Latent Semantic Indexing – Not as Bad as it Sounds

What Is Latent Semantic Indexing

If you read the headline to this article and didn’t run away – congratulations!  Latent semantic indexing may sound intimidating on the surface, but it is actually easy to understand and helpful to the success of your website.

By spending a little time to learn more about the topic, you’ll have a better understanding of the SEO picture and put yourself ahead of many other webmasters.

LSI Is Latent Semantic Indexing

Okay, so first things first – what is latent semantic indexing?

Here is a jiffy quick definition:  writing to your theme.  Another way of saying it is: writing quality content about the topic of your article or post.

More Detail

As with most things SEO, it starts with keywords.  In the never-ending quest by search engines like Google to refine their results, latent semantic indexing has been added to the formula.

Rather than just looking at the keywords present in an article, the search bots will record the other relevant words in an article so they can better associate it with what the article actually says.

The idea behind LSI is to remove content from the search results that simply stuffs the keyword all through an article but doesn’t really speak to the topic.

A Simple Example of LSI

Here’s a simple example that we use all the time when we are explaining what latent semantic indexing is to someone who has never heard of it.

The word Apple has two different popular meanings in the modern world.

  • One describes a fruit.
  • The other describes one of the biggest companies in the world.

Words in an article about apple the fruit might be:

  • Pie
  • Seeds
  • Trees
  • Turnovers
  • Johnny Appleseed

An article about Apple the company would likely use words like:

  • iPad
  • Mac
  • Software
  • iPod
  • Steve Jobs

It makes sense that a search engine would want to know which apple an article is focused on.

Before latent semantic indexing, the search engine would just see the word ‘apple’ used a number of times but not much else.  Now, it can use latent semantic indexing to better understand the actual content and index it as such.

Search Engine Optimization For Your Blog

This idea is important to article writing in general, but it also is directly associated with search engine optimization.

Your content needs to be of high quality and pertain directly to what your keywords indicate.

Even if you manage to trick the search engines into sending ‘Apple the company’ traffic to your ‘apple the fruit’ website, the visitors won’t be satisfied when they arrive.  Someone who searched for information on iPads and got an article about apple fritters isn’t going to stay very long on your page.

In order to be successful in both getting and keeping visitors, you need to write to the theme of the site and not try to outsmart the search engines.

A Big Term But Not Hard To Do

Latent semantic indexing is something that actually will take care of itself if you are posting legitimate content to your site that brings value to the user.

For example, any article written on ‘Apple the company’ can’t help but naturally include relevant words like computers, iPad, iPod, and on and on.  It would almost be impossible to write a good article on Apple without using those words.

Therefore, if you write good content, you can rest easy that the latent semantic indexing will take care of itself.

Where you have to be careful on this topic is if you outsource content production or try to publish content in bulk onto your site for the sole purpose of search ranking.

As the engines like Google get ‘smarter’, they start to read content more like a human does.  If you have made a habit of getting keyword traffic through low quality, off-topic content in the past, that plan isn’t going to work much longer (or it has already stopped working).

Forget The Name And Just Write Good Articles

For a topic with such a complex sounding name, latent semantic indexing is quite simple.

Articles that are written to a topic and use the words and expressions that are appropriate and closely associated with that topic will be rewarded while those that aren’t, won’t.

This is a win-win for everyone involved.  The search engines provide more accurate results, your website gets higher quality content, and the users find exactly what they are looking for.

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