Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI): why do I need to know this term?

I often preach this to clients, so I thought I’d offer a blog explanation as to why I say “Keywords are only good for search terms, not for ranking your website” Google, in its continuing effort to make finding answers easier changes its algorithms on an almost daily basis. We don’t even hear about a lot of them because most of them are improvements on an algorithm already is use. But we do hear about major changes, they usually have interesting names like Panda, Penguin or the 2009 change “Brenda,” which contains the topic of this blog or Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).

LSI is an algorithm that Google uses to understand the topic offered by pages via words and phrases that are related to the primary keyword/heading and determine that the topic introduced in a title is actually the topic being presented in the article. The introduction of this algorithm was partly to stop SEO black hat tricks like keyword stuffing and made natural writing more important. No longer do writers need to have their primary keyword appear multiple times in an article.

The easiest way to explain this is by example. So, let’s say you’re writing a blog or page on your website about raising kittens. The title could be How to Raise KittensĀ and your primary keyphrase is “raise kittens” or “raising kittens.” Of course the first cool thing is that you don’t have to pick, either primary keyword will work because Google recognized variations on a word. The second thing you want to do is offer terms that go along with raising kittens, such as teaching kittens to use the litterbox, kitten proofing your home, to declaw or not to declaw and so on. Those words and phrases are related to the topic. It is much easier to write on a topic if you’re not thinking about how to fit a keyword into your article. Just write about your topic, Google will do the rest.

Google is only interested in helping users find relevant, interesting, new content. So, when you sit down to write a blog or add new contentĀ  to your website keep in mind that, while keywords help people find you, for ranking (Search Engine Optimization) Google wants topic relevancy – your writing must be about what you say it is about.

PS: It’s good to be back. I’ve taken some time out to deal with the passing of my mother. But, while I’m certainly will never be over it, I’m in that process of grieving where work is better than sitting around feeling sorry for myself.