How to Use Synonyms in SEO

If you’re familiar with SEO or content writing in general, you’re probably familiar with the use of synonyms, but there are a lot of mixed messages out there when it comes to the use of them. You may read one thing in one article than a conflicting messaging in another article. Some SEO plugins will even recommend synonyms to you as well. No matter what you’ve read about the use of synonyms when it comes to SEO, we here to clear up some confusion.

Should You Use Synonyms for SEO?

The easy answer to these questions is a resounding yes, but you should take some things into consideration, though. You should only be using synonyms in places where they make sense with the natural flow of language on the page.

LSI Keywords

Latent semantic indexing or LSI is a natural language processing technique that was developed in the 80s. LSI keywords are words and phrases that are related to a topic. Many SEOs combine LSI keywords with synonyms when optimizing their website. This assumes that if, for example, you’re optimizing your website for “basketball news,” you’d include “sports” and “entertainment” along with “NBA”, “Lakers,” “Jordan” and other related terms. This certainly makes sense. However, Google doesn’t use LSI; it uses machine learning to determine if a page is relevant to a user’s search intent. If users bounce quickly from a page, it will be deprioritized in search rankings, and the same goes for when a large number of visitors reach a result and find what they’re looking for.

What Synonyms Mean for SEO

You want the use of synonyms and semantically related keywords to come naturally within your website’s content. Search engines like Google use information from users to determine the words that they value on the page. Be wary of over-optimizing, though, stuffing synonyms, and related keywords can actually hurt your website more than helping it.

When to Use Synonyms for SEO

It’s important to remember to only use synonyms when it makes sense to, don’t do too much. Use tools like Google Search Console and see if the data shows that users are searching for terms related to your primary keyword.

When Not to Use Synonyms for SEO

If your topic is very clear with few variations that users would be searching for, it doesn’t make sense to include tons of synonyms in your content. Words and phrases that are vague with multiple different meanings like “screen repair” (phone screen or door screen) may not have alternatives that mean the same thing. When it comes to your brand, you’ll want to stick to your key term and forget about synonyms to avoid confusion and build brand continuity.


When using synonyms, you’ll want to develop a well-thought-out strategy. Do your research and find synonyms that users are searching for in relation to your site and include them naturally in your content. Keep your content simple and digestible for readers because providing users with what they’re looking for will improve your SEO. Creating quality content can be tough on your own, though. Contact our team at Boston Web Marketing if you need help boosting your business’ SEO.

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