If you still think that SEO is all about keywords and densities, then that may be the reason why you’re still not #1 on Google’s search results. Although search engines today will certainly take keywords into consideration, they’re a good deal smarter than this these days.

SEO content guidelinesGoogle’s spiders and bots can do a good deal more today than simply glance at a few key locations within web content, blog posts and articles, picking out the most obvious keywords and making a quick judgement call on the relevance and quality of the entire text. Today search engines use very advanced, complex algorithms, which amongst other things taken into consideration something known as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) or Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA).

LSI/LSA should be underpinning your SEO strategies, and it is probably being used by those competitors who are sitting smugly above you on the search results pages.

So what is LSI and how can you use it effectively within your content development and online marketing to achieve a better standing and stronger reputation with the search engines?

First of all, despite what you may read when browsing for information online, LSI is not a tool, and it is not a direct alternative to keywords or other SEO tactics. LSI is a way of writing, and of using language, in a way which compels search engines to consider your content authoritative, relevant and ideal for top placement in the SERPs. LSI is a method that has been around for far longer than Google, used to analyse data for trends, patterns and relevance.

As far as language is concerned, Latent Semantic Analysis takes the content of a web page and strips away the largely irrelevant words such as pronouns (he, she, it), conjunctions (and, because, but) and articles (a, an, the). The remaining text is then scanned, and the vocabulary compared to known, trusted sources of information on the same likely subject. An authoritative text on carpets for example will be likely to include words such as carpet, weave, pattern, pile, underlay, wool, fitting, laying and so on. This list may be adapted slightly as further approved texts are added to the overall understanding of the subject.

Your web page content, blog post or article will then be compared to this, and the more closely your breadth of vocabulary matches the known list of subject relevant vocabulary, the more likely it is that your content will be considered relevant, authoritative and trusted, and therefore given a higher ranking within the results pages. So it is about breadth of relevant vocabulary, and not merely keywords, and certainly not keyword density.

So how do you create LSI content?

One of the easiest ways of getting started creating LSI or LSA content is to write your main keyword down on a sheet of paper, right in the middle. Next, surround the keyword with as many relevant words as you can think of. So if your keyword is muffin you might write down words such as cake, snack, food, recipe, blueberry, flour, cook, warm, coffee, case, tray and so on. Once you have this list, go ahead and write your content, trying to include a fair range of these words, without making it sound silly or forced. As a rule of thumb, a 600 word article might be expected to include around 10 of these subject relevant keywords.

As long as you include your main keyword phrase somewhere near the top, somewhere near the bottom and once within the top half, you’ll be fine, and by using a wider range of contextually relevant words, your text will stand a better chance of achieving what you need it to.