Many people who write content for the web will advise that it is important to learn and understand how to use search engine optimization (SEO) effectively. While SEO is important, it is not the only thing that makes an article show up on the top page of search engine results. More and more frequently, search engines are using a technique called latent semantic indexing, or LSI, to help rank and index web content.

latent semantic indexing, semantics, seo, search engine

With SEO in mind, many content writers do extensive keyword research, carefully selecting the keywords and phrases that are likely to get their content to the top of the search engine results page. Then, they focus on using the right amount of those keywords in the article, hoping that the combination of research and keyword use will be enough to succeed.

But consumers are getting smarter with their searching, and search engines are competing more than ever to offer a more personalized and detailed search experience.

Rather than just taking into effect the repeated use of certain keywords, search engines are now reading content to determine if the overall content is relevant to the keyword phrases. If the article is considered to be highly relevant, then it will appear higher in the search results than an article that is deemed to have little overall relevance to the keywords used.

For example, if an article about baseball features the keyword phrase “baseball glove,” the search engine is also going to scan the content for related keywords, such as “baseball bat,” “outfield,” and “baseball team.” In short, the search engine is checking the content to make sure that the entire article is relevant to baseball and provides value to the reader. In the end, the more relevant the content, the higher the content will rank within the search results.

An additional benefit to search engines using LSI is more precise results overall. Many words in the English language have more than one definition. By using LSI, a search engine can look at the overall body of content to determine which meaning is most applicable and index the content more specifically.

While SEO will continue to play an important part of effective online writing techniques, paying attention to LSI is growing increasingly important. Search engines adjust their parameters to be the most useful for those who are searching content, not those who create it. As a result, the online content writers who pay attention to the subtle changes in search engine function will see the best results over the long-term.

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