Keywords v keyphrases: what is the difference?

If you’ve looked into doing your own SEO for your business, you’ll have probably come across keyword research. And you’ll probably know that is is an essential first step if you want your site to rank well in Google and other search engines.

If you’ve learned about keyword research then you’ll probably have come across keywords and keyphrases. And you may be wondering what the difference is between the two. Can keywords only be one word? Should you focus on a phrase instead? What’s the best way to get customers to find your business on Google?

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the basics of keyword research and explain the difference between a keyword and a keyphrase so that you can optimize your website properly.


What’s a keyword?

A keyword is a single word that best describes what your page or blog post is about. This is the core search term that you would want a single page to rank for. The idea is that when people search that word they should have a chance of finding your page.

For example, if you have a clothes store, a keyword might be “dress” for your dresses page or “handbags” for your page about handbags.


So what’s a keyphrase?

A keyphrase is a bit more detailed than a keyword. This is the phrase that you would ideally want your page to rank for. When people search for this phrase they should be able to find your page (depending on how competitive the phrase is, of course).

Taking the same example as above. The keyphrase for your dresses page might be “dresses for sale in Phoenix” and the keyphrase for the handbag page might be “handbags for sale in Phoenix”.


So what’s the difference then?

The difference is as simple as it seems. Both describe what the page is about and can be used to rank in Google. Keywords are just single words while keyphrases are multiple words.


How do keyphrases differ to long tail keywords?

At the point, you might be wondering how keyphrases differ from long tail keywords. The answer is in their specificity. Long tail keywords will almost always contain more than one word, just like keyphrases and they will always be super specific. For example, a longtail keyword could be something like “Vintage dresses for sale in Phoenix”, but it could also be a very specific single word phrase that few people search for.

Keyphrases have to contain more than one but they don’t have to be as specific as long tail keywords. “Dresses for sale” and “Red summer dresses for sale” are both keyphrases but the second is much more specific than the first.


Get help with your keywords

Confused? We hope not, but keyword research can be a tricky topic. Nevertheless, it’s important to get it right. That’s why we always recommend working with an SEO expert if you’re ever stuck. It’s far better to get professional help that to try and make it work on your own. Get in touch for a free quote today.