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Latent semantic indexing can help overcome "vocabulary mismatch" problem when a human uses a search engine. Individual words do not always provide reliable evidence about conceptual meaning of a document. For instance, a Web page that is highly relevant to term "laptop" may never use term "notebook," however it is clear to a human being that "notebook" is often used as a synonym for "laptop."
While it is beyond scope of this article to discuss mathematics behind LSI, its implications for search algorithms are simple. LSI can use statistical techniques to create a semantic analysis for any given query topic. In practice, this means that a page can be considered relevant for a particular keyword, even if it does not contain that keyword. For instance, a page that is considered relevant for "laptop" can also be considered relevant for "notebook" even if it does not contain word "notebook," if LSI determines that "notebook" is semantically related to "laptop."
The principle can be applied to backlinks as well. Backlinks with anchor text that do not contain your Web site's main keyword, but instead contain a synonym or related word, may still be giving your site a bonus for main keyword.
Link Popularity Building Best Practice: Vary Your Anchor Text
The recent increase in penalties given to sites with unnatural backlink anchor text, along with possible implementation of LSI, should give webmasters motivation to vary their backlink anchor text heavily. Rather than seeking to only obtain links using their main keyword, webmasters should include synonyms, variations and related words. Certainly no single keyword variation should be used majority of time; rather, text of all links should vary widely, just as they would if links were obtained passively. This will ensure a site's improvement in SERPs, without drawing a penalty flag.
Andy Hagans is a search engine optimization consultant who specializes in link popularity building and risk management. Visit http://www.andyhagans.com for more information. See http://www.andyhagans.com/link-building.php for more information on Mr. Hagans' link building services.