What is LSI - Latent Semantic Indexing? - Blogger help, tips and hacks

What is LSI - Latent Semantic Indexing?

Latent semantic indexing, other wise known as LSI, is not what is it is frequently claimed to be. It is not something that a webpage can be optimized for, so that it conforms to LSI standards. There is no such thing as LSI standards. In fact, latent semantic indexing cannot be described to a layman in simple terms.

LSI cannot be used to improve your search engine listings since it is nothing more than a concept. A very mathematically complex concept, sure, but a concept nevertheless, and concepts cannot be used for tangible results. However, there is a guide to what Google are trying to achieve in the use of the words within the term. In the context in which it used, the word semantics here means the meaning of words, and specifically the meaning to which words are put, and what is being conveyed, in the way that the term is used.

The analysis of the text on a webpage, and the application of certain meanings to it, is not new to Google. That is, after all, the basis of Google Adsense, where the text on a webpage is assessed and adverts applied to that page by Google, based on its statistical assessment of the meaning of the page. This assessment is made on the basis of the semantics used by the writer of the page content, and the adverts that appear on Adsense pages do tend to be relevant to the content of the page.

The same procedure has apparently been applied by Google to assessing the relevance of the content of a webpage to the search terms used by Google customers seeking information using the search engine. If the algorithm used by Google determines that the content is relevant, then that page will be listed higher than an equivalent page on another website that is regarded as being less relevant.

This, of course, is true if all other considerations used by Google are equal. Considerations such as the presence of certain meta tags that Google are known to still use, link density and a number of other variables. However, if Google"s so-called latent semantic index algorithm calculates that the page content is not relevant, then that page has no chance of being listed for the search term or keyword used by the seeker of the information.

Then way that this is calculated is based upon contextual relevance. For example, Google will look at the search term used by a customer, and if that is, for example, "locks and locksmiths" the search engine will scan through its database of listings for the keywords "locks" and "locksmiths". Prior to the introduction of the use of what we will loosely term LSI, Google would have listed sites using the word "locks" irrespective of whether these were security locks, locks of hair or canal locks.

Now however, the search engine will use so-called LSI to calculate the statistical occurrences of words semantically related to the word "locks" and the context in which they are being used. If it sees words such as "canal", "river. "barge", etc, it will discount these since they do not convey the sense of the word "locksmiths" although they tie in with "locks". The algorithm will, however, connect the words "key" and "door" with both "locks" and "locksmiths" and return a list of webpages that provide information on these.

Unless you are a total fool, therefore, and do not mention any other words connected with security locks on your webpage about locks (and that would be very hard to do), then there is no real need for a page to be "optimized" for latent semantic indexing. It will be done naturally, so those advertising such services have no idea what they are talking about.

There are too many people that have claimed to understand its use by Google and other search engines, without fully understanding what the term itself means. There appears to be no practical use to which the term can be put, since naturally written content about a subject is enough to keep the search engines happy. It would appear to be very difficult to write about doll"s houses without mentioning dolls, so that Google could confuse them with real houses, and anybody who succeeds in doing so should be in more need of other forms of help than an expert in search engine optimization.

Latent semantic indexing, or LSI, is a concept, not a technique. All you need do to satisfy the contextual relevance part of the Google algorithm is to write naturally about your subject and do not try to fool search engines through the endless repetitive use of keywords without any other contextually relevant content. It is not a technique, it is common sense and good and clear writing practice.

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