2. On Page SEO for Beginners
Article #2.5

Synonyms and their role in SEO!

What is the similarity between "big", "huge" and "massive". For starters they are all synonyms of "large". You and me understand that. But does your favorite Search Engine understand that? Surprisingly, yes! Let us find out how. 

What exactly is LSI?

LSI – latent semantic indexing is an algorithm used by Search Engines to detect words similar to the main keywords in the content. This helps Search Engines understand what your content is about and thus returns with relevant results.

LSI Keywords, the What of it.

LSI keywords make the content more comprehensible to the Search Engines. For example, if the main keyword is “Apple” and the content of the website contain words like juice, fruit, flavor, recipes etc.,it denotes to the Search Engines that the website has no relation with the “Apple” brand which is famous for its Iphone, ipod or macs. If, on the other hand, the LSI keywords or synonyms used are- buy mobiles, Ipads, Iphones, etc. This will indicate to Search Engines that the website deals in selling and purchasing of the brand “Apple” products. LSI keywords are just another name for synonyms used in the SEO world. So why not use them to write more lucid content. This makes our content coherent to the Search Engines.


The role LSI keywords play in SEO!

LSI keywords plays an interesting role in SEO. The role is not particular to content but a lot more:

  • Content creation- In the earlier days, we used tactics, like keyword stuffing to make our content rank higher on SERPs.  For example, you are a furniture manufacturing company, called Black Rose, so you include Black Rose again and again in your content trying to outrank your competitors. Google penalizes sites for using such spam techniques. If we do not use the ‘keyword stuffing’ technique then how do we optimize our content for Search Engines? Well, this is where LSI keywords come into the picture. Instead of using the same keyword multiple times, use its synonyms. This lends a more natural touch to the content and ensures smooth flow of text. LSI keywords lend a fresh and rich feel to your content.
  • Reader engagement- Would you, as a reader, like to read content that features one word multiple times? Or would you rather read content that is engaging? There is a plethora of information available on the internet. If you are not able to grasp the interest of the user, someone else will. LSI keywords create a variety of words that can be used in the content. Interesting content engages readers.
  • Improve Search Engine rankings- Search Engines are always on the lookout to provide unique content to the searchers. LSI keywords help you create unique content on the same topic by using a mix of several keywords. Search Engines prefer content that has a natural feel to it. They also determine the quality of the content by checking its primary keywords and its LSI variations. More keywords also widen your horizon of content creation and save you from keyword stuffing. This always helps for better rankings.

Remember, Don’t make the mistake of stuffing your content with keywords. Keyword stuffing is looked down upon as ‘Spammy’ by Search Engines.

Want to implement LSI keywords in your next article/blog, How can you do that?

Here are the ways to implement LSI keywords:

  • The Manual Way:
    The easiest way to find or search for LSI keywords is Google. Google is the Holy Grail for searchers. So, type in a keyword in the search bar and, as you type, Google automatically shows the synonyms in a drop down menu under the search bar. This can be seen in the image below.


At the end of the search results on every page, Google displays a list of related searches as seen in the image below. We can also pick ideas for synonyms from this list.

Another way to pick LSI keywords is to browse the search results for a particular keyword. Google, at times, highlights certain keywords in its search results. Below is just an excerpt of the search results for the keyword ‘content marketing strategies’.

  • The Automated Way: Here are some tools which will ease out your problem:

SEOPressor 5


This tool comes with a feature that can create LSI keywords for the main keyword. You can specify three keywords at a time to generate LSI keywords. This plugin works like a dream.

LSI Graph
This is a free tool and it is very simple to use.


Ultimate Keyword Hunter
Make use of this free tool to generate LSI keywords. It is a standalone application. This means that it has to be downloaded and installed in your computer.


Niche Laboratory
This free tool is great in giving keyword and keyword phrase suggestions.


Google Adwords Keyword Planner
This is a free tool. Many of the SEO aspirants might already be using this tool or might have tried their hands on it. When you search for keywords, this tool shows keyword ideas at the end. The keyword ideas are nothing but LSI keywords.



Google coming strong about the importance of LSI and why did Google start taking into account synonyms!

Google Synonyms Update-  


The above image has been taken from techcrunch.com
From the above image, it is seen that Google started using synonyms way back in 2002. Google was using synonyms to broaden the search query by considering the intent of the user behind making the query. “Determining query term synonyms within query context” this is a patent of Steven Baker and John Lamping, assigned by Google Inc. 
Google, in it’s another old patent, realised that merely focusing on synonyms was not enough. Therefore, in order to improve semantic search, Google released the Hummingbird Update.
For more information about the Hummingbird update, check the infographic which is taken from search engine land.


Understanding how Google understands your article/blog!

Google is always working towards providing the best and most relevant results. Google tries to understand the intent of the searcher behind making a search query. If a searcher types “cars” in the search bar then Google realises that car and automobile means the same thing. Hence, Google also shows results that feature the word automobile.
Google follows a process to identify the synonyms:

  • It identifies your search query.
  • It identifies the source documents associated with your search query.
  • It also identifies the documents being linked to, by the source documents.
  • Checking the anchor text of the links to identify synonyms for the search query.
  • Lastly, giving results based on the search query and the synonyms.



 LSI keywords have taken us from the days of keyword stuffing to creating more user engaging unique content. It has brought about a good change and also changed the game of SPAM. Taking the easy route is no more an option. As it is said, hard work always pays off at the end of the day. LSI keywords are there to help us, in writing better.

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