Will an expanded Latent Semantic Indexing negatively affect previously well-ranking se
Will an expanded LSI, which leads to lower overall CTR, negatively affect previously well-ranking search terms?
Many of my clients are seeing a much higher level of impressions in GSC (Google Search Console) once I've optimised the copy on their pages to include more LSI words.
(Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a system search engines use to analyze the other words people use surrounding a given topic.)
However, this has apparently caused a drop in their overall CTR (click thru rate), which seems logical due to the fact that Google has associated the pages with many more query phrases.
Obviously, getting an impression is no good without a click. But because low CTR has been discussed as cause for SEO issues, I'm wondering, will this drop in overall CTR negatively effect the rankings of the terms the site has already gained?
Statistically speaking, the results you describe are all understandable and even expected. The REAL question is, how did this affect overall traffic / site visits from Google? Did it increase or decrease with the changes?
If these changes hurt your overall traffic levels then it might be a problem. We also recommend that you look at your bounce rates to see if they increased or decreased.
Typically speaking, ranking for a larger number of keywords will increase bounce rates as some of the keywords may not be as on topic due to the fuzzy line between the number of keywords you're attempting to rank for vs. how well-targeted the traffic you're receiving is — and how well it converts into a sale/lead.
In general, we wouldn't worry about a drop in overall CTR as that would be a normal result for doing what you've done. However, the result you're ultimately looking for is better traffic numbers so if that's what you're seeing then you are on the right track.
In regards to page quality SEO and keeping Google happy; if you've really hurt your bounce rate after this change, we'd be tempted to roll back the use of extra keywords a bit.