Search Terms and Keyword? What Is the Difference!

Advertising has changed a lot in the past few years; it’s no longer about paying upfront for your flyer or printable ad. Modern advertising relies primarily on the Pay per click advertising; you pay Google only if someone clicks on your ad and visits your website. The same goes for Google Ad words; the only difference is that you can see what people type to search and click for your ad. It let you see the exact terms that people search when they click on your ad.

These insights are huge. Why? Relevancy! In paid marketing, relevancy is the major factor; people click on those highly relevant ads as they get what they were looking for. This also means you get your clients through that ad, and Google gets its share. On the contrary, people who don’t click don’t find their ads relevant ads.

Relevancy is a must!

Minimize your ad relevance and create ads that can benefit your business; that’s when keywords and search terms come in. Failing to understand the power of these keywords, you will waste your budget on irrelevant things. Instead, optimize your advertising budget, spend money on high-quality keywords and generate more customers.

Keywords Vs. Search Terms: What Is The Difference?

A keyword is a relevant word or phrase that marketers target for paid and organic search campaigns. For instance, to win the ad for shoes, you need to add keyword phrases like ‘black Nike shoes’ or Nike’s black casual shoes.’ A keyword is what marketers and advertisers use as the main thing for a business; it defines the business’s overall strategy.

It can be anything from size to color, place, thing, or any person. When someone searches anything on Google, they mine the internet with entities, words, and combinations relating to that search. Google then looks at those words to ensure that they look for something relevant to the user’s intent.

Search Term Or Search Query:

A search term is the word of strings that the user types in the search box as a real application of the keywords. The search query could be misspelled, have other words tracked, may be out of order or identical to the keywords. It’s the simplest and most basic element of Google and could be anything that a user used to enter a product or service. As a search marketer, we often target keywords; the only difference is that,

  • In SEO, we target keywords by optimizing the on-page content. This means using the URLs, title tags, keywords, file name, Meta description, and more.
  • In PPC, we target keywords by bidding and using them in our landing pages and ads.

Search Query is the realistic term that people use to find the paid or organic search pages. This means if you bid on a keyword like ‘black jeans.’ Through your search query in Ads, you can see the queries people type in your ad, matching the query keywords. You will get results from the pages with women’s skinny jeans, dark skinny jeans, size zero skinny jeans, and so on.

Furthermore, the search query is larger than the set than the keywords; by just looking at the search query, you can find keywords to target in the search campaigns.

How To Use Search Term:

Use Google Search Keyword Search term report: One way you can discover the keywords is by using the Google keyword search term report. The search term report will have a list of people that are in the Search Network, and your ad will be shown and clicked. You will see keywords that match someone’s search term and trigger your ads in the table.

Expand Keywords In The Query:

We all know that keywords are the most important thing needed to start a campaign. Advertisers bid on these keywords to let users search and type them so that your ad gets triggered. This will lead to high clicks and conversions.

However, keywords are just 50% of the total work; they only show what you exactly want, not what the actual search engines want. That’s when search terms come in; you need to target a keyword by expanding them into a search query. For instance, if you target the keyword ‘New business,’ with one research, you will come to know that various other search queries surround this keyword. It can be

  • New business startup steps
  • New Business case studies
  • New Business blog
  • New business plan

The above keyword is easy to target and track as they include exact words and phrases. But, your ad might get low if someone didn’t search the above keywords. That’s why you need to think about search queries. Some relevant examples of search query related to the above keywords are

  • How to start a new business
  • Starting a new business online.
  • New business ideas
  • Online new business guide
  • Manage keywords on search term metrics

Using data and keyword research from the search term reports, you can make the changes n your keyword strategy. This will have a positive impact on your campaign performance. For instance:

Adding High-Quality Search Terms as the Main Keywords:

With the search queries, you can better idea which keywords you need to add to your SEO and PPC strategies. If you find any search query having keywords that you haven’t used or targeted, you can use those keywords in your content to get more traffic. You can optimize your keywords or can broad match them to show them in real searches and misspellings. Moreover, you can phrase match the keywords that let your ad appear at the top of searches.


The difference between a search query and search terms is quite subtle but very essential. Knowing how both work and how you can distinguish the two, how to use them and how you can correlate them will increase the chance of targeting the right audience. You can continue making relevance in the post by connecting your ads to the landing pages and the search queries.