Search term, also called search Query is a marketing term for 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.
Search Terms Examples
Here are some examples of search terms:
A single word search term: [morning dough] – The intent of the user is to find more information about ‘morning dough’.
Search phrase (multiple words): [How to tie a tie] – User is looking for instructions on how to tie a tie!
Here is another example of a search query: [buy white running shoes men] – The user intent is very specific. He is looking to buy white shoes for running.
What is the 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 is what search engines have in their index.
During the crawling and indexing phase, search engines crawl a page and extract the keywords it 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 a number of 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.