Oct 7, 2021

LSI vs Long Tail Keywords: What are they and do you need both?

LSI vs Long Tail Keywords: What are they and do you need both?


As an SEO or content marketer, you know that keywords are the currency of your business. They determine what people see when they google and for how long.

However, keyword research is not as easy as it used to be in the early days of SEO.

Since the Hummingbird algorithm update by Google, the head terms have become highly competitive, whereas the keyword stuffing has become a black hat technique and no longer helps in ranking.

That's why SEO experts have now switched to the LSI (latent semantic indexing keywords) and the long tail keywords.

There has been a lot of debates around the LSI vs. Long-tail keywords. Are LSI and long tail keywords the same?

Which one should you use, LSI keywords or Long Tail Keywords?

In this article, we have shared the LSI vs. Long tail keywords comparison and how they can improve your On-page SEO to improve rankings.

What is the LSI keyword?

LSI stands for latent semantic indexing. LSI keywords are single or multi-word keywords that are semantically related to each other. Contrary, they are not synonyms or have the same meaning as the keyword itself.

LSI keywords offer some benefits over main keywords. LSI keywords make it easier for search engines to identify and rank content as they can tell if the keyword is relevant to the page's topic on which it appears.

LSI also offers some big enhancements in natural language query understanding and voice recognition.

Here is an example of the LSI keyword. Let's say; your exact search term is 'paleo diet.'

Type this main keyword in the Google search bar and look at the relevant suggestions. As you can see, Google suggests various search phrases that are related to the main keyword.

LSI Keyword

But, what do we mean by Long tail keywords?

What is Long tail keyword?

Long tail keywords are phrases related to the main keyword with low search volume, less competition, and easier to rank than the head keyword.

Long tail keywords are usually three or more words long. What sets it apart from the main keyword is that it has better conversion rates than the latter.

Long tail keywords example:

Let' say your focus keyword is about the 'paleo diet.'

However, this keyword is highly competitive and has a broad search volume. Using a long tail keyword such as 'buy paleo diet supplement from Amazon' will be more specific and easier to rank.

Long tail keywords impact the rankings of a page because it is much easier for search engines to identify and recognise them than main keywords.

It makes them a better choice over the latter as they will show up more often in SERPs and drive higher conversion rates.

Now, people are often confused between LSI and long tail keywords.

Are they the same?

What's the difference between LSI and long tail keywords?

LSI keywords are semantically related, whereas long tail keywords are the lengthened form of your focus keywords.

Long tail keywords consist of phrases or words that satisfy the searcher's intent. Use of words like "how," "where," and "what" can help with understanding the searcher's intentions.

Long tail keywords provide more traffic and bring your audience close to the conversions, whereas the LSI keywords help search engines understand the content.

Thus, keyword optimization is paramount with the use of both LSI and long tail keywords in the content.

Which one to use, when, and where?

As a part of an effective SEO strategy, LSI and long tail keywords should be used to enhance the rankings of your page. They should not be used for "just" getting traffic but rather to improve the conversion rate and increase brand awareness.

Now, the question; when and where should we use LSI and longtail keywords?

LSI keywords are the search terms that increase the relevancy of your content. You can use LSI or related words in various content parts to help search engines understand the content better.

LSI keywords can be used in:

  • Title tags
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Image Alt tags
  • Use LSI in various header

Also, make sure to use LSI keywords at the top of your content. Let's say the exact keyword is 'Digital marketing.'

You can use the LSI keywords like "digital marketing tips," "digital marketing free tools," or various other search terms in your content body as well as the headers.

How to use long tail keywords in SEO?

Long tail keywords are those which use more words than "keyword" to describe a specific search term. For example, the keyword "chocolate cake" is typically used in Google searches for chocolate cake recipes, baking instructions, and frosting.

Long tail keywords might be more descriptive and include words that help the search engine understand the topic of your content.

You can use long tail keywords in the content at various places:

  • Use them in the content to bring readers closer to their search intent.
  • Long tail works best when they are used in the heading tags.
  • Furthermore, long tail keywords can be used in the image alt tags.

Long tail keywords can also be used at various places, such as in the anchor texts, meta tags, or header tags.

Which is more recommended to use: LSI or Long tail keywords?

In our opinion, both of these types of LSI and Long tail are important to use.

While LSI keywords are best for targeting specific niche markets, long tail keywords create content close to the buyer's intent. Long tail keywords are best for broad-based product/service categories and more recommended to use if you intend to sell your services.

Similarly, LSI keywords are recommended to use if you are targeting a particular market. LSI keywords can be used to describe your product or service in terms of its nature, characteristics, and functions.

Why Is It Better To Optimize the Topic Instead of Targeting Specific Keywords?

Using your best keywords is still a core component of good web page SEO, primarily when supported with LSI. It helps Google to know the relationships between elements of your text.

The topic of your content will always be the same, whether you are targeting specific keywords or keyword phrases.

Improving keyword optimisation using LSI and Long-tail keywords might make you more visible to people searching for specific things you have written about on the Internet.

When your website is optimised for a specific keyword, you might be showing up in search results for that keyword or its synonym. However, when you have used various related words and phrases like "how," "when," and "where," the content becomes clear and relevant to the readers.

LSI and long tail keywords together help with the following:

  • Remove ambiguity and homonyms: Since you can use longtail keywords in various places of your text, it is easier to avoid ambiguity and homonyms. For example, if your content is around Python, LSI will make it even more clear if the content is about programming language or the snake.
  • Create more relevant content: LSI keywords make it easier for Google to understand what you are trying to say. If your content is about "how to fix a flat tire," then using longtail keywords like "fixing flats" will make the text more relevant and meaningful.


Long Tailed and LSI keywords are an essential part of any SEO strategy. They are the backbone for on-page SEO, which plays an integral role in increasing website traffic. The key to success lies in having both long tail and LSI keywords together in the content.

Using both of them can create unique and compelling content for the search engines and your audiences.

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