Latent Semantic Indexing Takes Co-Citation Techniques to the Next Level

“True” co-citation is a narrowly-defined process that you can use to draw unique readers and potential customers to your organization’s website. As long as you can develop connections between your organization and other high-quality sources (who also are involved in quality inter-connected networks) of online content, you’ll boost your page rankings and ultimately increase your site traffic and customer / lead base.


Thanks to the all-important “transitive property of co-citation“, you’ll even be rewarded for indirect associations with authoritative or well-trafficked content providers. If the sites that link to yours also provide connections to these respected sources of information, your organization will appear more impressive to the Search Engines by default.

The Next Step

True co-citation provides strategic SEOs with a realistic, intuitive framework that can help boost site traffic and grow a clients customer base. However, there’s an equally powerful force that can piggyback on the ongoing success of a well-run co-citation campaign and maximize its rank-boosting effects.

Known as “LSI” (Latent Semantic Indexing) or “co-occurrence“, takes advantage of some relatively recent changes to the algorithms that drive Google’s search rankings. If you’re not familiar with this concept, you’ll want to take a moment to become acquainted with it. LSI is already an important component of search engines’ ranking and filtering processes (not to mention it’s insanely cool). As time goes on, it’s likely to play a crucial role in the success of your organization’s online presence.

How It Works

LSI uses the inherent similarities between related terms to construct a fuller picture of the meaning of the text in which they’re embedded. Although this concept has many other uses outside of the SEO world, it has found a second life as a means of increasing the relevance of the hits returned by a given search query. While the mathematics of LSI are rather complex, the technique is able to identify related terms (including industry specific terminology) that share space on a page with a target keyword. In plain English, this means that LSI is pretty adept at figuring out whether the content on your site makes any “sense” at all.

In this case, “related” terms don’t necessarily have to be synonyms. While you’re probably already using tangentially related, commonly searched variations of certain target keywords to increase your site’s KW relevancy at a page level, LSI adds another layer of sophistication to the process by which your site is ranked. In fact, these algorithms often catch synonyms as well as words that flow naturally together in a sentence.

For instance, a well-written primer on a target keyword like “chimpanzees” might also rank high on searches for terms like “primate,” “gorilla” and “ape.” This arrangement rewards coherent pieces of content.

Why It Matters

Along with increasingly sophisticated “true” co-citation methods that reward sites for associating with high-quality, “authoritative” sources of content, Latent Semantic Indexing represents a major evolution in the ranking models used by Google and other mainstream search engines.

The concept behind this change is simple. These days, search engines are fully committed to rewarding site administrators for the overall quality of their online “product” (content). In this sense, co-citation and LSI are complementary.

Whereas co-citation only indirectly measures the relevance of a given organization’s Web presence by assessing the quality of the other sites with which it’s associated, LSI provides a more frank analysis of its usefulness for typical searchers. This creates a more organic surfing experience for readers and potential customers.

Once these folks find their way to your site, they’ll spend more time there and be more likely to recommend your organization to their friends and coworkers. While they’re at it, they might even buy something, generate a lead or subscribe to your newsletter.

If you’re committed to creating quality content and forging mutually-beneficial associations with other quality sites that serve the best interests of your site visitor and industry, you stand to reap massive benefits by understanding “true” co-citation and LSI. While it’s impossible to predict exactly what future search algorithm tweaks will favor but it seems clear that content-focused search rankings driven by on-site and in-line content “signals” are here to stay.