Search Query vs. Keywords in SEO

Tati Khumairoh

Tati Khumairoh

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illustration of search query in the search engine

Table Of Contents

    Search queries and keywords, while closely related, serve distinct roles in the realm of SEO. The confusion between these two terms often arises because they are used in conjunction, but it's important to understand their differences.

    In this article, we will dive into both terms to understand them more. It's a journey that will reveal how these two elements, seemingly similar but inherently different, shape the modern landscape of SEO, content creation, and the way we engage with the digital world.

    What is a Search Query?

    Search queries are the actual words or phrases that users enter into search engines when seeking information, products, or services. These queries are dynamic and can vary widely based on individual user intent and context.

    Search queries reflect the immediate, real-time needs of users. They are fluid and often conversational, reflecting the way people speak and ask questions. Search queries are the input from users that generate search engine results.

    This is the bridge between user intent and search results. Search engines analyze the search query to deliver the most relevant content to the user. They trigger search engine algorithms to determine which web pages are the best match for that query.

    For example, a user's search query might be "Where can I buy organic fertilizer near me?"—a specific question that reflects their intent and context.

    What is a Keyword?

    Keywords are specific words or phrases that website owners and SEO professionals target to rank for in search engine results. They are integral to on-page and off-page SEO efforts and are strategically chosen based on relevance to the content or products.

    These words serve as the foundation of SEO strategies. They are used to optimize content, meta tags, headings, and other on-page elements. Keywords help search engines understand the content's topic and context.

    Keywords are static elements that represent the core themes of a webpage. They are carefully researched and selected to align with user intent, making it easier for search engines to match content to relevant queries.

    In the context of an agriculture website, a keyword might be "organic fertilizer" if the website aims to rank for this specific product term.

    The Core Difference

    At the core of online search and SEO lies a crucial distinction: search queries originate from users, reflecting their real-time needs and intent, while keywords are carefully chosen by SEO specialists and webmasters to optimize web content for search engines.

    Often, people use "keywords" when referring to the words or phrases they want their web content to rank for. However, what they are essentially referring to are the keywords that are optimized on their web pages.

    Despite the distinction, the success of SEO efforts relies on effectively matching keywords with the search queries that users are likely to enter. Here is an example of both terms to give you a picture of how they differ.

    How to Use Search Query as A Keyword Strategy

    While keywords are the foundation of SEO strategies, search queries provide dynamic context and real-time insight into what users are actively looking for. 

    1. Discovering High-Value Pages

    Start by identifying the pages on your website that already rank well and attract substantial traffic. Use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to pinpoint these high-value pages.

    Next, analyze the search queries that bring users to these pages. Look for patterns and recurring keywords within these queries. Optimize the content on these high-value pages by incorporating the keywords and phrases derived from the top-performing search queries. This strategy can further boost their rankings and increase organic traffic.

    2. Searching for High-Value Queries

    With the search query, you can Pay special attention to long-tail keywords and specific questions that reflect user intent. These search queries often represent valuable, highly targeted opportunities.

    3. Using Google Autocomplete

    Utilize Google Autocomplete to your advantage. Start typing relevant keywords into the Google search bar, and take note of the suggestions that appear. These autocomplete suggestions are based on real user searches.

    These autocomplete suggestions can guide you in identifying popular search queries and topics that users are actively interested in. Craft content around the topics and queries that surface in Google Autocomplete, as this aligns with current user demand and search trends.

    4. Monitor Keywords

    To complete your keyword strategy, it is important to monitor your keywords regularly. This is to notice the different performance of those keywords and how they benefit your site. To do this, you will need a tool that can serve you with reliable data.

    In this case, use Sequence Stats that can serve you with daily keyword ranking. Then, add your keywords from your search query to the tool and let the system give you the data. 

    Picture 1 - Sequence Stats Rank Dashboard.

    Picture 1 - Sequence Stats Rank Dashboard.

    You are not only able to track keyword performance but also refine your strategy. This tool is able to serve you with keyword ideas, website stats, team collaboration, to the automated site audit for your site. 

    Thus, using this tool will offer benefits to your strategy. 


    Leveraging search queries to level up your keyword game not only optimize your content for search engines but also ensures that it resonates with the dynamic needs and intent of your audience. By using the above strategy, you can craft an SEO strategy that stays aligned with user demands and current search trends.

    The true power of search queries lies in their ability to bridge the gap between what users seek and what content creators offer. By paying attention to these user-initiated queries and incorporating them strategically into your keyword, you not only enhance your website's visibility but also ensure that your content remains relevant

    As you continue on your SEO journey, remember that search queries are not static; they are a reflection of the ever-changing digital landscape. Staying informed, adapting to emerging trends, and listening to user feedback will be your compass.

    Register to Sequence Stats to help you do better SEO tasks for your daily needs.