Sep 26, 2023

Keyphrases and Keywords: What Are The Key Differences?

Suman Samal, Asst. Marketing Manager
Suman Samal
Keyphrases and Keywords: What Are The Key Differences?
Suman Samal, Asst. Marketing Manager
Suman Samal
Sep 26, 2023

Keyphrases and Keywords: What Are The Key Differences?

Learn about the key differences between keyphrases and keywords. Also, uncover how to find SEO-focused key phrases to boost your rankings.
Keyphrases and Keywords: What Are The Key Differences?

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Do you think keyphrases and keywords are synonyms that mean the same thing?

If you are confused, this blog is just for you. This blog post will cover the differences between these two and how you can find SEO-focused keyphrases. So, let's get started!

What is the meaning of keywords?

Keywords are single words or short phrases that succinctly represent the main topic or focus of a webpage or content. Users enter these specific search terms into search engines when looking for information, products, or services online. For example, if someone is searching for "best smartphones," the keywords in this query would be "best" and "smartphones."

What is meant by keyphrases?

Keyphrases, or long-tail keywords, are longer and more specific phrases typically consisting of three or more words. Unlike single-word keywords, keyphrases provide a more refined search intent and reflect the user's specific query. A focus keyphrase example is "best budget-friendly smartphones with high-quality cameras." There are many long-tail keyword research tools that can help you find relevant keyphrases for your business. 

What are the main differences between keywords and keyphrases?

Here are some of the main differences between keywords and keyphrases:

1. Length

Keywords: Generally, keywords consist of one or two words, which sometimes can be slightly longer.

Keyphrases: Keyphrases are typically longer, comprising three to five words, although they can sometimes be even longer.

2. Specificity

Keywords: Keywords may have broader meanings and can cover a more comprehensive range of topics.

Keyphrases: Keyphrases are more specific and provide a more precise context and intent behind the user's search.

3. User Intent

Keywords: Users searching with single-word keywords may have more general intent and could be in the early stages of research.

Keyphrases: Users searching with keyphrases demonstrate more specific user intent and are often closer to deciding or seeking detailed information.

4. Search Volume

Keywords: Single-word keywords tend to have higher search volumes, as a more extensive audience commonly uses them. 

Keyphrases: Keyphrases may have lower search volumes but can be highly valuable in targeting niche audiences and capturing users with high intent.

You can use keyword search volume checkers to find relevant keywords and key phrases with high search volume. 

5. Competition

Keywords: Keywords are often highly competitive, as many websites and businesses target them for SEO.

Keyphrases: Keyphrases usually face less competition, making ranking higher in search results for specific long-tail queries relatively easier.

Keyword difficulty checkers can help you find low-competition keywords and key phrases.

6. User Experience

Keywords: Since keywords are shorter, they are easier to remember and type, providing a more seamless user experience.

Keyphrases: Longer keyphrases may be more challenging for users to remember and type accurately, potentially affecting user experience.

7. Voice Search

Keywords: With the rise of voice search, single-word keywords may be used in voice queries.

Keyphrases: Keyphrases align well with natural language queries used in voice search, making them more suitable for voice optimization.

8. Content Relevance

Keywords: Keywords provide a broader focus, and content optimized for single-word keywords might be relevant to various related topics.

Keyphrases: Keyphrases demand more specific and targeted content, ensuring high relevance to users' search queries.

9. Conversion Potential

Keywords: Single-word keywords may attract a more extensive traffic volume but may not convert as well due to their less specific nature.

Keyphrases: Keyphrases, with their higher intent and specificity, often have higher conversion potential as they attract users closer to the decision-making stage.

10. SEO Strategy

Keywords: Focus keywords are essential for broader visibility and attracting a wide audience.

Keyphrases: Keyphrases complement the SEO (search engine optimization) strategy by targeting niche audiences, capturing high-intent users, and improving the overall relevance of website content.

What is the correct length for a key phrase?

The right length for a key phrase can vary depending on the context, industry, and digital marketing strategy. A key phrase should be composed of three to five words, but it can sometimes be longer. The key is to balance being specific enough to target a particular audience and search intent while avoiding excessive length that may make it cumbersome or less likely to be searched for.

Here are some considerations when determining the ideal length of a keyphrase for SEO purposes:

Specificity: A good keyphrase should be specific enough to reflect the user's search intent accurately. Longer keyphrases often provide more context, allowing you to target a more specific audience.

Search Volume: When conducting keyword research, consider the search volume for your key phrases. Longer keyphrases may have a lower search volume but can be less competitive. It's essential to find a balance between relevance and potential traffic.

Natural Language: With the rise of voice search and natural language processing, people increasingly use conversational language when searching. Longer keyphrases often mimic natural language queries, making them more suitable for voice search optimization. For example, while planning SEO for a Healthcare website, you must remember that users tend to search for words like "signs of pregnancy," "how to get rid of belly fat," etc. They don't search for terms like "pregnancy" or "belly fat." Therefore, it is better to target meaningful keyphrases.

User Intent: Understand the intent behind the keyphrase and how well it aligns with your content or business goals. Longer key phrases tend to indicate more specific intent, which can lead to higher conversion rates for users searching with those phrases.

User Experience: Keep the user experience in mind. While longer keyphrases can be more specific, they should also be easy to remember and type. Extremely long keyphrases might deter users from searching for them or typing them into search engines.

