Latent Semantic Indexing

March 23, 2011 - Digital State Marketing

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing and this is the one of the latest and hottest SEO buzz acronyms currently circulating in the world of web marketing and web site search optimisation.

What is LSI?

A technique of information retrieval developed in 1990, LSI is used to determine the similarity in the meaning of words and sets of words to each other. Strictly speaking LSI isn’t used on websites. It’s the search engines that apply LSI to their algorithms to identify themes and topics – the relevance of web pages to queries. For the sake of convenience it’s these days easier to refer to the process of creating themed, semantically related content as LSI.

The way Google’s search algorithm has been heading and the emergence of new semantically based search engines such as Cuil, True Knowledge, Kosmix along with Microsoft’s $100m purchase of the semantically driven Powerset system to power its forthcoming Kumo search system, all clearly indicate that consistency and clarity are now key.

LSI for Better Search Results

The value of any search engine lies in its ability to return the information that users want to find. Research from Microsoft has revealed that in truth, though search engines are interrogated billions of times a day, they’re historically not actually very good at it. Better than nothing yes, but the figures reveal that only 40% of web users ever actually have their queries answered. Relevance, of course, is the $64,000 question. If LSI and semantically engineered search returns can help identify it better and improve on that 40% then that’s good news for everyone.

The Secret Behind Successful LSI

Hmm, there is no secret. Are we allowed to say that? Great content and copy means great SEO. Of course you will need to apply all the normal ‘on page’ SEO techniques, page titles, headers, anchor text etc and have your ‘off page’ link building in place.

All things equal, copy that is themed, natural, well written, to the point and informative can easily exhibit relevance and is rewarded with strong search placements. If you submit informative, engaging copy using plenty of synonyms, metaphors and other words related to your keywords or key phrases then your LSI takes care of itself.