WHAT IS LATENT SEARCH INDEXING AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Latent Search Indexing, or LSI as it is more commonly referred to, is something every marketer or content creator should become familiar with, even if they opt not to use it. Why they wouldn’t is anyone’s guess, but it all boils down to Search Engine Optimisation, SEO, and the importance of ranking in the Search Engine Results, SERPs. So, with that as the basic premise of why it matters, let’s dive into exactly what LSI is and more particularly, why it really should matter.
A Broad View of Latent Search Indexing
Latent Search Indexing is a process for using related keywords to help the search engines better understand the context of any piece of content. Bear in mind that search engines employ automated web crawlers to crawl through literally billions of pages of content on the web to find the closest matches for keywords being searched.
Once again, it’s all related to ranking highly on the first page of the SERPs, the importance of which is undisputed. However, there really aren’t enough people on earth to manually crawl the web to match relevant content so they use automation, most commonly referred to as robots. Whereas a human could easily understand the context clues within a piece of content, the robots need to be told that “These are related terms, so look for them as well.”
For example, if you do a Google search for the word “tissue” you would be given two definitions, one related to the specific materials of which plants and animals are made, and the other related to tissue wrapping paper. However, that’s not what you are looking for at all! You are searching for facial tissues that are used to wipe runny noses and so forth. Can you see how related terms like disposable handkerchiefs could come in handy? Disposable facial wipes may also be useful so those would be LSI keywords that would direct Google to content about facial tissues.
Why LSI Matters – And It Truly Does!
There is still a good deal of debate as to whether or not LSI keywords matter. It seems that no one really knows for sure if LSI is factored into Google’s algorithms, for example, so they believe they aren’t important. However, if you look at exactly what LSI is and what it does, you can clearly see the relevance and why it truly matters.
Google makes it perfectly clear that their algorithms are all about improving the UX, User Experience. Therefore, it stands to reason that the average lay searcher isn’t going to be happy about typing in all different ways facial tissues can be described trying to find out which are best for the skin and well worth the cost. Those other descriptors mentioned above would help the web crawlers to put closely related content together and then rank each of those based on relevance, readability and so forth. Remember, it’s always all about the user!
LSI from a Business Perspective
As alluded to above, from a business perspective, it’s all about those coveted rankings within the first page of the SERPs, 75% of users never click past the first page of search results.
With the use of LSI, you can give Google a heads up as to exactly what your content is about. You can help those robots mix and match content based on closely related keywords employed in a body of content. It should be mentioned here that we are not talking about long tail keywords but rather keywords that are related but not the same.
The bottom line from a business perspective then is to better direct traffic to their website. Bear in mind that there are other tools for converting traffic arriving on your site, but you would have no hope of conversions if you couldn’t get them there!
A Few Notable LSI Tools
At this point you might be wondering exactly how you are going to even begin finding closely related keywords to include in your content. There are several LSI tools available on the web, not least of which are two employed by Google every time you conduct a search. You will see:
These may contain LSI keywords but from there, you can also use a tool like Monkey Learn or any other word cloud generator you can find for free online. Take the top three results and paste them into the word cloud generator. You will then be given a word cloud with several options for LSI keywords you could employ in your content.
Other tools of note are:
All of the above tools are free, so it is a matter of which, if not all, you find helpful.
In Summary – There Really Is No Debate!
As with anything else in life, there will always be a good deal of debate based on personal preferences, but here again, it brings us right back to Latent Search Indexing! Terms that you might search for may not be the very same terms we would use, and so those closely related terms are extremely important. Our difference in choices means our differences in personal preferences, so there really shouldn’t be any debate at all.
Whether or not Google and other search engines use LSI in their algorithms isn’t as important as making sure you cover all your bases. Does it really matter if they employ LSI algorithms if your use of those closely related keywords would add ways in which your content can be found? Even if Google doesn’t (but they do!) look for LSI keywords, you can still rank for other keywords as well.
It’s really as simple as that! You obviously want your content to be found and read. Any terms that get searchers to your site makes it well worth the effort. Are those LSI keywords important? You bet they are!