What is an LSI Keyword? An SEO Friendly Practice

What is an LSI Keyword

Most new bloggers initially grapple with the topic of keywords and how to use them. So, you may very well still be wondering just what is an LSI keyword? We’re going to cover this subject in detail in today’s post. Hopefully, we’ll clear up any confusion or misconceptions around this important concept.

By reading this post, here is what you are going to learn:

  • The definition of an LSI keyword
  • The distinction between an LSI keyword and a focus keyword
  • How you can benefit from using LSI keywords
  • The best ways to find LSI keywords

What is an LSI keyword?

LSI is an abbreviation for the term latent semantic indexing which is a major component of Google’s algorithm. LSI keywords are words or phrases that are related to your primary or focus keyword. They are SEO friendly because they help Google to understand the substance and gist of your written content. These related keywords are a signal that content is relevant and includes depth and breadth of coverage which, in turn, supports Google’s strategic mission.

Google's Mission

LSI Keywords vs. Focus Keyword

Proper use of keywords is a critical element of search engine optimization (SEO). Every page and post on your website should target a primary or focus keyword. Keywords are the actual search terms and phrases that people type into search engines when they are seeking information. Google and the other major search engines use keywords to index the massive amounts of data available on the Internet. Thus, search engines can promptly respond to queries and return relevant SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

As the description suggests, your primary keyword establishes the principal focus for your blog post.Best practice involves optimizing your content around this key phrase by including it in the following locations:

  • the title (and URL) of the post
  • in the first 140 characters of your post (it should then appear in the snippet post description)
  • in the ALT Text attribute for one of the images within the post
  • somewhere towards the end of your article

When architecting content, it is essential to strike the optimum balance with focus keywords. If you don’t use it enough, Google may have a hard time figuring out what your post is about. Placement in the above locations is sufficient to communicate the main subject area of your post. Additional usage is not desirable.  Overusage, known as keyword stuffing, is a practice that Google will no longer tolerate. It smacks of manipulation purely for ranking purposes rather than a value-added, solution-focused post written with your readers’ needs in mind.

LSI keywords are clearly and closely related to your topic and allow you to expand and broaden your topical coverage. The purpose of your blog post is reinforced without unnatural repetition of a single phrase. Simply place your related phrases very naturally within your content.

LSI Keyword Examples

To further explain both LSI keywords and their relationship to focus keywords, I’m going to use one of my previous posts entitled “What is SMART Goal Setting? Can it Jumpstart Your Online Business Dreams?

I have optimized this post for the long-tail keyword phrase, what is SMART goal setting? The SMART goal setting process is then discussed in some detail and includes several related long-tail LSI phrases such as:

  • What are SMART goals?LSI target keywords
  • Why are SMART goals important?
  • SMART goals examples
  • How can I use SMART goals?

Based on research, this is a subject matter of keen interest. My objective in crafting this post was meaningful and superior content which I accomplished by broadening my coverage to incorporate these obviously related concepts.

Need Additional Background on Keyword Research?

Here are three related posts that will help.

How You Can Benefit From Using LSI Keywords

Here are some of the advantages of using LSI keywords within your blog.

(1) Increase the Credibility of Your Content

Your content is far less likely to be identified as “thin” or spammy in nature. Assessments of quality are enhanced.

(2) Improve the Readability and Natural Flow of Your Content

Can the significance of readability factors ever be over-emphasized? Readability is a huge element of quality because visitors engage longer thereby deriving more value. Increased engagement will also decrease bounce rates for your website which is a positive signal for the search engines.

(3) Relevant and Meaningful Keywords Help Attract the Right Readers

Our goal as bloggers is to write and communicate valuable and super helpful content. We can’t achieve that goal unless we connect with a target audience that is seeking help with our subject matter. Keywords are the initial medium of communication. In the example discussed above, readers desiring more knowledge of the SMART goal setting process might logically search on any of the related terms identified.

(4) Better Rankings in the Search Engines

Google’s perception of quality is positively influenced by the inclusion of related search terms. I’ve also learned firsthand that it is entirely possible to rank for LSI terms in addition to your focus keyword. Higher rankings and ranking for more keywords improves both visibility in the SERPs and click-through rates.

