LSI Keywords: What They Are & Why They Matter for SEO

Let’s start with a quick example.

There are many keywords throughout the web that could have multiple meanings. For example, “drumstick” could refer to the musical instrument, chicken, or the type of ice cream. 

So how does Google know which type of content to show in order to satisfy its users?

One explanation is through the use of LSI keywords. 

Once upon a time, SEO was a much simpler concept and strategy to execute. By using spam tactics like keyword-stuffing, websites could outrank their competition for highly competitive keywords. This was done by placing the target keyword in as many places as possible on a webpage and in its meta tags. This often lead to irrelevant results for Google’s users. 

Luckily, Google’s technology has become far more advanced over the years and the concept of LSI keywords plays an important role in Google’s ability to provide the most relevant and best results to its users. The days of keyword stuffing and content density are over thanks to Google and concepts like LSI.

What Are LSI Keywords?

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing which is just a fancy term for how Google uses related keywords on a webpage to determine if a page is relevant to what a user is searching. LSI keywords aren’t synonyms, but rather words that are related to the target keyword. 

So, for example, if you were trying to rank a blog post for the keyword “Best Smoothie Recipes”, Google would look for LSI keywords like “blender”, “fruit”, “ice”, etc. and these would help Google determine if your content is related to a users query.

But wait a minute…

LSI has actually been around long before the inception of Google search and even the web. There are many debates in the SEO community about the importance of LSI for SEO, but nevertheless, understanding the concept of LSI and incorporating it into your content strategy is still valuable and worth your time. 

If you are interested in learning about the history of LSI, there are many resources available on the web including this article published by Ahrefs.

Why Are LSI Keywords Important for SEO?

LSI Keywords play a role in Google’s ability to satisfy user search and provide the most relevant piece of content available on the web. By understanding the role of LSI keywords and how to use them, you can improve the SEO of your website and drive more traffic, leads, and sales.

How to Find LSI Keywords

There are a number of ways to find LSI keywords from using Google itself to using free and paid tools throughout the web such as the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool.

Free LSI Keyword Tools

  • Google Autocomplete is a feature within the Google search bar. When I type “smoothie recipe” Google populates a bunch of additional queries related to my search. These can help give you insight into additional phrases and keywords you should be including in your content to improve its ability to rank.

Google Autocomplete tool

  • People Also Search For is another Google feature located at the bottom of the search results after you have performed a Google search. Similar to autocomplete, people also search for provides you with additional related queries.

Google People Also Ask

  • Google images is yet one more free feature you should be taking advantage of when finding LSI keywords for your content. Visit the Google Images tab, search your target keyword, and at the top of your screen you should see a bunch of additional keywords related to your search. For example, “Smoothie recipes”, populates words like “healthy”, “weight loss”, “banana”, etc.

Google Images LSI feature

Paid LSI Keyword Tools

  • SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
    • The keyword magic tool is an all around great SEO tool to have in your toolbox, but it can also be used to find LSI keywords. Essentially, you plug in a keyword and SEMrush will pull thousands of related additional keywords. You can choose to view keywords with a broad match, phrase match, exact match, or related match. For LSI we will want to use the Related feature.

semrush keyword magic tool

    • In the column to the left, you’ll see dropdowns with words like “recipe”, “banana”, “green”, “king”, etc. These can provide insight into additional keywords you can sprinkle throughout your content.

semrush keyword magic tool related phrases

  • Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
    • This tool works very similar to SEMrush’s keyword magic tool. It really comes down to personal preference and the interface you prefer.

You should have a good grasp of what LSI keywords are, why they are important, and how to implement them into your website’s content and overall SEO strategy. If you are looking for assistance with your website’s content reach out to our team!


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