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What is Latent Semantic Indexing, and How Can It Bring You More Web Traffic

Aug 17, 2007
Latent Semantic Indexing (or LSI) has become the most recent buzzword among web master communities. There is already a mystique about the term, yet so few seem to understand it's ramifications and the real benefit to any web site owner.

Back in April of 2003 Google purchased a company called Applied Semantics, whose products included software based on it's CIRCA technology. This technology understands, organizes, and extracts knowledge from websites in a way that imitates human thought. The result is more effective information retrieval.

In the beginning, this technology was used to make sure that Adsense ads were being correctly targeted to relevant websites. However, it was only a matter of time until the use of LSI technology was introduced to organic search.

The mathematics of Latent Semantic Indexing is quite complex. However, you don't have to understand the equations to benefit from them. If there is one single thought that distills the essence of Latent Semantic Indexing for the Webmaster it is this:

The more ways that you can say the same thing, the more you will appear to the search engines as an expert on your subject matter. This expertise will be rewarded with higher rankings and less fluctuation.

What does that mean? Think about any organization with which you have been associated in your life. Each organization has it's own glossary of terms, and in many cases, there is more than one way to express a concept.

This is synonymy; multiple terms with the same meaning. Google has given us a way to look into the way their algorithm "thinks" about related terms. It's called the tilde key and it looks like this "~" (to find it on the keyboard just hit Shift and press the key immediately left of the number 1).

If you go to Google and do a search for ~pet it will return your search term, along with words and phrases that it deems synonymous. You'll be able to tell what those words and phrases are because they are shown in bold.

In the example above, a search for the term ~pet will yield a bold return for things like 'animal,' 'pet dog,' 'cat, and so on.

The implications are important for web masters. The most important thing to remember about this is that more than ever before, you need to know your market. Plato said "first, let us define our terms." If you expect to perform well in the organic search results, you need to learn, and use the terms that your target market uses.

Develop your site around a theme, and use relevant, targeted synonyms to convey your message. If you do, you will begin to rank well for terms that are not even on your page.

As an example, today is October 9, 2006, in a search for ~pet the Animal Planet home page comes up number one in the search results. The word "pet" is not even on that page, yet it ranks first. Why is that? It is because, throughout their site, Animal Planet has used the expert verbiage of someone who's primary focus is animals of all kinds.

It is not certain whether Google is using Latent Semantic Indexing in their organic search algorithm yet. However, it is only a matter of time. Make sure you are ready when it happens.
About the Author
Revolutionary Keyword Research Tool uses LSI to bring you the best results.
Ron Jones is the owner of www.internetprofit101.com
A free Internet Marketing resource that cuts through the hype and shows you how to succeed online.
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