Keywords Versus Keyphrases: What You Should Know
Navigating the internet without context would be nearly impossible. In the earliest days of the internet, people found information through unusually crude methods, but the advent of search engines helped transform how people use the internet in every facet of life. Search engines, in essence, take specific commands and queries, and then render results to users based on what the users most likely want.
This has been an evolving process for some time – and search engines are quite good at displaying the right information today – but context is still crucial. Through keywords and phrases, search engines gather meaning and understanding. Today, let’s look at the difference between keywords and keyphrases, explaining what you should know about each.
How Keywords Are Defined
You’ve certainly already heard of keywords, but how exactly are they defined? In short, keywords are simple words that help provide search engines with context about your content and website. For example, a keyword for a sports website could be “football” or “basketball”. These keywords, when combined, can help provide a bigger picture about your website and its offerings. By pinging search engines with these keywords across dozens or even hundreds of pages, they can properly decide the validity and authority of your content.
How Keyphrases Are Defined
Keyphrases are a bit different than keywords, in more than one way. You may have heard of long-tail keywords; in many ways, this is the same thing as keyphrases. This type of indicator involves multiple words and/or keywords, and provides more specific information about the content you’re publishing.
Another way in which keyphrases can be defined are the search engine results page that you want your content to appear in via search results. Keeping with the example from above, the same sports size might decide to target “when are the NCAA championships?” or “2019 US football schedule”. As such, keyphrases are essentially long-term descriptors that help narrow down and focus where your content appears in search.
How to Choose and Use
There are some ways in which keywords and keyphrases are only differentiated by how many words are in them. Single keywords can also be highly-coveted SERPs; however, only the most powerful brands within a given niche have any chance of ranking for them. Likewise, keyphrases can provide contextual information as a whole in the same way that keywords do.
Regardless of whatever you’re pinging search engines with, a combination of both variants is useful. Many choose to utilize keyphrases particularly when targeting less contested search engine results pages, making it easier to reach select audiences. Keywords can also enhance this process as well, even if they won’t lead to ranking prominently for single-word SERPs.
Ultimately, both keywords and keyphrases provide search engines with meaningful information about your website and content, thereby justifying the use of both concurrently.
Without keyword and keyphrases, content could not be indexed and ranked properly. Even when not intentionally done, search engines examine content to deduce meaning. By using a healthy and non-spammy combination of both keyword and keyphrases, you can better classify your pages and ensure search engines are maximizing the visibility and reach of your content.