What are Search Terms?

What are Search Terms?

What are Search Terms?

The definition of a search term (or search query) is straightforward. A search term is a single word or multiple words (search phrase), a user types into the search box of a search engine. Search engines such as Google, interpret the search terms to understand the intent of the user and return the most relevant results.

Examples of Search Terms:

A single word search term: laptops – The user intends to find more information about ‘laptops’.

Search phrase (multiple words): [How to select the right laptop] – User is looking for instructions on how to select a laptop!

Here is another example of a search query: [buy white i7 1TB laptop for gaming] – The user intent is very specific. He is looking to buy a white coloured gaming laptop.

Difference between a search term and a keyword

If you are familiar with the SEO basics, you might start thinking “Are search terms the same as keywords?”. Some people will say it’s the same thing but in reality, there is a small difference.

A search term is anything that users type in the search box while keywords are what the search engines have in their index.

During the crawling and indexing phase, search engines crawl a page and extract the keywords the website is associated with and this is how it is stored in their index.

During the ranking process, they take the search query and break it down into several keywords and then look into their index to find matching pages.

In many cases, these two (search terms and keywords) are a perfect match while in some cases, search engine algorithms using the help of machine learning, will try and figure out what the user is looking for.

In both cases, Google will answer the search query using the best possible results because they have sophisticated ranking algorithms that can extract the user intent from whatever the user types in the search box.

Why are search terms important for search engine marketing?

All search engine marketing campaigns are based around search terms or keywords.

Knowing what users type in a search engine’s search box, will help you adjust your campaigns to satisfy their intent.

Let’s see what happens when someone enters a search query on Google.

As soon as you type a query and click search, Google will show you a set of results that are more likely to satisfy your intent.

The results can be classified into two main categories, paid results (Google Ads) and Organic results (also known as SEO results).

The paid Ads are mostly shown on top and below the results, and in-between Google shows the organic results.

In the majority of cases, many ads compete for one of the top positions and hundreds of web pages competing for a position on the first page of the results.

How do I find Search Terms?

It is estimated that more than 6 Billion searches are conducted every single day on Google!

What is more interesting is that 15% of those searches are new. This means that 15% of the search terms typed per day on Google have never used before.

There are several tools you can use to find out what these search terms are, to optimize your paid and organic campaigns.

Google Search

When you start typing a search term on Google it gives you instant suggestions on what other people have searched related to that term.

Within the Google search results, you can also see the ‘People Also Ask’ section and ‘Related Searches’ sections.

This is the easiest and fastest way to find out keywords related to your search terms.

Google Trends

Google trends is a free tool by Google which allows you to enter a search term and see what people are searching for related to that term.

You also get information on trending searches and popular searches grouped by year, country and topics.

Google Keyword Tool

The Google keyword tool is another free tool by Google that allows you to enter a search term and see the related keywords.

For each keyword, you can see the search volume per month, keyword competition and other useful information.

Hope you found the article knowledgeable.

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