Understanding Search Queries: Are They The Same As Keywords?

Understanding Search Queries: Are They The Same As Keywords?
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash


How to find the best Italian restaurant near me

What are the best schools in Washington, DC

Why are flights so expensive

If you use Google, Safari, DuckDuckGo, or Bing, you probably will relate to the above three search queries that I typed above. 

Did you know that there are approximately 5.6 billion search queries that are put into the Google search engine every single day?

The best part is that this number keeps rising as more and more people become aware of the existence of search engines and get access to internet connectivity. 

For marketers, this presents both an interesting dilemma, as well as an opportunity. 

Cracking search queries and keywords (from an SEO standpoint) means you are able to drive targeted traffic to the website. Getting it wrong means that you lose out on all the benefits that SEO brings. 

One of the most important clarifications that need to be made in this regard is the difference between search queries and keywords. 

What are Keywords, and why should you take them seriously?

Every digital marketer or SEO professional knows what keywords are. They are exact phrases or words that allow you to rank specific pages of your website (for products or services) on search engines. 

Let me try to give you an example. Say you are a business providing HVAC services in New York. The keywords that you would be targeting for your SEO campaigns would be- 

  • Air conditioner installation in New York City
  • Hvac repairs in NYC
  • Ac repair in NYC

Most SEO professionals would agree that finding these keywords can be done through SEO tools like AHREFS or SEMrush. These are the keywords that you want present in your website and build links around so that Google or any other search engine considers you the viable authority on them. 

What are Search Queries?

Search queries, on the other hand, are questions/words/texts/phrases that users put into search engines to get their queries answered. 

Let us look at it this way. If ten different users type in the same type of query but change a word here or there, they might get shown ten different results from search engines. This means that there are different types of search queries

Users are not known to follow the correct spelling or grammar when making search queries. This is why when you use a keyword research tool; you will often find proper nouns with small cases or grammatically incorrect phrases showing high search volumes. 

At the end of the day, it all boils down to who is using what. 

In other words, if a user is using the search engine to retrieve information, then their action is referred to as a search query. If a marketer is using an SEO tool to find ranking keywords that have search volume, then what they are looking for are keywords. 

Difference Between Search Queries and Keywords

Does your father know what focus keywords are? No, he doesn’t. Does he know that if he asks Siri or Google for an answer regarding what the price of a lawn mower is, he will get an answer; probably yes!

The key point that should be made apparently clear is the role of ‘intent’. In other words, user intent is important when you are looking to create SEO marketing campaigns. 

Different users use different search queries to probably get the same desired result. 

Let us try to once again explain this with the help of an example- 

  • Search queries- digital marketing agency, digital marketing professionals, digital marketing teams, digital marketing on Google, and digital marketing on social media
  • Focus Keyword- digital marketing

See what happened here. For marketers, the aim is to break down the search query and get to the root keyword. Once you have it, you can structure an SEO campaign around the same. 

It should also be pointed out that there is a trend of using the words search query and keyword interchangeably. While it is not technically or completely wrong, it is also not absolutely right. 

The Final Takeaway

Ranking on the first page of Google is what marketers dream of. Why wouldn’t they? It can result in a lot of targeted traffic, lead generation, and, ultimately, sales. 

However, search engines are evolving as we speak. User or search intent has become a very important phenomenon. Capturing the buyer at different stages of their journey can help you create successful campaigns for your brand. 

Search queries are, more often than not, longish sentences that are typed into or verbally spoken by individuals and fed into search engines. 

Keywords, on the other hand, are relatively short. You have focus keywords (one or two words) and long tail keywords (three or four words), but that is just about it. 

If you have any specific questions you would like us to address; please let us know in the comments section below.

The content published on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, health or other professional advice.

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