Why Related Keywords are Important for SEO

Sarah McInerney

Head of Content

Sarah has almost three decades of experience in crafting compelling, engaging content specifically designed to boost sales and enhance brand loyalty. She’s also an expert in developing unique tone of voice that helps brands connect with their audiences. Her marketing and client service background has given Sarah a natural understanding of how to write content that makes readers take action. Whether it’s signing up to a mailing list, making an enquiry or donation or clicking the buy button, Sarah knows precisely how to convert with words. Pen down, Sarah is a proud member of the Essex Wildlife Trust and spends most of her free time enjoying inspiring walks through her local woodland and nature reserves, admiring everything that flaps, flutters and flowers.

In our recent post detailing 9 SEO on-page factors to boost your search engine rankings, we touched on the use of semantically related keywords and phrases as a way to enrich your online content and boost the relevancy of your web pages. In this post, we’re going to delve deeper into the subject and uncover just why related keywords are important for SEO.

semantically related keywords

Why are related keywords important for SEO? Let’s find out.

What are semantically related keywords?

Semantics is a form of linguistics associated with drawing meaning from words. Semantically related keywords are words and phrases that are related in some way.

When we use semantic keywords in copy writing, they help the content to flow more naturally, which is great for the reader.

We all know the importance of getting target keywords into web and blog content. Optimising target keyword usage was another one of our on-page SEO factors, and a very important one. It’s a known strategy for improving search engine rankings.

But keyword stuffing is out of the question. It frustrates readers, plus it can lead to a search engine penalty. It’s precisely why instead of using the actual target key phrase over and over, we use a selection of similar words and phrases too. Long tail keyword variations they are also known as.

But there is a lot more to semantics and search engine optimisation than keyword variations. A whole lot more. Because these related keywords have an even greater purpose, and that is to demonstrate relevancy, both to the readers, and to the search engines.

Why are semantically related keywords important for SEO?

Search engines love natural sounding content that is relevant to the search term. To work out whether they’re dealing with a quality piece of copy that is related to what the user was searching for, they measure how many semantic keywords are used in a piece of content. That’s it in a nutshell. Here’s the science bit.

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is a system used by the search engines to analyse the words being used around a given topic. Google’s algorithm uses LSI keywords – words and phrases that are closely linked to a target topic – to help determine the quality of content and its relevance to the search term. For Google, it’s all about making sure web users find what they are looking for, rather than what they searched for.

Google has confirmed that using more LSI keywords will typically lead to better search rankings. Why? Because not everyone searches for information on a given subject in the same way using the same search terms. Whilst some will use your target keyword, others, usually the majority of others, will use a variation of it.

Therefore, a page with more related keywords doesn’t just demonstrate increased context and detail to the search engines; it will also match the search terms of an increased number of users. So better rankings, and a wider audience for your content. Brilliant!

Latent semantic indexing

Google’s algorithm uses LSI keywords – words and phrases that are closely linked to a target topic – to help determine the quality of content and its relevance to the search term.

Here’s an example to explain how related keywords demonstrate relevancy…

Say you were writing an article to help people learn more about the latest business security products.

Of course you will feature the key phrase ‘security’ and ‘business security’ in your content, but how will the search engines know whether you are talking about physical security such as CCTV and intruder alarms? Or internet security such as firewall and anti-virus? This is where your semantic keywords come in.

Including semantic keywords such as ‘office security systems’; ‘business CCTV’; ‘office intruder alarms’; ‘carpark security lighting’; ‘security shutters’; ‘high security locks’, etc. will immediately show that the article is about physical security solutions. As opposed to internet security, which would include related words like ‘antivirus software’, ‘security software’ and ‘computer security’.

How do I know what related keywords to use in my web content?

There are some useful and really simple tools you can use to find the right LSI keywords.

Related searches

Whenever you do a Google search, you’ll usually get a list of related searches at the bottom of the page of results. These are great indicators of the keywords that the search engine considers semantically related. So type in your target keyword, and see what comes up.

For example, here’s what we get for a search for office security systems:

semantic keywords related searches

Google autocomplete

As you start typing a search term into Google, the search engine will start to try and predict what it is you are looking for, based on popular searches. These predictions often include valuable related keywords you can use in your content.

Here’s what comes up as predictions for our office security systems search:

semantic keywords Google autocomplete

LSI keyword generators

There are a number of LSI keyword generators you can use online for free.

LSIGraph is one of the most highly recommended by SEO professionals, although it does offer limited daily searches.

Others include LSI Keywords which shows monthly search volume in your chosen part of the world as well as cost per click and competition information for PPC campaigns.

Niche Laboratory creates not just LSI keywords but also a great deal more useful detail about the keyword you searched for such as article ideas, long tail keywords, related niches and a brief competition analysis.

Where should I use semantically related keywords?

Naturally, your related keywords should appear throughout the web page, article or blog that you are looking to rank for. But taking it a step further will boost your chances of even higher search engine rankings.

Just remember, good SEO content is all about sounding natural, so be sure to only use your related words where they are a genuinely good fit. You can use them close together, this is actually good practice, but again just make sure they sound ‘right’.

Use your related keywords in:

Headings – using target keywords in headings is an SEO tactic proven to be successful. Introducing related keywords will further reinforce relevancy. If possible include them in your H1 heading, and wherever they fit well into your H2 headings.

Page titles – when possible try and get one or more of your most highly relevant semantic keywords into your page title. But only if it’s a natural fit. Don’t let it sound spammy.

Images – use your related keywords in the alt text, titles and file names of the images that appear on your page.

It’s also a great idea to create dedicated content that specifically targets LSI and long tail keyword variations too. Then link to it from the target keyword piece using the variation keyword as the anchor text.

Summing up

Why are related keywords important for SEO? Because they demonstrate relevancy to the search engines, and enrich the user experience. Naturally.

If you are looking to boost your search engine rankings and want to better engage your readers, factoring semantically related keywords into your online content is the way to go.

Need some help crafting great SEO content? We’re here for you! Figment is an SEO agency in London that’s been helping businesses across London and the globe to boost their search engine rankings using a range of proven strategies for several years. Get in touch to discuss how we can help meet your business goals!

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