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How to Use LSI Keywords to Boost Your SEO

July 25, 2018

LSI keywords are semantically related to the main topic of your content. Using tools to find LSI keywords and strategically integrating them into your content helps your SEO and provides your company with a competitive advantage.  

Optimizing your content for keywords is not a new concept. However, using the same 2 target keywords or their exact synonyms in your content does not provide much SEO benefit.

Google has come a long way since the days when higher keyword density meant better ranking.

Google’s algorithm is smart enough to understand the context of any page. And Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, or keywords that are contextually related to the main topic of your content, are very important in that regard.

In this article, I present a guideline on how to optimize your site and content using LSI keywords by explaining the importance of LSI, how to find LSI keywords, and optimize your site content for them. 

Implement these techniques in your SEO strategy to help you rank higher for well-written content.

What Are LSI Keywords?

LSI keywords are single or multi-word keywords that are contextually related to the main topic of any content.

For example, suppose you are writing an article about Apple. The word “apple” can either mean the fruit or the Apple, Inc. 

Google determines which apple you are talking about by identifying synonyms or semantically similar terms. For example, if you are writing about Apple (the company), your article is likely to include words such as “company,” “iPhone,” or “Apple stock”. On the other hand, if you were writing about an apple (the fruit), your article is likely to contain words like “fruit,” “apple tree,” or “green apple”.

Google can identify these semantically related words, and according to this, decides what your article is about.

Importance of LSI Keywords

LSI keywords help your content rank better.

By using LSI keywords in your content, you improve the relevancy signal that Google uses to rank a page.

If your content includes multiple LSI keywords that relate to your main keyword, Google assumes it’s more relevant for a particular search query, and thus pushes it higher in its search engine results pages (SERPs).

LSI keywords also prevent your page from ranking for the wrong keywords.

Of course, LSI keywords are not silver bullets. If your content isn’t really informative, forcefully including relevant keywords won’t provide any long-term improvement in search ranking.

LSI keywords also help you produce better content.

Suppose you write an article on a certain topic and prepare a list of LSI keywords for it. If you cannot find a way to naturally include most of these keywords in your content, your content is not sufficiently comprehensive and you need to extend or revise it.

How to Find LSI Keywords

For illustrating the process of finding LSI keywords, assume your target keyword is “seo friendly URL”.

Use the following steps to find the best LSI keywords to strengthen your content and help search rankings.

1. Google Instant Search

Google search box provides instant suggestions when you type any search term. It’s one of the easiest ways to find LSI keywords for a content.

Enter the main keyword “seo friendly url,” and the following suggestions appear: 

Google Instant Search

Not all of these suggestions are useful. However, LSI keywords for this term include:

  • "seo friendly urls" (main term)
  • "seo friendly urls  php"
  • "seo friendly urls  htaccess"
  • "seo friendly urls  wordpress"
  • "seo friendly url structure"

This list represents terms that Google expects to see in content about “seo friendly url.”

2. Google’s Related Search Suggestions

Google shows a “Searches related to” section at the bottom of every SERP. This is another good place to find phrases that Google associates with your primary keyword.

Related Search Suggestions

Possible new LSI keywords we can get from this include:

  • "url optimization"
  • "hyphen in url"
  • "seo friendly url example"
  • "url depth"

Google also uses boldface to mark important words in search results. This can be another source of LSI keywords.

Bolded LSI Keywords

For example, if you search for “screen size,” Google bolds keywords such as “screen's display resolution,” “screen resolution,” and “1680 x 1050 pixels” in the search results.

3. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a useful tool to find LSI keywords. This tool is basically for AdWords advertisers but can be used for general keyword research.

To use Google Keywords Planner, you need to have an AdWords account. However, using Keyword Planner does not require that you spend any money or run an ad campaign. 

Again, using “seo friendly url” as our main keyword, Google shows a comprehensive list of related keywords.

Google Keyword Planner results

It's up to you to go through the list and to decide which keywords are relevant to your content. 

4. LSIGraph

LSIGraph is a free tool that helps your LSI keyword research. 

LSIGraph

Some of the keywords you find using this tool may have appeared on Google, but some new ones appear, including: 

  • "seo friendly url example"
  • "keywords in urls"
  • "user friendly url"
  • "url structure breakdown"
     

5. SEMrush

So far we’ve shown how to find LSI keywords using free tools. Alhough those tools are good enough, here’s a paid one we found useful.

SEMrush is a popular digital marketing suite that has many features for SEO, PPC, and content marketing. For our purpose, we’ll talk about its SEO Content Template feature.

SEMRush

After you enter your main keyword in the Content Template generator, SEMrush analyzes the top ranking pages for that keyword. It also presents a list of semantically related keywords that your top 10 rival pages are using.

How to Optimize Your Site Content for LSI Keywords

So now you know how to find the LSI keywords. But how do you use them?

Here’s our step-by-step guide for how to optimize your site content using LSI keywords:

1. Use LSI Keywords in Your Title Tags

Often, LSI keywords are long-tail versions of your main keyword. For example, if your main keyword is “seo tips,” one of your LSIs is “seo tips and tricks.” In this case, it’s better to use the LSI keyword in the title. This will help you rank for both the keywords “seo tips” and “seo tips and tricks”.

2. Include LSI Keywords in Meta Descriptions

Use LSI keywords in your meta descriptions to draw the attention of searchers. Avoid hurting the readability of your meta description by stuffing too many keywords, as Google might consider that bad practice.

3. Put LSI Keywords in Image Alt Tags

All the images in your content should have alt tags. Write the alt tags in such a way that they include some of the LSI keywords. Again, that doesn’t mean you should write keyword-stuffed alt tags. Naturally, the images that you include in the content should be somewhat related to the LSI keywords you have.

4. Include Your Most Relevant Keywords in the First Half of the Content

The more important a keyword is, the sooner it should appear in your content. Try to have your main keyword in the first line. Then, use the most important LSI keywords within the top 50% of your article body. You might need to change your article structure to achieve this.

5. Include LSI Keywords in Headers

Article subheadings (H1, H2, H3 tags) should have some of your LSI keywords. Google pays special attention to the headings of any page. LSI keywords may help you decide how to break up your content into smaller sections.

Sometimes your LSI list will contain a word that is relevant but doesn't fit in your existing article. In these cases, you may create a new section in your article focused on that keyword.

6. Use Closely Related LSI Keywords in Anchor Texts

Optimizing your anchor texts for a single keyword may be risky for your SEO.

For example, if you publish guest posts on different sites and always use the keyword “web design company” to link back to your site, it will be tough to rank for other related keywords.

To get the best SEO value, you should also use LSI keywords such as “web development company” or “web design service” in your anchor texts.

7. Focus on Context and Readability

Some bloggers add LSI keywords without any context. This is a mistake. LSI keywords can help quality content rank better. However, randomly placing them in your content won’t do any good.

Using closely related keywords too many times can hurt the readability of an article. After you optimize an article using LSI keywords, read it over carefully. If any sentence sounds unnatural, or if the placement of a keyword makes a sentence awkward, remove the keyword. Rewrite the sentence or write a new sentence or a paragraph if necessary.

Using LSI Keywords Optimizes Your Content for Search Ranking

Optimizing content with LSI keywords is an on-page SEO skill learned through practice. If you can leverage LSI keywords in your content, you can improve your SEO.

Use the tools and techniques listed in this article to find and optimize your content for LSI keywords.


About the Author

Amio Chadhury HeadshotAmio Galib Chowdhury is a content writer at WebAlive, an Australian web development company. He mostly writes on e-commerce, user experience design, and SEO.