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Latent Semantic Indexing

Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI is an intimidating mouthful that is completely misleading. The term refers to nothing more than synonyms. Which is to say, two different words that have the same meaning. Latent Semantic Indexing is important to your website and how it ranks within search.

In the article on text, we discovered that we want at least five-hundred words on our tourism based webpage so that the search engines have enough text to not just understand what the site is about, but enough keyword density to rank our site well for that page.

In this article, we will pretend that we own a tourism based pub & restaurant that sells drinks and wings on the beach. This will allow us to look at examples of how the text is processes by the search engines.

Search engines have become more intelligent over time. They use huge, complex algorithms that look at a large number of criteria when determining how to score a page for search. For example, Google looks at over two-hundred factors. Few are more important than the text on the page.

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Years ago when advertising our pub online, we would have used the exact phrase we wanted to rank for again and again. “Wings & Beer” would have been used a dozen times on the page. Along with the complete name of the city and the full, complete name of the business. These keywords would have been stuffed into a few short sentences that featured poor grammar and repetitive, stupid text - for the human visitor. But it worked well for the search engines and the site ranked.

Today, that same site will be penalized and thrown into third page purgatory. Bing & Co. will no longer tolerate thin, poor content and rank accordingly. One of the key tools used in this battle against keyword stuffing is Latent Semantic Indexing.

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LSI is based on the concept that words that are used in the same contexts tend to have the same definition. We can have Buffalo Wings, Hot Wings, and Spicy Chicken Wings all referring to the exact same item. Because of the text surrounding these words, the search engines understand that these words must be referring to the same item.

Now, don’t think for one second that we no longer seed keywords - we do. And those Citations still need to be repetitive. But the second layer, the supporting text that describes the benefits of our keyword (the subject of the page) should no longer be repetitive.

So if our keyword is Beachfront Pub, the supporting text doesn’t need to be narrow in the choice of words used. Mixed Drinks and Daiquiris can be used interchangeably. The search engines know that our beach front bar serves alcohol and will rank this page accordingly.

Because of Latent Semantic Indexing, our page on beach-front drinks could show up on a search for Margaritas, even if that word doesn’t actually show-up in our text. As always, if you need any help with you website text, we are here and happy to help.

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