(5) More Potential Sales

Better Rankings = More Traffic = Improved Conversion Rates

The Best Ways to Find LSI keywords

There are a large number of potential sources of LSI keywords. Here are two of my favorite ways to discover these gems. These approaches are simple but effective.

  • Use Google Search – Perform a search in Google for any focus keyword of your choice. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and you will find a list of related search terms.
  • Use JaaxyJaaxy is a fabulous keyword research tool that will generate a lengthy list of similar and related keywords for any query you enter.


I sincerely hope you found this post on what is an LSI keyword to be insanely useful. LSI keywords can aid a blogger in meeting their primary mission of writing relevant and meaningful content that engages readers and ensures a great user experience. They are SEO friendly because Google loves the resultant quality content. The outstanding characteristics of these keyword phrases demand our attention.

Do you use LSI keywords in your posts? Please leave a comment below about your experiences or any questions you may still have. If this information was helpful, please be sociable!


Starting My Online Business Was a Wise Choice


Sharing is caring!

21 thoughts on “What is an LSI Keyword? An SEO Friendly Practice”

    • Hi Mark,
      I’m glad you found the post helpful. There’s no question that Google uses latent semantic indexing when returning search engine results. I’ve seen very positive results by deliberately incorporating highly relevant lsi keywords into my blog posts. I’ve also found that having a list of keyword terms that are related to my focus keyword is very helpful in fleshing out the post and adding more value for my readers.

      I hope you experience similar results. Good luck and thanks for your comments.

  1. Linda,
    Great post on a most useful subject for those of us building websites. Thanks very much for sharing. I will be going back over some of my existing posts and pages to see if revisions are needed and will be sure to add lsi keywords going forward.

    • Hi Ed,
      LSI keywords are indeed powerful. Each time I review the Search Analytics component of my Google Console account and see the extensive list of identified queries, I become an even bigger believer. I appreciate your comments and wish you every success with your site!

    • Hi Marc,
      I’m always thrilled to shed some new light on a topic. LSI keywords can be incredibly powerful. Bloggers often become very hung up on ranking a post for their focus keyword. But a quick review of the Search Analytics component of your Google Analytics account will often show that you’re ranking for dozens of related (LSI) keywords. What a great way to expand your reach and attract more interested readers, right?

      Happy blogging and thanks for your comments!

  2. Found your article through Wealthy Affiliate. Interesting article, for sure. I’m going to have to reread it in depth to get a better understanding, as this SEO is still new to me, although I’ve been blogging since late 2015.

    Thanks for the great stuff!

  3. What a great article. I discovered you in share your Google links so I am happy to read your post. LSI has always been difficult for me to understand and to follow. But you have really cracked the nut for me which can now help me when choosing a keyword to use.
    Thank you, Linda

    • Hi Bibian,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and chiming in. Understanding how Google uses semantic indexing can be incredibly helpful in increasing your visibility in search. I’m glad I was able to clear up some of the mystery for you. I sure hope it helps!

  4. Hello Linda,
    Really enjoyed this post. Very informative, bright and cheery. Please visit my page, It is in the beggining stages, so please give me feedback on any of the articles that interest you. Good, bad and the ugly

    • Hi Latricia,
      Incorporating LSI keywords in your blog posts can be hugely beneficial in boosting the visibility of your articles with the search engines. And, it fits in so well with an overall strategy to write naturally and provide informative, engaging posts. Keywords are a wonderful insight into the questions our audience has and can guide us as we write expansively with intent to answer as many questions as we can.

      I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. Happy blogging!

    • Hi CT,
      I’m pleased to read you found my post helpful. Incorporating synonyms and keywords that are related to your focus keyword (LSI keywords) can really boost your visibility in the SERPs tremendously. And, that’s every blogger’s goal, right? I’ve found it’s also very helpful in creating a post that’s easy to read and has a good flow to it.

      Good luck in applying this technique on your blog. I hope you’ll stop back and let me know how it worked out for you!


Leave a Comment