Whenever users type in queries on a search bar, they are simply looking for answers or solutions not keywords. Although, keywords play a major role in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of a page, internet users don’t really follow that guideline when navigating online to look for information. This is what is called the User intent; and Google has decided to focus more on it while providing the right content at the appropriate time to every user – hereby boosting user experience.
Since Google keeps changing its algorithms up to about 600 times every year, you will have to align your online goals with them in order to keep up with the constant upgrades by optimising your keywords and content as naturally as possible. However, the launch of the Google Hummingbird update in 2013 made user intent priority in providing results for search queries. This new search algorithm focuses mainly on the user, unlike previous algorithms like Panda and Penguin. It changed the idea that search was to be based on matching keywords, as it displayed results that geared towards the context and intent behind queries.
For example, when a user types in “Where is the best agency for copywriters in the UK”, the Hummingbird algorithm will display results on Google that infer “agency for copywriters” to mean where you can hire a copywriter or where a copywriter can work. This also meant that Google was making queries more conversational, and Google Voice search made users feel like they were interacting with an actual human who understands them and provides answers to suit their needs, not just a machine and keyboard experience.
However, Hummingbird has been constantly updated since its release, till the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) was born. Focusing on user intent to provide and improve on the relevant results that align with the users search query, is basically what semantic search is all about.
For instance, if you ask a human being “can you drive me?”, they can discern that you actually mean drive in a car. So they are likely to tell you “yes” or “no” as the case may be. But when you type in the same query on a search engine, it will have a hard time determining if you meant “drive” with a vehicle or “inspire”. But the Hummingbird has made it easy for Google to figure out the user’s search intent and provide contextual relevant results that profer direct answer or something similar to what was typed in. In order words, LSI provides pages relevant to user intent, hereby streamlining search results to fit the context of a particular query.
What Latent Semantic Indexing entails
LSI has 2 interlocked phenomenon that helps you leverage and understand the entire LSI process better and use it to your advantage. They are Co-citation and Co-occurrence.
Co-Citation is the process where Google interlinks 2 (or more) websites that have similar content even when there are no outbound links from either of them actually linking each other. The websites involved are usually of the same niche and if Google “sees” any form of association between the content of both sites, it provides a connection between them.
Co-occurrence transcends beyond just web pages because connections between your website and keywords are created with it by Google. This means that there cannot be co-citation without Co-occurrence. Synonyms of keywords and the content of your web page isn’t what Google uses in this case, instead they simply associate both when your page keeps getting mentioned along with the particular keyword(s).
If you run a store that sells pink coloured perfumes for example, and your brand name is always mentioned whenever a lot of people type in “I want a pink coloured perfume”, Google will notice this through out the internet (from online community fora to positive customers reviews and search queries) and associate the keyword “pink perfume” with your brand. Therefore, whenever a user types in those words in a search, your site gets displayed in the search results. The idea behind this is that Google will believe that there must be relevant content between your brand or business that makes users mention it together a lot within the context. Therefore, they both should be associated with each other.
With the Co-citation and Co-occurrence, it seems like Google is looking for ways to make websites rank better in search results regardless of whether they are optimized for search engines or not – as long as they provide the much needed information the user seek. This could also explain why some websites that don’t even contain keywords in their meta description, anchor text or any other part of the content still show up when queries are typed by a user.
Will the Latent Semantics Indexing affect Search Engine Optimisation?
As Google continues to upgrade their algorithms to create better user experience, SEO specialists or digital marketers have to also upgrade their techniques focusing on user intent as well. Besides, Keyword Stuffing is actually one of the major reasons why LSI or linking pages relevant to user intent was introduced by Google.
Keyword Stuffing pretty much involves creating content that has a lot of keywords in order to influence how the page will rank on Google search results. In some cases, these keywords do not even serve any purpose in the page and might negatively affect the rankings of a page rather than boost it.
Google now ranks a website better based on the quality of content and how the page is relevant to the user’s intent, and no more by matching particular keywords to search queries. By providing pages which has similar content that aligns with the context of the query, Google ensures that any information users seek will be made available to them no matter what website it’s coming from – but still maintaining major SEO signals. Therefore, you or your digital marketer can now can create better content and care less about loading keywords in every paragraph.
Google wouldn’t penalize you for using appropriate keywords in your content anytime you feel the need to, the concern is when you stuff these long tail keywords into it deliberately to manipulate your rankings. For example, using a long tail keyword like “Daily Posts is the best copywriting agency in the UK” will be considered keyword stuffing and make your page look like spam – as compared to using short tail keywords like “Copywriting agency” or just “Daily Posts”. Google will penalize a website with such appearance.
Solution to Keywords Stuffing
If you feel you do not want to use short tail keywords, you can take advantage of LSI Keywords. For instance, instead of just “Copywriting agency”, you can put in more of “copywriting agencies in the UK” and fuse in Daily Posts along certain lines.
One of the easiest ways to even improve the quality of content on your page and making it flow better is by including these LSI keywords. Google will even find out more about your website and further drive more traffic to your website, rank you better in search results and easily suggest your website to users whose queries are related to what you offer.
If you are looking for some online tools to help you find these LSI keywords, you can check out SEMrush, Keyword Shitter, UberSuggest and Google Keyword Planner.
When searching for the right LSI keywords, these tools will generate some spammy or robotic looking keywords, totally unrelated ones and of course, some broadly related keywords based on a specific algorithms. However, you can easily select those that are relevant to the context of your content and will easily show when users make search queries. Furthermore, if you do not want to search with these tools, you can simply Google the keywords you are focusing on. When you scroll through the first and second page, you’re likely to find LSI keywords that can fit into your content.
Finding the LSI keywords is one thing, integrating them into your content naturally is another thing. When you improve and develop your SEO copywriting skills, you can easily add these keywords without making it look like you’re trying to stuff everything into your content. Instead of boring your readers just so you can rank better, you can hire the services of a copywriting agency and they will provide meaningful content that will always bring your readers back and even convert new ones.
Furthermore, do not forget that the number of people who make use of phones and tablets in searching for information online has led to Google’s launch of the mobile first indexing. Since users can easily access any information from the several websites online, Google is working earnestly tow make it easier for them – so should you.
In conclusion, Google is going the extra mile to make sure that websites focus more on optimizing their content to suit user intent and not just search rankings. Keywords are still important, but the SEO copywriting strategy is what every writer should improve on.