Advanced On-page Optimization – LSI & SILO structures The Latent Semantic Indexing

The LSI and SILO structures are regarded presently as the future of SEO on-page optimization. Google is known to have patented different technologies that make extensive use of LSI and results have shown that this technology is already operating on organic results these days.

So what is LSI?

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing.

LSI allows a search engine to determine quickly the relevance of a website outside of the actual search query that a user would type in to search for content.

For example a website about dogs may naturally have content about dog training, canine obedience, dog history and German Shepherds.
LSI adds a new process when indexing a website. Not only are the keywords considered but the entire content of the website is considered as well. The whole site is now considered instead of just single keywords on a single page.

LSI determines whether a site has other terms that are semantically close to the queried keyword. This means that the algorithm is able to determine good content by the natural occurrence of other keywords within the website that are similar (semantic or semantically related) to the queried keyword. LSI lowers the effect of documents that are semantically distant.

There has been a massive amount of research that has gone into this algorithm. It is worthy of note that this simple method of determining semantic closeness to a queried word is surprisingly close to how an actual human would classify a document as being relevant. Yet it is an advanced automated process being conducted by thousands of computer servers.

Documents, which are seen as semantically close, tend to rank surprisingly higher than documents that do not use semantics to cover their theme. LSI is the closest the search engines have come to mimicking human thought.

Why is Google paying much attention to LSI and implementing it? Remember we talked about scrapers earlier?

LSI has the net effect of producing more relevant results for searchers. The days of search engine algorithms using single keyword matches are coming to a fast extinction. The search engines now know that single keyword factors can yield very low quality results by allowing spammers and lazy webmasters to manipulate the rankings.

LSI, in its most basic form, tries to associate words with concepts to ensure relevancy. For example, the words pool and table are associated with the term billiards and not swimming pools and kitchen tables. The words taco and bell are associated with a restaurant chain and not a popular Mexican food or musical instrument.

So what are the implications of LSI for our purposes?

LSI means that by covering the theme thoroughly we will be able to achieve high rankings above most of the sites out there.
So how do we cover our niche thoroughly?

For this purpose, we need to understand what Google thinks of a search term. We need to understand the keywords that Google associates to a search term (correlated keywords, synonyms, etc). By implementing later in our blueprint (unique contents) these keywords all along the website on each corresponding section we will be in an optimal situation. By covering a wide semantic net (covering keywords and related keywords and synonyms of those words) you will rank higher in your niche.

How is the design of the website involved in the process?

A website needs to be properly structured to take full advantage of LSI. Designing your site and your pages using synonyms and correlated keywords will yield higher quality content naturally. You will also be properly communicating the theme of your site to the search engines and will rank higher for your keywords.

What does LSI mean in the practice?

In the practice, LSI will be useful for developing our blue print and keyword-rich contents on each section within our silos structures. By making exhaustive usage of all the keywords that semantically have sense for Google on each case, we will be able to build highly SEO optimized content rewarded by Google.

Let´ s make a semantic search example for the keyword apple. This is achieved by performing the following search on Google: ~apple

Have a look at the related keywords that occur in results:

  • Apple Computer
  • QuickTime
  • Apple’s
  • Windows
  • Computer
  • Mac
  • iMac
  • G4

It is easy to observe that in no moment Google understands in this case the keyword apple as semantically related to the fruit. Instead, it is associating it to computer related stuff.

So LSI enables us to understand the semantic logic that Google is looking for when analyzing our content and assigning a value to it.

What are SILOS?

As we develop the overall theme of the site, as a whole, we will start to creep upwards in rankings for very competitive keywords by concentrating on individual sub-themes that include less competitive keywords within your site. By concentrating on the less broad keywords (long tail) in your sub-themes, you will begin to rank for broader and broader keywords by covering your sites overall theme at a very deep level.

This will be done through strict organization of your site into themes or silos and then including synonymically related keywords within the content of individual pages within each silo structure within your site (LSI).

The most basic explanation of a silo is to keep all related information inside of one folder. By generating different SILOS we will be able to cover our niche with maximum detail for all the relevant keyword variations in different levels.

Developing your Blue Print

Now that we know what LSI means, how we can use it for our benefit on SEO projects? How we are supposed to structure the website based on our SILOS structure? It is time to design our own blue print.

This process will start to create our own specific content for each specific keyword within each sub-theme on its respective silo structure. But this content will not have a random nature. We already know how to identify by usage of LSI, semantically related keywords. So it is time to use this information.

Once you initiate your writing for each specific section, you will have to use semantically related keywords (in Google´ s understanding as explained before) as well as available synonyms. Generating contents this way determines your blue print and you will be able to populate your website with highly optimized & top-notch content from an SEO perspective.

Short-term requirements may not allow a website owner to dedicate so much time to silo structuring and content creation. There are also budget constraints based on the paid services to work on SILO & LSI structures.

Last but not least, though it is the optimal approach regarding SEO on-page factors, the LSI & Silo structuring is highly demanding on unique content volumes. Remember that you must apply LSI on each section so this will be a time consuming process to develop the best possible blueprint.

As we can easily observe, it is by no means a unilateral decision. In the end, it all comes to short-term against long-term requirements as well as budget availability when working with an independent consultant.