Optimize Your Website With Latent Semantic Indexing

By Yvonne Brixey

Having trouble pronouncing latent semantic indexing? Much less understanding what latent semantic indexing is? Well, I can explain latent semantic indexing to you in 500 words or less, but I can't attach an audio file to this article, so you can call it LSI for short. We'll know you mean latent semantic indexing, and in a few minutes, you'll be able to explain just what latent semantic indexing is.

LSI is a part of SEO. Simple, eh? Oh, sorry. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an important part of internet marketing. Latent semantic indexing is a big part of optimizing your website for a search engine. When customers go looking for your website, they do a search on Google and of course you hope that your website is one of the first ones that is returned in the list of documents that the search engine provides. If you want to ensure that your website is near the top of the list, you'll need to understand latent semantic indexing. That's because it is one of the algorithms that are used by every search engine when it is browsing the internet.

To rank every document and website for a query, a search engine needs to assign a singular value to each document. This value is based on a semantic analysis of how well all the terms in the document relate to the term that the user has entered as his query. That's because "semantic" refers to the meaning of words, and a user is looking for documents according to the meaning of the term he has entered.

But words can mean many different things, particularly as the context around them varies. Thus, the "latent" in latent semantic indexing is used to refer to the meaning of words that are brought out by their context. The word "top" may refer to a child's toy, or it may refer to a circus tent if it is paired with the word "big". But if "top" is followed by "ranked", it is simply referring to a location on a list of items.

So, latent semantic indexing does a semantic analysis of all the terms in a document in order to create a singular value for how well the document relates to a given search term. If the document has lots of circus terms, then it will be get a high score for "big top". If there are many words in it about children's toys, then the document will be ranked low for "big top". Where it ranks is considered to be its index of association with the search term, hence "semantic indexing". "Latent semantic indexing" is used because of the subtlety of the meanings involved. The true meaning of the word "top" in the document can only be determined by how it relates to the other words, not by a simple look-up in a dictionary.Optimize Your Website With Latent Semantic Indexing

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