What Is a Search Term?

We all enter hundreds of words into Google, Bing, Yahoo!, or other favorite search engines every day to find what we need. Since there are many more web pages compared to the past, you may have a little more trouble finding exactly what you’re looking for. Well, you may be wondering, “What are you going to overcome such a problem? This is where search terms come into play. If you want to learn much more about them, you’ve come to the right place! In today’s post, we will discuss them and teach why they are so important. In addition, we will explain to you the difference between a search term and a keyword. At the end of our guide, there are examples to help you understand them a little better. Let’s dive in!

What Is a Search Term?

The definition of a search term or a search query is pretty simple. It is a word or combination of words that an internet user types into the search box of any search engine. These can be a single word, such as [coffee], or a group of words, such as [automatic coffee grinder]. Let’s try to dig into that a little bit more.

When you submit a search query, search engines display their search engine results pages (SERPs), including organic and paid searches. In this case, the result pages can be very generic or very specific, depending on the word or phrase you type. Let’s give a quick example. [computer games] is a broader term, while [call of duty] is a narrower term for gamers.

Here is another example of search queries. [the best manual coffee grinder] is a specific phrase that tells exactly what the person wants to learn. On the other side, when a user types [coffee beans] into Google, there will be dozens of different results.

Why Is a Search Term Important?

Now, the key questions are “How do search engines work?” and “Why are these important? It’s straightforward to understand. You know what you want to learn, but Google, Bing, or others don’t. How are you going to tell your favorite search engine what you are searching for? Search queries allow search engines to guess your search intent, so they can serve the right result pages and provide the valuable information you need.

Let’s remember our coffee examples. Suppose that you type [coffee beans] into Google. What do you want to learn? Do you want to learn Arabica or robusta coffee beans? Or do you want to learn about top coffee-producing countries like Colombia, Ethiopia, or Indonesia? At this point, you should write Google search terms as a clue to determine what you want to learn. 

search terms vs keywords

Search Terms vs. Keywords

You may want to learn the difference between a search term and a keyword, if any. Most people say these are the same things, but it isn’t true. Let’s try to explain it to you.

As we touched above, a search query is anything you type into the search box of search engines to find something specific or describe a topic you want to learn about. On the other hand, keywords are particular words search engines consider to crawl and index web pages in their search result pages. 

Of course, there is a common point between these two terms. Well, what is this? A search query generally matches search engine algorithms and helps them understand what their users are actually looking for. Since you have a chance to turn the right search queries into keywords, your ads will be able to target the right group of customers.

Firstly, let’s try to understand the significant difference a little better with a simple example. 

search term examples

Search term examples:

  • [blue super skinny jeans]
  • [super skinny jeans for women]
  • [women super skinny jeans]
  • [size 28 super skinny jeans]
  • [best black super skinny jeans for women]
keyword examples

Keyword examples:

  • Women jeans
  • Super skinny jeans

Search Terms In Short

We are all using search terms to find something specific or describe a topic that we want to get information about. Today, we’ve discussed “What are search terms?” and explained their importance for search engines to crawl and index web pages in their results. So, shortly, use SEO search terms for better ranking. Before we finish our guide, let’s not forget one more pretty important thing; a search query is not the same as a keyword. To sum up, the difference is based on who uses the word. It’s that easy!

Frequently Asked Questions About

A search term or a search query can be defined as a word or phrase typed by users to find something specific. 

Search queries are what you enter into search engines to find what you want to learn. On the other side, keywords are words that you target with your products or services if you run an e-commerce business. 

If an ordinary user uses the word to find information, it is a search query. However, it is a keyword if a business owner uses the word to target a specific group of people or be ranked higher in search results.

You can use Google’s Search Terms Report to find a new search query that a significant number of users have used, and you can add them to your business keyword list.

Well, most search engines help their users find what they are actually looking for. When users start typing a search term, the automated systems display often-used predictions or suggestions.

Ayşenur Tekin
Ayşenur Tekin

Posts: 143

After graduating from Istanbul Aydin University, English Translation, and Interpreting department, Ayşenur Tekin is interested in writing and editing articles. She started her master's degree in New Media (at IAU) and started to gain knowledge in the fields of digital marketing and SEO. She is cur... Read More
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1 Comment

  1. Jaydon Mayer
    Jaydon Mayer

    Interesting topic! Search terms are an important part of SEO, as they help improve visibility and rankings. However, it’s important to use the right ones to ensure maximum success. My suggestion is to research and select keywords that are relevant to your target audience.