Keywords vs Search Terms

As a business that advertises through PPC, you may have heard the terms “keywords” and “search terms.” But what’s the difference between them?

Understanding the differences between keywords and search terms is important in order to develop effective campaigns on Google Ads. Let’s break it down.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are words or phrases that are used to match your ads with what people are searching for. It’s important to choose keywords that align with your business goals. For example, if you’re a yoga instructor looking to drive class sign-ups, some of the keywords you choose might be “yoga classes near me,” or keywords like “online yoga teacher.”

These are the words that Google uses when matching your ads with searches relevant to your business. Through keyword research, you can learn which terms people use when they search for products or services related to yours, enabling you to create more targeted campaigns and get better results from your ad spend.

input keywords in Google Ads


Once you’ve chosen your keywords, monitoring their performance helps you understand which ones are driving conversions and which might need to be refined or replaced with new ones as trends shift over time.

What Are Search Terms?

Search terms or search queries are the actual words or phrases typed into Google by your potential customer base. They tell us exactly what someone was looking for when they saw our ad and clicked on it.

It is also possible that a user’s search term may contain different words than our chosen keyword—for example, a user may type in “pilates classes near me” while our keyword was “yoga classes near me.”

This is why it’s so important to monitor our search terms regularly—it allows us to see how users are actually interacting with our ads and identify opportunities for improvement or expansion of our campaigns.

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