Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Wizz Mate on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Wednesday, July 11, 2018).

Are LSI Keywords just a marketing hype?

Are LSI Keywords just a marketing hype?

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Christopher Fischbach: No, they`re the holy grail of SEO !
  • Wizz Mate: How do you optimize a web page with LSI keywords, with tools such as LSI graph?
  • Christopher Fischbach: Oo You haven`t seen the sarcasm there, right?
  • Wizz Mate: Oh shoot.
  • Bill Slawski: The holy Grail os a myth, too.
  • Bill Slawski: LSI keywords don`t use LSI, they use co-occuring phrases. It`s a name to try to sell a process, where the creator of the tool isn`t bright enough to market his tool using more modern terms.
  • Christopher Fischbach: Bill Slawski holy... uhm... holy... cow?
  • George G.: if you mean synonyms, no, they are not just a marketing hype but rather means of expression.
  • Rob Woods: if you mean are they worth analyzing and trying to rank for and understand kw that are related to each other, probably. Google has progressed far beyond the concept of LSI. If someone is selling SEO based on this they are behind the times.
  • Adam Draper: The suspense is killing me! What comes after LSIs? Is it just about the quality of content and the value it adds for the user regardless of keywords?
  • Kristine Schachinger: No query terms are still important, but LSI isn`t and many will argue was never.
  • Melissa Fach: http://www.seobythesea.com/.../google-use-latent.../
  • Wizz Mate: This comment explains everything: "There is something very ironic about using a highly technical term that stands for a highly mathematical process such as LSI to act as a substitute for synonyms. It’s like people are working to make themselves sound smarter than they really are.Looking at a knowledge base about the meaning of a keyword that you are trying to optimize a page for, and grabbing context vocabulary terms from that page isn’t a difficult thing to do, and it really could help Google index your page under that meaning better. Which makes it worth doing. So, if you are writing about the Jacksonville Jaguars, and you look them up in Wikipedia, and see that they play their home games at EverBank Field, and mention that field on your page about them. Google knows immediately that you are writing about the football team, and not the cat nor the car. That is Semantic Search, where identifying an attribute that may be contextually related to what you are writing about makes it more likely that Google indexes that your page is about the Jaguars NFL football team. It’s not a synonym, but it is a word that indicates context. It adds a preciseness to your page that improves the quality of your content.LSI means a technical and mathematical heavy way of indexing content using SVD technology. I would rather tell people to use context terms, or to use Schema markup, or Structured Data on their pages, because those are Semantic approaches that Google really does use, and we know that because they have patented those approaches and written about them in whitepapers and blog posts and Google help/support pages."
  • David Hazi: Wizz Mate That comment is terrible and probably written by a CS guy, not a marketer. Yes, it`s built on math but that`s the "how" and the question we should be asking is the "why" and the "what". The technology, however built on the backend, is trying to solve/understand/figure out synonymy and polysemy. So yeah, when people say LSI keywords, they mean synonyms. Each niche has different ratios in copy and anchoring because the baseline is determined by the human.As the SEO or marketer, you should be writing your content with variation anyway because synonyms increase description and give clarity. A description is what gives the context and clarity to the bot and the human.Schema/Structured data is just a way to increase clarity. For example is it a review or a table. This is just a different level of solving the same problem of synonymy and polysemy. So it`s not really one or the other between keywords or structured data. You need both.
  • Wizz Mate: David Hazi that comment is written by Bill Slawski.
  • Wizz Mate: The thing is people confuse LSI keywords with synonyms because LSI itself has a retrieval strategy - Synonymy. LSI looks for a conceptual topic not for synonyms you used in your text. I think Bill gives a great example - attributes and context terms NOT synonyms. Will you rank better if you use a synonym for CrossFit such as Cultfit? Nope, makes no sense. But what if you include contextual terms such as WOD, TheBox, AMRAP, Chest to Bar Pull Up? Perhaps. At least Google can understand the meaning of your page and match it up to certain search queries.I think you are confusing the nature of the LSI technique. If Google is using it today, and this is a BIG if, then it`s for Google to understand different vocabulary that searchers use, and not for you to include synonyms in your copy. I mean I don`t see the problem of throwing some synonyms here and there, it is part of the writing process but I wouldn`t define LSI keywords (even if such a thing exists) as synonyms. "So yeah, when people say LSI keywords, they mean synonyms."If that makes them feel better, sure, personally for me synonyms are synonyms and those who define LSI keywords as synonyms haven`t done their homework. Or they`re having a hard time to understand a single paper. That`s why you have a people reading patents and you have content marketers who are working on their clickbait title 24/7 to catch the prey in their spider web. The sad truth is that the majority are spider web material and then comes the psychology, the perception, you get hooked to this imaginary LSI keywords mumbo jumbo cos your brain has associated it and programmed YOU with - "That must be it, that`s how I can rank better, I have to use more synonyms. "If that`s the case, feel free to edit your article drop some synonyms recrawl the page and see how you magically jump from position 10 to position 1.
