Aren’t all keywords the same? The difference in search terms

A few weeks ago we talked about the difference between SEO & AdWords.  In case you missed it, one is a technique designed to attract visitors to your website and the other is a platform used to sell. Both should combine the power of ‘keywords’ to generate traffic, however, all keywords are not created equal. They are not one and the same.

Now we are going to have a look at the difference between SEO and AdWords keywords.


SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, refers to the process of attracting online users to your website through natural search terms, or ‘keywords’ that clients use in their browser when searching for a product or service. Another way to look at it is, SEO tries to use the same words that people use to direct them to your site.

The better your SEO the higher Google will rank your site and the more visibility you will have online. The higher your website is ranked the more traffic you will attract. That’s what Google tells us anyway.

The vast number of websites and mountains of content generated each day online make it difficult for your business to be seen among all the ’wash’. With SEO and ‘keywords’ you can stand out from the rest and funnel potential customers to your business more effectively.  It’s a bit like have the correct address on your letters in the post.

When selecting keywords for your website, you have to think about what your clients are likely to type in for their search.  Knowing your client buyer process can really help with this and understanding their pain points can also help you when selecting keywords. Clients may not know the jargon or technical terms used in your industry so think about what they might call things.

The other considerations you need to think about are using long tail keywords v’s broad search terms.  The AdWords tool can help you determine the search volume for different search terms. Usually the more specific the term the lower the search volume.  Now some of you might be thinking well don’t I want higher search volume? The answer is yes, however, if your site doesn’t rank as well as a competitor who has a higher domain authority than your site, the search term might get washed up in the volume on page 5 or worse. Which means most people will miss seeing your site for that term.

Google AdWords

AdWords is an advertising platform designed for business’ who want to advertise their products and services on the Google search engine. Designed for advertising campaigns, AdWords applies user defined ‘keywords’ to direct those searching for a particular phrase to your website.

With AdWords, you want to only attract those searching explicitly for your product or service. You pay for clicks, so you want to narrow your ‘keyword’ focus to be as specific as possible.

This is the difference between SEO and AdWords and the way they each use keywords. With SEO, you want your keywords to attract as many eyes as possible (within your target audience). With AdWords you only want to attract specific customers looking to buy after they search for a specific item or service.

While there is a difference between SEO and AdWords, and how they use keywords, the intent is the same. Attracting people to your business. Think of SEO as a browsing customer and AdWords as someone ready to buy, even though they could be doing both. The way you would talk to each would be different. The language, the keywords, need to be as well. Understand this and you are well on your way.

Managing your online marketing strategy which includes SEO and AdWords can be tricky.  Check out this eBook to find out the best online marketing strategies to use in the B2B space.

Kaylene Grieve

Kaylene Grieve is the Managing Director of Sales, SEO and Social Media, (SSSM) a marketing services agency based in Sydney Australia. With over 25+ years in Sales and 10+ years of marketing experience SSSM has helped numerous companies achieve tremendous results in sales and marketing. Knowing the right volumes and using a blend of inbound and outbound strategies always delivers sales and marketing qualified leads to a business with consistency.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This