There has been a lot of fuss lately about Latent Semantic Index (LSI) among the people who are into SEO industry. Some famous websites claimed that Latent Semantic Indexing helps them significantly boost their websites on SERP.
However – are these claims really true? Can this method help you with improving your website’s ratings? Before diving into it, let’s see what actually does it mean:-
What is Latent Semantic Indexing (LTI)?
There are two identical names for this method – Latent Semantic Indexing and Latent Semantic Analysis, both were introduced back in the 80s. In essence, LTI is a technique for scanning data, that is unstructured and can find similar concepts within.
In other words, it simply searches for the synonyms in the text for better understanding. Back then, it was a huge leap forward for text comprehension and text analysis. For the first time, the context was taken into account and it was a huge revolutionary method. Human language is heavily dependent on its surroundings (context), and by introducing LTI, context started influencing the overall analysis of a text.
How is LSI Used for SEO Purposes?
Taking into account the previous section, it follows logically that search engines would adopt this methodology to increase their content understanding on the Internet. It makes sense. By understanding the concepts better and by correlating them in a text, SE could rank the sites better and significantly improve the user experience.
By following this line of thought, some of the SEO experts naturally assumed that introducing synonyms of the main keyword in the text would boost the page and search engines would naturally give them better positions. By introducing the “LSI Keywords“, the marketers think they can fool Google by misleading the content.
Read more:- Top 10 SEO Techniques You Should Know In 2018
The Problem with Latent Semantic Index (LSI) and SEO
There is one small issue on this matter – no scientific evidence supports this type of practice. Undoubtedly, LSI has something to do with the creation and the way search engines work, it plays an important role when the engines were still young and learning to operate. This resulted in claims that LSI is becoming more present in search engines. Yet, it is quite the opposite that happens. Search engines are likely parting ways with LSI as it is a technology which is now a distant past.
The study of the underlying meaning of words in linguistics is called Semantics, and it is certainly something that search engines need to take into account when trying to understand a text. Yet, simply due to the fact that both the term “Semantic search“ and “Latent Semantic Indexing“ have the same word present does not mean that they are related to each other.
Google has evolved since its beginning and so have other search engines. In fact, other technology to name a few, machine learning, artificial intelligence are now the most dominant and are most likely to be responsible for understanding the context of the text. Therefore, finding a lot of synonyms for the keyword and placing them strategically in the text will not have a significant impact on Google’s understanding. The sophisticated algorithms used by search engines most likely look for many other things beyond synonyms to determine the context and the meaning of the text.
What is a Replacement for LSI?
Although they have become more sophisticated, search engines are a far cry from being perfect. They still lack thorough understanding and can still be considered primitive when compared with human understanding language. This means that just by inserting the main keyword a couple of times in your text will not be enough to achieve the maximum result.
In fact, let’s take a look at a more general and data point of view. In order for search engines to understand everything clearly, the data must be structured. In the domain of SEO, this is done by carefully labeling the data.
Another thing you should pay attention to is co-occurrence. Simply, there are some words that more naturally go together than others in every industry. Let’s say that you are writing about a product and you need to describe it. A logical thing to do is research the language that revolves around that product and tries to use some of the words that feel natural in that context. These do not exclude synonyms, it is just that not every synonym feels natural for the specific content.
Why is LSI Forgotten?
Take a look at the computers and science of the 80‘s. Using something today is simply not reasonable and the same thing goes for LSI. It is applicable perhaps in other sciences, but it is really a thing of the past in computer science.
What made LSI popular once again is perhaps the simplicity of the way it operates and how easily it can be related to search engines. Marketers started devoting hundreds of articles to LSI making a rocket science out of it. However, it is basically just a finding as many synonyms as possible and placing them in your text.
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To answer the title question – no. Latent Semantic Indexing cannot help you with your SEO strategy and it is futile to attempt and add as many synonyms as possible. These will likely result in an uncomprehensive and confusing content.
Instead of searching for thousands of keywords which are synonyms to your main keyword, try devoting that time to researching something that can really help you improve your rating – such as different and new SEO strategies. Just make sure you do not fall into the pit of false strategies and always look for the evidence that supports or denies some actions.
Remember one thing – your content is primarily written for humans to understand and the search engines come at a second place.