LSI Keywords: Do They Still Work in SEO?

LSI is a popular term in the blogging and content-writing world. It was so popular that many bloggers still consider it one of the most important parts of content writing.

However, for me, it’s not as useful as people consider it in modern SEO. 

Why? Because Google doesn’t use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) for ranking. Instead, it uses Semantic keywords to analyse content and rank accordingly. Both of them, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI keywords) and Semantic Indexing (semantic keywords), are two different things. 

In this article, I’ll cover: 

  • What are LSI Keywords In SEO?
  • What is the difference between LSI and semantic keywords?
  • Do LSI keywords still work?
  • How do you find the best semantic keywords?

Let’s uncover the facts! 

What Are LSI Keywords in SEO? – Do They Still Work?

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. It simply means keywords that are related to the primary keyword of the blog. For example, you would see these types of LSI keywords for the “ragdoll cat” in the LSI keywords generators: 

  • Ragdoll cat food
  • Ragdoll cat height 
  • Ragdoll cat age 

These keywords aren’t bad to use, but if you notice, all LSI keywords have the “ragdoll” or “cat” in the phrases – that’s the issue. 

See, most LSI keyword generators are designed to provide you with results that have the main keyword in them. It was a good practice around 10 to 12 years ago when Google used to check how relevant the content is with how many times you’ve used to main keyword. But as of 2023, Google has become smarter.

Google can understand the topic without you repeating the same primary keyword over and over again. Google uses Semantic Indexing, a natural language processing technique, to find out the topic of the blog.

Semantic keywords are the phrases that are related to the topic. For example, if your topic is about “cake,” it would have semantically related keywords like “whipping cream“, “oven“, “floor,” and “oven temperature.”

As you can see, these related words don’t have the exact primary keyword, but they’re words and phrases that are relevant to the topic. The more you use these types of keywords, the better Google will understand your content. 

LSI Keywords vs. Semantic Keywords – Which One Should You Use?

You should be using semantically related keywords because Google doesn’t use LSI keywords to index. 

According to Google, the first thing they do to check the relevance of content is to find the exact keyword in the content. But that’s not all; the algorithm also checks the related search queries. 

“We also use aggregated and anonymised interaction data to assess whether search results are relevant to queries. We transform that data into signals that help our machine-learned systems better estimate relevance. Just think: when you search for “dogs”, you likely don’t want a page with the word “dogs” on it hundreds of times. With that in mind, algorithms assess if a page contains other relevant content beyond the keyword “dogs” — such as pictures of dogs, videos, or even a list of breeds.”

Semantic keywords help Google understand the topic better. Plus, you can use Semantic words and phrases naturally, while LSI keywords often seem like keyword stuffing, which Google hates. John Mueller, in one of the interviews, said: 

“In general, the number of times that you use a keyword on a page, I don’t think that really matters or makes sense. When you’re writing naturally, usually that resolves itself automatically.”

How To Find Semantic Keywords For Your Content?

The most important point to remember is Semantic keywords are related words and phrases to the topic. Most of these keywords should be in your article because they come naturally. For instance, if you’re writing for the keyword “German shepherd vs husky,” you might have used this list of semantic-related keywords: 

  • Size
  • Germany
  • Serbia
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Shedding frequency
  • Grooming needs
  • Brushing frequency

The list of keywords above is just a glimpse. If you want to deliver more relevant content, you should use as many related words or phrases as possible. To do semantic keyword research, you can use the following practices.

Method #1: Google AutoComplete 

Write the main keyword in Google and use the autocomplete suggestions of long-tail keywords in the article naturally. 

Method #2: Use ChatGPT

In ChatGPT, paste the competitor’s content with this prompt: “Read my competitor’s content and extract semantic keywords.” By following this method, you can easily find semantic keywords from any piece of content available on the internet. 

Method #3: Use Google Images Keywords 

Write the main keyword in the Google search bar and click on images. You don’t have to check the relevant search results of images, but only the related keywords above at the top of the page. These phrases are semantic keywords. 

Method #4: Use Google Knowledge Graph 

Google Knowledge Graph is basically the infobox you see when you search for a query. For example, when I searched for the keyword “1899 book awakening,” I got this knowledge graph in the results. If I were to write an article about this book, I would make a list of semantic keywords like author name, characters, city name and so forth. 

Method #5: Use SuferSEO or Neuronwriters

The next step is to use software like SurferSEO or Neuronwriters. These tools help you find the semantic keywords list without putting too much effort into it. You only have to add the main keyword, and you’ll get the list of LSI keywords to include. 

How To Use Semantic Keywords In Your Content?

Once you’re done with finding valuable semantic keywords, make a list of them. Create an outline for the article and add the related keywords in your content where you think it fits naturally. 

Don’t try to use those terms or semantic keywords forcefully in the content.

Google associates this type of practice with keyword stuffing, which can lead to bad Google rankings. 

You can add the keywords in the main heading and subheading or even create FAQ questions with it, but make sure it all fits naturally into the flow of your writing.

Also Read;

Final Words

In short, LSI keywords are more of the practice of old SEO. It worked well about 10 years back because Google used to check the relevancy of the content with the times you’ve used the main keyword.

However, now the ranking has nothing to do with LSI; it’s all about the value you provide and the semantic-related keywords in your content, which you can find following the practices I’ve discussed above. 

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