Although it might sound unfamiliar but it is true that the words “Keyword” and “Query” have their own meanings and are distinct from each other. However, in everyday parlance this distinction is hardly visible as both the words are used interchangeably not only by the common man unfamiliar with SEO jargon but also by SEO professionals who are well experienced with day to day SEO activities.

In this blog we will try to differentiate between the two words.

What are the main differences?

A keyword is an exact word that website owners target in a paid search or organic search campaign. In other words keywords are used by marketers to associate with a product or a service that they are trying to market. In this way keywords define the strategy of an organization.

A query on the other hand is what a user types in a search engine. In other words a query comprises words that are actually written in the search engine window in order to achieve desired results. Since queries are spontaneous, sometimes they have spelling mistakes in them, but these spelling mistakes get picked up by Google that offers them results from alternative search queries.

How are keywords and queries used?

Keywords are used by marketers after doing extensive research and analysis of the competition and based on what they are trying to achieve. This is a planned activity.

On the other hand queries are used by users based on what they are searching for or what they need. This is a more spontaneous or natural activity.

How to benefit from the difference between keywords and queries?

– Experts suggest that webmasters should continue targeting keywords but broaden them into queries In other words webmasters should attempt to develop the content in such a way that the keyword is included in the query that the user will probably type in when he is browsing the internet.

– Webmasters should do research on queries to find keywords- Webmasters should access their accounts to analyze the traffic that is coming to their website. Google now provides access to this information and Webmasters simply need to “Search Traffic” and then “Search Queries”.

– Use of Google AutoComplete – This is very helpful because users need to write only a word as a part of their query and based on this word Google is able to do an AutoComplete – in other words Google is able to determine by its own algorithm the full search query. The algorithm on its own is governed by trends in latest search queries.


As a next step, experts suggest to carry out the following course of action as a takeaway:

– Webmasters should continue to target keywords but should broaden them based on their research done on queries.

– Webmasters should do an extensive research on search queries in order to find out the best keywords that could be used by them in a website.