a party and people will think you’re brilliant! All it means is that search engines associate terms with concepts. So, instead of just indexing a site based on keywords, algorithms can determine the context. This is why when we search for “Tiger Woods,” for instance, we don’t get results on big cats and forests, but on the golfer. Google uses its algorithms to determine the connection between words.

So, what does LSI mean for your SEO efforts? When you optimise your site, Google can determine connections and relevance to searchers. When indexing your site, Google will look for:

  • Site architecture. Have a strong infrastructure in place on which to build content.
  • Organized content. This makes it easier to find, obviously, particularly when you have logical categories. Google can look at your content categories and identify connections. For instance, a site on SEO might have “Panda” or “Penguin” as a content category. Google can determine that this is SEO related and not for animal fans because of the use of other keywords and content of the website.
  • Relevant content around your main topic. Watch out for over-optimisation. Focusing on a single keyword sends an alarm signal to Google, and sites that narrow in on one or only a few keywords rank more poorly.
  • Use words related to keywords. Use synonyms, plurals, and various tenses of your keywords to build relationships.
  • Mix up your anchor text. Don’t use the same keyword phrase for every link. Bad form.

While Google doesn’t like to discuss its secret sauce, latent semantic indexing appears to play a role in ranking. When you can create a clear architecture and content with targeted keywords, you can boost your spot in the SERPs.

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