Copywriting for accountants – what is LSI?

Financial copywriter at his desk

When you start to think about getting some copywriting for your accountants practice you may well come across the phrase ‘LSI’ and wonder what on earth it is.

Well wonder no more. This post will tell what it is and how to get it.

Latent Semantic Indexing – LSI

OK so let’s take a walk back in time to the dawn of the internet.

If you wanted to know something about paperclips then you’d probably type into Ask Jeeves and you’d get presented with a series of results based purely on the amount of times the pages mentioned ‘paperclip’ in their text.

The problem with this is that people can game the system and so by simply using the word paperclips a gazillion times on their pages they can rank highly.

This is where things get interesting

Fast forward a few years and Google decides to stop people playing the search engines and start presenting results based, in part, on LSI.

Cut to the chase – what is LSI?

So LSI means all the words that are likely to exist around the word or phrase you are looking for in normal speech.

So for example, let’s imagine you are looking for information about paperclips.

Take two sites, one is a Will making site and one is a Paperclip supplier site.

The Will making site may have a phrase “don’t paperclip things to your original Will because they may go missing”.

Whilst the paperclip site may have a phrase “Paperclips are usually made from mild steel and plastic and are often sold in paper or carboard boxes.”

So the LSI for paperclips would be words like ‘Steel’, Plastic, ‘Cardboard’, ‘Paper’.

You wouldn’t expect these words to turn up on the Will making site.

But if you were looking for Wills then you’d expect things like ‘Testament’, ‘original’,’document’ etc.

So Google knows that one site is about paperclips because it says paperclips and because it has the words around it that make it more likely.

So how do you find your own LSI keywords?

One of the easiest ways to discover what your LSIs are is to do a Google search on your keywords.

Then just scan down the results and make a note of the words that keep appearing in the little snippets of the site.

Assess each word or phrase for whether you would naturally expect it to turn up next to your keywords.

Voila!

You have a list of LSI keywords.


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