To help you give your SEO strategy a leg up, here is the ultimate beginner’s guide to semantically related keywords, how to find them, and how to use them to your advantage to increase your website traffic in 2022.
Although AI is becoming smarter (almost terrifyingly so), computers can still be a little dumb. Google will use algorithms to make suggestions based on our searches, both current and in the past.
However, sometimes the systems don’t always have the same level of cross-referencing that humans can pick up on, and they need lots of guidance to understand us. For example, a person would be able to use context to know what was being asked whereas a computer may take your search very literally.
A computer can’t read your mind (not in 2022, at least). That’s why search engines are programmed using mathematical algorithms to help them save us time and energy. One way the algorithms assist content publishers is to use words that are related to their main keyword in your website page or blog post.
As SEO experts at Embarque, we recommend you can use these semantically related keywords, otherwise known as LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords, to tell the computer where to show your content in search and increase the number of eyeballs on your content!
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What are semantically related keywords
- Why are semantically related keywords important for SEO
- How to find semantically related words for your web pages
- Semantic keywords checklist
Let’s start! Or maybe you prefer a related keyword? Let’s begin! Let’s go! Let’s commence! Ok, maybe that sounds like we are about to initiate a new collection of SEO Avengers, but you get the idea.
What Are LSI and Semantically Related Keywords?
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, which counts for semantically related words that complement primary keywords in the SEO world. An LSI keyword is not necessarily a synonym to your focus keyword, rather than a word or phrase that, when used in the same context, gives search engines a better indication of what your content is about.
So, let’s say you’re a photographer. Your semantically related keywords could be:
All these LSI keywords are not synonyms. However, when used, per se, in a blog post on photography for weddings, they indicate in Google what this page is all about. Not only that, but readers can instantly identify how relevant this content is to their search query.
Why Do Search Engines Need LSI?
Another example: suppose you are Googling for John Lennon from the band ‘The Beatles’. If you typed ‘Lennon Beatles’, you may end up with results for the legendary singer mixed in with some insect-related results!
To avoid confusion, search engines had to advance their technology to use context to provide users with relevant search information. This is where LSI keywords come into play.
Search engines use complex mathematical algorithms to identify the meaning behind human text. However, we aren’t about to start teaching you how these algorithms work and how to decode them. We can teach you what you should know about the importance of semantically related words in your keyword mapping process.
Put simply, search engines had to incorporate the polysemy factor into their content indexing. Polysemy simply means ‘multiple meanings behind a word’, which can be used to determine the context in which a word is being used. So, for example, the word mouse can be used to describe both the small mammal and a computer’s mouse.
Why Is LSI Important for SEO's and Businesses?
LSI keywords help potential customers and search engines determine what your website, business, and products are all about. As we’ve mentioned in our article on Trustrank, in terms of ranking content, Google places a lot of emphasis on:
- How much high-quality content you post on a topic.
- How many backlinks you get from niche-relevant domains.
- How many users you get whose search patterns revolve around these semantically related topics.
In a nutshell, the more you target these semantically-related keywords through high-quality content, the faster you’ll rank for key terms. It’s what allowed us to rank first on a query that gets 17,000 searches with Scrumgenius in under a month. It’s what allows MentorCruise to rank on relevant queries related to mentorship in less than a day. Yes, under a day. That’s how powerful becoming a topical authority is.
Ranking for semantically related keywords increases click-through rates, improves your quality score with high relevance, and lowers your overall bid strategy. They are essential to incorporate into your content planning and SEO strategy.
If you are unsure where to begin, we will give you a basic rundown on how to find and use semantically rated words in this blog post. Or you may prefer to have one of the Embarque expert SEO strategists on your side to help guide you through the process.
How to Find Semantically Related Words
Now you know what semantic keywords are and why they are important to increase your search visibility. Let’s go over how to find semantically related words for your website. Here are your 9 steps to using LSI keywords:
1. Identify your primary keywords
Keyword research is infinitely valuable if you’re hoping for a successful SEO strategy. It’s vital that you first specify the foundation of core keywords that you’ll later expand on with semantic keywords.
The best way to do this is to create a spreadsheet with your primary keywords that you’ll use to map topics and content across different channels. You can use keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEO Scout to determine which high-volume queries you want to create content around. For instance, at Embarque, you’ll notice that we mainly post content around the following core topics:
- Content writing
2. Determine your supplementary keywords
Next you need to find similar words to your primary keywords that are still highly relevant to your content. It could be synonyms or thematically related phrases that are based on the same idea as your primary keywords.
For example, you can use an affordable tool like Keywords Everywhere to find more keyword opportunities. Once you identify them, fill them in your spreadsheet. Here is an example of the Keywords Everywhere plugin on Google for a search for ‘Dentists in London’. You can see the suggested related keywords on the right handside of the web browser which you can choose to include in your keyword mapping.
3. Do competitive research
Part of your regular SEO routine is competitor analysis. When analyzing your competitors’ SEO efforts, make sure you identify what semantically related keywords they are using and any gaps you could fill in.
