When you publish any content on the Internet, your aim is for people to read what you have written. For this to happen, people must be able to find your content.
Sure, you can use social media to spread the word. But the benefits of doing so are very short-lived.
The best way by far to get your content noticed and read for a much longer period of time is to have it indexed by search engines so it appears in search results.
You are probably thinking immediately that I am only referring here to blog posts and articles. But no, search engines can and do index book descriptions, so if you are an author, you should read on.
Smarter search engines
Search engines understand more than just plain keywords and they are getting a lot smarter.
Long gone are the days when you could keyword stuff your title, text and meta description with one or two words. This practice does not work any longer.
A search engine now analyses the whole text. It looks for elements that give depth to the information in the content that will be informative in relation to a search query.
To stand a chance of getting a high Google page ranking for your great article now, your text needs contain words that are often associated with your topic.
To put it another way, you need to use words that a related search term, or in search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, semantic.
Using semantically related keywords is not difficult. Whenever you create new content you probably already know that you need to think about keywords and long tail keywords.
As an example, if you are writing about fish, your core keywords might be fish and fishing.
Your long tail or phrase keywords might then be, why I like fishing, where can you catch fish, or what every fisherman should know.
But what about words such as boat, river, rod, line, bait, tackle and hooks? These words are thematic, or semantic, to fishing.
How to start your semantic keyword research
The best way to find relevant and high-quality semantic keywords is to use an SEO suite such as Semrush as I have done to quickly research the following examples.
Semrush provides me with a list of keywords used by the top ten ranking pages for a base keyword, which is very helpful indeed.
You could also use an online latent semantic indexing (LSI) tool, but the results are not nearly as comprehensive.
The first thing to do is to check for a relevant main keyword. The example below traces how I prepared to write this article. My keyword is obviously semantic keywords.
Here is the result of my first broad search.
My main keyword is not bad at all as it doesn’t look like it will face a lot of competition. I don’t want to write about a specific tool, so I chose the second and third keywords.
Try a free keyword search yourself.
The next thing to do is to see if anyone is interested in this topic. This can be achieved by checking the topic trend.
There are peaks and troughs but there is enough interest to want to continue writing about the subject. Anyway, it’s important information for bloggers and authors, so I don’t need a huge trend to motivate me.
From this basic information, I now want to gather a list of semantic keywords that I will need to use to write the article.
Semrush has a great content creation tool. All I need to do is enter a couple or a few basic keyword phrases and it gives me all the related keywords I need to include. These keywords are drawn from the top articles on Google for the topic.
My two base phrases are, what are semantic keywords and latent semantic indexing.
The result of using the content tool gives me everything I need.
I have starred out letters because I don’t want to repeat all these words and keyword stuff this article.
Optimal title length: 55 characters
Add at least one of your target keywords to your <title> tag, don’t use each target keyword more than 1 time: lat**t se**ntic in**xing, what are se**ntic ke**ords
Optimal meta description length: 230 characters
Add all your target keywords at least one time: l**ent sema**ic ind**ing, what are s**antic keyw**ds
Make sure that your text is easy to read with the Flesch-Kincaid readability test. The readability score should be 50
Focus on creating informative content. Recommended text length: 1649 words
Enrich your text with the following semantically related words:
main k**words, related se**ches, grea**, ls* ke**ords, long t*il k**words, se**ch en*ine, tar**ted keyword, rela*ed ke*word, high q*ality, cre*te co**ent, se**ntic rel*ed key*rds, se* stra**gy, sem**tic k*word res*arch, keyw**d den*ties, bl*g po*ts, co*e key**rds, sem**tic in**xing, la**nt se**ntic in**xing ls*, sem**tic s*rch, soc*al**edia
If you check this article carefully, you will see the occurrences of the recommended semantic keywords I have used to help increase search visibility.
There is also a WordPress plugin available with Semrush that makes the task of using related keywords much easier. It is a floating panel on your editor that helps you check as you write for keywords, metadata and readability.
How can I use LSI keywords for a book description?
Your book description is probably on many sites including Amazon, Goodreads Apple and your blog and website. But is it being indexed by Google? If so, does it rank reasonably well? If not, semantic keywords can help.
I will use one of my own books, One Last Love, which is set in a hospice as an example.
I chose a few basic words that describe the themes in the book. Then I used them as my main keywords to enter into the Semrush content creation tool, as I did in the first example.
Add at least one of your targeted keywords: love in later life, elderly, hospice, terminal illness, rose garden
Enrich your text with the following semantically related words: hospice program, emotional and spiritual, falling in love, hospice staff, hospice and palliative care, nursing home, elderly people, pain management, palliative care, national hospice and palliative, social workers, life expectancy, hospice services, home care, life care, pain and symptom, hospice provide, hospice nurses, older people, hospice patients
I certainly wouldn’t use all of the suggested words. But there are enough new words to include in my book description to make it more informative and more discoverable by a search engine.
No one will ever search for my book by its title or my name. But now, people who search using one of the new words may find it from these related searches.
It is easy to apply this simple semantic link SEO strategy. You can improve the chances of your book being discovered by readers when they use one of your semantic words when they search.
Tips for using and improving your semantic search
You don’t need to use an SEO suite as I have done in the above examples. But it does make it a lot faster and more complete, which is ideal for serious bloggers and content marketers.
For authors, you can use a free online tool to find semantic keywords.
Or simply sit down and make a list of twenty or so words or short phrases that relate to the topics, themes, locations and time periods of your book.
You can then use these to improve and enhance your book description.
The only word of warning is that you should be careful when it comes to keyword densities.
Don’t try to stuff your article full of related keywords. Write as you normally do, but when there is an opportunity, include a keyword in your text as naturally as possible.
If you use internal links, using one or two of the main keywords in your anchor text is also a good idea.
Semantic indexing is not a cure-all for poor writing.
It helps you to know that Google and other search engines include this factor in their algorithms. But nothing is more powerful that fantastic content.
Well written, long form, and highly informative articles that answer readers’ questions are still the best winning formula.
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
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