Search Term – An all-important Guide

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There are fair chances that there are millions of queries typed or asked to a search engine every day. The users would know less what all goes behind to get them the right search results and also the importance of specific words used in those queries. So, gathering information on what all users search for on the internet is important for SEO. All the SEO efforts should be directed at targeting those specific words that rank high on the most searched list. These specific words are search terms and let us read further to understand this better.

What is a Search Term?

A search term is a word or phrase entered in a search engine or used in voice searches to search for something on the internet. This could be a single word or a phrase and depends on what the user wants to search. It could be a single word like a brand name (Samsung) or an app (Facebook) they want to research or login into. It could be something the user wants to learn (How to learn guitar?) or even want to consume (Where can I watch a movie? Or Where can I buy expensive clothes?). In each of these queries there is a unique phrase that becomes the search term. It is also important to note that every user can use different combinations of words to search for the same thing.

If the user does not get the desired content from one website, it is likely then that he will go back to the search results and navigate to another website. Note here that it is eminent for the website admin to optimize their web pages for specific terms that describes their product or business the best. This will ensure the right audience getting to your website.

The difference between Search term and Keywords

The search term and keywords could appear to be the same on the surface. But there is more effort involved in bringing out the keywords as compared to search terms. The search terms are the simple specific words that are used to search, hence it will be different for every user. One user can deem a certain word or phrase best to describe what he wants but that could be entirely different from what another user uses; even though both are looking for the same content. The keywords on the other hand should be used cleverly for SEO point of view. But in both the cases, it is best to think like the users and their search intent and strategies for SEO. If the search term contains the keywords, then there is greater SEO success for your web pages.

SEO with search terms

With the understanding of search terms now let us dive into how all this helps in SEO. Like said earlier, the search terms should contain the keywords that were strategized for your web pages.

Auto-complete and Advanced search

When a user enters the search query in a search engine, the auto-complete functionality gives various suggestions for the search, depending on the most-used search terms. Sometimes the search results can also contain the most popular related search queries too. All this can be used as a reference to start your SEO efforts.   Sometimes the users can use the advanced search options on the search engine to find results. In the advanced search, filters like location or the price range can be included. These should also go into your keyword strategy efforts.

Pay-per-click marketing

The search engines also have a paid search advertising strategy which may be referred to as pay-per-click. This is self-explanatory, meaning the advertiser pays the search engine when a user clicks through his ad. The search terms are bid for and paid, in the search campaigns to rank higher in the organic search results. The ad comes up in the search results based on the popularity of the search terms that are considered. For example, a popular clothing store can identify “dress” as a keyword and fix a bid for it. When a user, searches the term floral dress or summer dress as a query, the search engine runs an auction for all the bidders automatically and deems a winner. The winners of the auction get the top spots for their ad. Getting the top spot depends on the page authority and domain authority of the website. Together with quality search terms you bid for and the rich content provided in their website, the clothing store can win the advertising spot.


Search terms and keywords may seem simple and straight-forward to use at the beginning. But you will see that it is not so all the time. As we discussed, search terms are important both in paid and unpaid search. Research a list of keywords and search terms for your website thinking like a real user. The paid ads will push down the organic results, so consider that when you optimize for competitive keywords or search terms, which will mean harder work than usual.

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