You can use a tool like Ahrefs to compare your website with other competitors’ domains and filter those keywords that are not being used. Those are your top keyword opportunities.
4. Use auto-complete and make a list of what people are searching
Auto-complete is an excellent Google feature that reveals popular searches similar to what you’re typing before you even press enter. It’s based on a pool of users’ searches which helps Google determine popular search queries for relevant topics.
So, for example, when searching ‘best laptops’ in the search bar, you get a bunch of suggestions based on what users also search. In this example, you could group the keywords ‘best laptops for students’, ‘best laptops for college’ and ‘best laptops for engineering students’, and write a blog post for prospective students looking to buy their first laptop when leaving home for college.
5. Peek at related searches
Similarly to auto-complete, you can find at the bottom of your search results Google’s Relate Search feature that gives clues on what users are interested in based on your focus keywords.
Here we see other relevant searches that might be useful to your overall SEO content strategy that didn’t pop up in the auto-complete search.
6. Check the People Also Ask box
You’ve probably noticed that Google showcases the most popular questions users type in the search bar for you to consider clicking through. It’s a handy tool that helps you identify what users are interested in learning and allow you to answer these queries to provide as much have to the reader as possible.
7. Keep an eye on forums and social media
Anything indexed by Google is worth keeping tabs on. These are excellent resources to determine users’ search queries, whether it is forums like Quora or Reddit, social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook, or knowledge bases like Wikipedia.
For example, searching ‘apple laptops’ or ‘apple computers’ in Wikipedia offers various ideas or even semantically related words relating to your users search interests when searching to buy a new laptop.
8. Use Google Image search suggestions
Google offers a feature inside its image search that’s an additional way of finding related searches and LSI keywords you can use in your content and image names. To use it, simply open the Image Search, type your primary keyword and click on one of the suggested alternative searches.
Use LSI keyword tools
LSI keyword meanings might be new and overwhelming to you. Thankfully, there are LSI tools to make this process easier for you. Some of our favorites are:
SEO Scout is a cool tool that uses machine learning for keyword research. Simple enter a core query, and SEO Scout will show a list of variations around this core term. Saves you a significant time on research. For instance, the image above shows different keyword variations that you can have around the query countdown clock.
Google’s Search Console is the most accurate keyword tracking tool that there is… and it’s for free! While most keyword research tools only provide search volume estimates, Search Console tracks these figures accurately as impressions. Understand which semantically related queries you’re ranking for and optimize your old content to rank higher and get more search clicks.
You can use Ahrefs to find content gaps by analyzing the keywords other results are ranking for. For instance, say you’re on the first page for the query SEO, and you want to rank for more related terms. In that case, you can go through each results keywords to uncover new topics you can include.
SEMrush keyword magic tool
An all-in-one tool to identify semantically related keyword opportunities for your SEO strategy. Simply enter your keyword, get your results, filter them based on volume, search intent, or SEO difficulty, and take action.
Prices start from $119.95 per month.
From primary to long-tail keywords, Ubersuggest lets you explore in its free version hundreds of keywords along with their volume, SEO difficulty, and competition top related articles. Export your keyword list, and you’re ready to go!
Prices start from $29 per month.
An excellent tool that can be used for YouTube, Bing, Amazon, eBay, or even Instagram. Generate more than 750 semantic keywords for your search terms in the free version or upgrade to the pro version for advanced results.
Prices start from $69 per month.
LSIGraph offers limited keywords along with top related articles in its free version. You can opt for a basic, premium, or agency package for complete semantic analysis for more advanced results. All in all, it’s an efficient SEO tool if you’re looking for something affordable to get you started.
Prices start at $27 per month.
Moz Keyword Explorer
Finally, Moz lets you find your sweet spot to success by identifying, organizing, and categorizing semantic keywords. You can test it out with a 30-day free trial or opt for a paid package when you are ready.
Prices start at $99 per month.
Semantic Keywords Checklist
To summarise, semantically related keywords are crucial for a good SEO strategy.
They allow users and search engines to figure out what your website and business are all about and get your content in front of your potential customers. Therefore, the right SEO strategy should include semantic words inside your content to keep the environment around your focus keywords relevant.
To conduct a proper semantic keywords analysis and boost your overall internal and external SEO, follow these steps:
- Conduct keyword research and identify your focus, and supplement keywords.
- Draw inspiration and content ideas from Google’s features including auto-complete, related searches, people also ask box and image tags.
- Check your competition and spot keyword gaps that you can fill in as you have a higher chance of ranking top of Google with less competition.
- Use the right SEO tools to determine even more semantic keyword opportunities like Search Console, Ahrefs and SEO Scout.
- Use your semantic keywords everywhere you can such as in your content, meta tags, headlines, and images alt texts.
- Write for users first and for search engines second.
Now you know all about what semantic related keywords are and how to use them in your SEO strategy. With the right strategy down, you’ll be boosting your SEO, increasing your sales, and scaling your business to reach your goals in no time!
Please feel free to reach out to a member of the Embarque team if you are interested in having a consultation with one of our resident experts in SEO to discuss how to improve your strategy in an instant.