Is LSI Dead?

A few years ago, search engine forums were buzzing about a series of Google patents that threatened the work of SEOs around the world. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) was supposed to change the landscape of SEO by distinguising the theme of a website, and discounting links on those sites that don’t fit with the theme.

In short, if a sports betting company bought links from a PR6 site that dealt with weight loss, those links would hold no value to Google. (And could possibly harm you!)

No one knew WHEN LSI would take effect, but you didn’t want to get caught when it happened. So people started pulling their non-relevant links, and started advertising on sites within their niche.

Now here’s the kicker. According to Leslie Rohde (of StomperNet), LSI never happened! It’s something I wondered about for awhile now.. I often see a site end up in the #1 spot on Google, yet their backlinks are all sitewides from websites that have NOTHING to do with their particular niche.

In fact, I even reported one such blatent manipulation to Google – Yet 6+ months later, that site is still dominating the rankings with those same sitewide links!

Leslie instead encourages you to focus on what he calls “Referential Integrity”.. Some SEOs might consider this the same as pagerank sculpting, siloing, etc. But the focus is on building links to other pages within your site, and being conscious of the anchor text you use to link to these other pages. It’ll help Google better understand the topic of those pages, and help you rank better for your keywords.

Use this information at your own risk. I plan on purchasing some low-cost non-relevant links from other sites, and will conduct my own experiments on some dormant domains I have lying around. It should be interesting to see how it works!


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