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A Simple Explanation Of Latent Semantic Indexing (L.S.I.)

Updated on May 8, 2015

If you are like me, when you heard the term Latent Semantic Indexing (L.S.I.) your mind went into a tailspin.

The purpose of this hub is to give the simplest explanation possible for those reading who have no idea what this term stands for.

The first thing I must mention is: if you want your website, blog, or articles to be S.E.O. friendly, you will adapt them to a Latent Semantic Indexing form.


Let me explain

SEO and Panda

Courtesy of Stuart Miles via
Courtesy of Stuart Miles via

Panda Updates

Many of you have heard of the Google Panda updates that have occurred as of late. If you are not familiar with Google Panda, there is a link explaining it below and to the right.

You know that Google and other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and others have changed the algorithms used to determine if the content in websites and blogs is of great authority. If their robots determine that the content is authoritative, they will move it high in their search engine.

L.S.I. is a completely different system than once used.

It used to be a system of just installing keywords or key phrases. The robots would look at the amount of keys used and determine by that if the content was of great authority.

So what was the problem?


There were people using keywords and phrases that had absolutely nothing to do with the content they published. They would go as far as installing a brief text box that had a sentence with keywords used. The sentence would make no sense, but the robots didn't know that. You would then have ignorant content sitting at the top of search engine results.

Something had to be done. That is where Panda updates came in, along with Latent Semantic Indexing.

The Beginning of L.S.I.

Latent Semantic Indexing (L.S.I.) has been used for quite a few years.

The majority of uses has been in scientific and medical applications as you can see from the diagram at the right.

It seems Google took a good look at this technology and decided it would adapt and work quite well in deciding if web content has authority.

I could use all the mathematical equations used in the matrix to determine if the content you are providing is useful and authoritative.

The fact is: unless you are a mathematical genius, you would be lost.

Just look at the Wikimedia Page on Latent Semantic Analysis.

How L.S.I. Works Per Google Panda

Instead of pulling out all those mathematical functions, I will explain this in a simple fashion.

These are the steps:

  1. The search engine robots visit your content.
  2. They proceed to take out all unnecessary words such as articles, conjunctions, and pronouns.
  3. The robots then scan the remaining words.
  4. Using the main keyword they look for relevant words.
  5. The robot determines if the words used and where they are in the content is key driven.
  6. Using all of this, they determine if the content is authoritative.
  7. They choose the placement in search engine results based on all keywords, phrases, and relevant words.


This still sounds overwhelming for some of us doesn't it?

It is not as confusing and difficult as it sounds. You do have the ability to write your content and gain great standing in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. You can write articles using Latent Semantic Indexing.

Let me show you how!

Steps To Write L.S.I. Friendly Content. Click On The Photo To Enlarge.

Step 1
Step 1 | Source
Step 2
Step 2 | Source
Step 3
Step 3 | Source

Use These Steps

To make this even more simple, I will use this hub as an example.

Before you start your article, you will want to choose your primary keyword or key phrase. For this example, the key is Latent Semantic Indexing.

Take a pen and piece of paper and write your keyword or phrase directly in the center. (see step 1 in pictures at the right.) A great resource for this is the Google Keyword Tool.

Now draw lines off that keyword or phrase putting words that coincide directly with the keyword you used. Notice in step 2 the words I put:

  1. keywords
  2. search engines
  3. S.E.O.
  4. content
  5. authority
  6. matrix
  7. panda updates

Next, draw lines off any of those words in which you can think of words that directly relate to them.(see step 3 in the pictures.)

Now with all of that done, it is time to write content.

If you can make it work, your keyword or phrase should be in your title. You will want your main keyword to be within the first 3 sentences of your article. In a 500 word article, I would attempt to have my keyword come out at least two more times within the middle of the article, and you will want it within the last part of the article.

Now you know about the keyword, but what about all those other words?

Get as many of those other words in the article! They need to be within the article in an understandable way. By using these relevant words, you are writing the same way the robots will be checking.

As an example, I am going to take the first two text boxes of this hub and act as a robot below. The keyword, Latent Semantic Indexing will be bold with the other words in italics. Unnecessary words will be gone.

Lets now see what the robot sees.

How The Google Robot Sees It

heard term Latent Semantic Indexing (L.S.I.) mind tailspin purpose hub give simplest explanation possible reading idea what term stands first thing must mention: website, blog, articles S.E.O. friendly, adapt Latent Semantic Indexing form. Let explain Panda Updates heard Google Panda updates occurred late. know Google other search engines Bing, Yahoo, have changed algorithms used determine content websites blogs great authority.robots determine content authoritative, will move high search engine. L.S.I. completely different system than once used. used system just installing keywords key phrases. robots would look amount keys used determine content great authority. problem? Cheaters There were people using keywords phrases absolutely nothing content published. would far installing brief text box sentence keywords used. sentence would make sense, robots didn't know would have ignorant content sitting top search engine results. Something done where Panda updates came, along Latent Semantic Indexing.


All in all, if I were a Google Robot, this article will be at the very top.

I must mention that I am more a writer than a webmaster. It took research to find this information.

When I noticed that my views have been dropping terribly here on Hubpages, along with our websites and blogs, I just had to discover why.

It is because many of my articles, and the content I have provided is not S.E.O. friendly. It was working 2 years ago, but not now.

I am going to use Latent Semantic Indexing more now. It works, and that is why Google uses it.

If we, as content writers want to have great results, following the L.S.I. approach is our best bet.

I hope I made this clear for you. If you have any more questions on this, feel free to ask in the comments section. Please let me know in the poll if this was a clear picture of how Latent Semantic Indexing works.

Clear and Concise?

Did this hub give you a clear picture of L.S.I. and how you can write content with it in mind?

See results

© 2014 Greg Boudonck


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    • Froggy213 profile imageAUTHOR

      Greg Boudonck 

      5 years ago from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Thanks Maggie. I hope it helps many.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 

      5 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Great job Greg. A complete article very useful. Thanks!

    • Froggy213 profile imageAUTHOR

      Greg Boudonck 

      5 years ago from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      You are very welcome. I am glad it will help some writers out there.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 

      5 years ago from California, United States of America

      Very interesting stuff. I'm kind of glad Google is finding more ways to stop the cheaters, gives real writers a chance that way. Hopefully one day they won't just rely on keywords, which I think is the point of Hummingbird. It would be nice if you could just write a good article and leave it at that, and people would find it and get something out of it.

      Thanks for the good detail and advice here. Much appreciated.


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