  • Youness Bermime: Wizz Mate LSI is love. LSI is life. (You`ll have hard time trying to explain your point, or you will be preaching to the choir. Those who disagree with you now have disagreed with Bill & Co for the last two years.
  • Kristine Schachinger: Wizz Mate LSI isn`t a thing.
  • Wizz Mate: Youness Bermime I don`t have that mindset like if someone`s 30 years in the game I should straight up buy what he`s selling. But those guys you referring to know their shit, and they know it damn good. I wish I had the opportunity to have a mentor like that when I was starting out, I mean who doesn`t? The younger and premature audience (with exceptions of course) are falling in what I like to call "the content marketing trap", shiny object syndrome, and rely mostly on eyesight instead of mindsight. And that`s fine. But mature audience falling for the same shit? That`s sad.That doesn`t mean that those that were into this game for decades don`t make mistakes, or that they are always right, but at least in 90% of the cases, they know what they are talking about.The only thing that worries me is because they know almost every marketing move on the planet, some of them might use it to benefit from it...the wrong way. And I bet some actually do.So I don`t want to follow some guy who puts hit attitude in front of everything else. I get it - You are the expert but that doesn`t make you a leader. To become the leader in your industry you have to have the right attitude, not just the knowledge and experience. This is where brand new bloggers take advantage, they don`t have the knowledge but they have the leader attitude. People want leaders.I hope that makes sense.
  • Youness Bermime: Wizz Mate I agree with you on everything. My point is that concerning the issue of LSI in SEO has been exhausted at this point. Very few changed their minds and most "leaders" still push LSI as the right way to go.You can`t even correct them because their fan base will come after you like you`re ISIS. Some people just don`t want to learn. And unless the leaders of the industry put an end to this myth, it will keep growing.Rand has, not once not twice, criticized the leaders for their continued sell of bullshit. Brian and Neil, well, they rely heavily on LSI to sell their courses. Those are just a few examples.
  • Melissa Fach: I don`t know who you consider "leaders", but you need to follow the past of the "leaders" to determine whether or not you should trust them. If you don`t have respect in the SEO community there is a reason for it. And here is just a recent snippet of info on the validity of one of the leaders you mention. https://www.buzzfeed.com/.../jayson-demers-audienceboom...
  • Youness Bermime: Melissa Fach Oh, don`t worry about that. A few weeks into SEO and I realized he was a fraud. I still see his videos promoted on my feed, and I fear mentioning his name would make them appear more frequently.
  • Youness Bermime: Also, were SEO people really surprised at this news? It seems pretty obvious (and maybe a normal behavior among marketers. Links from Forbes used (and maybe still) to cost a lot of cash money.
  • Melissa Fach: No one was surprised.
  • Kevin Carney: Bit of an oxymoron though.
  • Bill Slawski: Well, maybe the moron part.
  • Michael Martinez: LSI keywords are just a myth. Latent semantic indexing itself is too impractical to be used for indexing the Web. Hence, if the search engines cannot use LSI then there are no LSI keywords.
  • Glenn Cooper: Try searching for "Best Training Shoes" and you`ll see a whole array of different related keywords such as gym shoes, cross training shoes, running shoes etc... It`s an area that Google will get better at IMO
  • Edvinas Pozniakas: Michael Martinez why it`s impractical? What is LSI alternative for Google?
  • Michael Martinez: Edvinas Pozniakas Latent Semantic Indexing requires an incredible amount of disk space and memory. The more documents you index the faster your needs for memory and storage grow. It also doesn`t work very well on many types of queries. Scroll down to the bottom of this article to see a summary of the limitations of LSI. It`s not a very impressive semantic indexing methodology. https://nlp.stanford.edu/.../latent-semantic-indexing-1.html
  • Travis Bailey: Marketing people hyping something out of proportion. That`s totally unheard of. /sIt all comes down to keywords. The same keywords you would target anyway. No magic to it.
  • Dave Elliott: A stupid term for a dated system. If you just use it to mean. "write content broadly related to your target keyword" then fine if you are looking into how LSI works and trying to reverse engineer the algorithms then, no.
  • Ammon Johns: People misunderstand a lot of things by leaping to assumptions instead of properly learning about what has been done, how scaleable it is, etc. LSI is something that doesn`t scale and pre-dates internet search, as it was developed for indexing (not ranking) a relatively small corpus of documents with additional data. Word 2 Vec is a far more scaleable approach, and since then, many advances have been made into phrase-based indexing (which is far better for helping differentiate literal phrases from idioms and expressions).The thing is that LSI is done in the indexing, and is completely based around the exact number and content of the indexed documents. One document more, or one less, changes the scores. Thus NO third-party could give you any useful or meaningful data unless they had the exact same corpus of documents.Semantics (the meaning of words) is far, far broader than most think, and includes many similar and related fields, such as proxemics (how the closeness or distance between words affects meaning), pragmatics (the effect of context on meaning), and even semiotics (which helps with understanding metaphor, analogy, and other `symbolic` uses of words for meaning).

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Wednesday, July 11, 2018).

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