Competitiveness: Shorter keyphrases are often more competitive, as many websites may be targeting them. Longer keyphrases might have less competition, making ranking higher in search results for those specific queries easier.

Ultimately, there's no hard and fast rule for the exact length of a key phrase. Focusing on relevance, user intent, and how well the keyphrase aligns with your content and target audience is more important. Conduct thorough keyword research to identify keyphrases that strike the right balance between specificity and search volume and ensure they align with your overall SEO strategy.

Importance of Keyphrases in SEO:

Keyphrases play a crucial role in SEO for several reasons:

Targeting Niche Audiences: Keyphrases help you reach niche audiences and target specific user queries. Users who search with long-tail keyphrases tend to have a higher level of intent and are more likely to convert into customers.

Lower Competition: Single-word keywords can be highly competitive, making it challenging to rank for them. By targeting long-tail keyphrases, you can often face less competition and achieve higher rankings in search results.

Increased Relevance: Keyphrases allow you to create content that directly addresses users' specific queries, providing more relevant information and enhancing user satisfaction.

Voice Search and Natural Language Queries: As voice search becomes more popular, people use conversational language. Keyphrases that match these natural language queries increase the likelihood of your content appearing in voice search results.

How to find the most relevant SEO focus keyphrase?

Finding long-tail keywords with low competition involves thorough keyword research and analysis. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it for best results:

1. Understand Your Target Audience

Begin by understanding your target audience, their needs, and their search intent. Put yourself in their shoes and think about the phrases they would use to find products or services related to your business.

2. Brainstorm Relevant Terms

Start with a brainstorming session to generate a list of relevant keywords and key phrases related to your business. Include general and specific long-tail keywords that align with your products or services.

3. Competitor Analysis

Research your competitors and analyze the keywords they are targeting. Use competitor rank tracker tools to identify how your competitors are ranking for specific keywords.

4. Use Keyword Research Tools

Use keyword research tools to expand your list and find relevant keywords with search volume and potential. Some popular keyword research tools include Scalenut Keyword Planner, Google Keyword Planner, etc.

Keyword Planner tool helps find relevant keywords and clusters.

5. Evaluate Search Volume and Competition

Analyze the search volume and competition for each key phrase. High search volume indicates a popular keyword but also more competition. Consider targeting a mix of high and low-volume keywords to strike a balance.

6. Use Google Search

Manually type your potential keyphrases into Google's search bar and analyze the search results. Observe the types of content ranking for those keyphrases and whether they align with your business goals.

7. User Intent Matters

Focus on keyphrases that match the intent of your target audience. If a keyphrase implies transactional intent (e.g., "buy," "price," "best"), it could attract users ready to make a purchase.

8. Test and Monitor

Once you've chosen a set of keyphrases to target, create content optimized for those keyphrases. Monitor your website's performance, traffic, and rankings regularly through on-page SEO tools to see how well your chosen keyphrases are performing. Adjust your strategy as needed based on the results.

Remember that your business's most relevant and best keyphrase may evolve, so it's crucial to continuously assess and refine your SEO strategy to stay competitive and relevant in your industry.


Keywords and keyphrases are vital components of effective SEO strategies. While keywords provide a broad understanding of the content's focus, keyphrases offer a more targeted approach, catering to specific user intent and improving the overall relevance of your content. You can use Scalenut’s AI Keyword Research Tool to grow website traffic with relevant keyphrases and keywords.

By striking the right balance between utilizing relevant keywords and key phrases, you can enhance your website's visibility, attract quality traffic, and ultimately achieve higher rankings in search engine results. Remember to regularly conduct keyword research and stay up-to-date with user search trends to ensure your content remains optimized for success in the dynamic world of SEO.


What is the best key phrase for my business?

The best keyphrase for your business is one that aligns with your target audience's search intent and reflects the products or services you offer. Conduct thorough research to identify keyphrases with a balance of relevance, search volume, and competition that are most likely to attract high-quality traffic and potential customers. Consider using keyphrases that target specific user queries and indicate higher intent, often leading to better conversion rates. Scalenut offers a Keyword Planner tool that helps you plan keywords and keyphrases easily and quickly.

Which keyword tools should I use to find profitable keywords?

There are several long-tail keyword research tools available that can help you find profitable keywords for your business. You can also use Scalenut's Free Long Tail Keyword Generator to generate keyphrases.

What are the best practices for using keyphrases?

Here are some of the best practices for optimizing on-page SEO through keyphrases:

  • Choose key phrases highly relevant to your content and align them with your target audience's search intent to attract the right visitors.
  • Incorporate primary and additional keyphrases seamlessly into the content of your page, ensuring it flows naturally and provides value to readers.
  • Use the primary keyphrase in your page title, meta description, headings, URL, and throughout the content, but avoid overstuffing to maintain readability and avoid penalties.
  • Continuously monitor and analyze the performance of keyphrases and update your strategy based on changes in search trends and user behavior. Also, check that you don't target the same focus keyphrase field on two or more pages to avoid keyword cannibalization.

About Scalenut

Scalenut is an AI-powered SEO and content marketing platform to help you find, plan, analyze, and track keywords and key phrases. Whether you need assistance with content strategy, keyword planning, content creation, or optimizing for on-page SEO, Scalenut streamlines the entire process for you. Experience the ease and efficiency of our tools by creating a free account today and exploring its myriad of features. 

Suman Samal
Asst. Marketing Manager
ABout the AUTHOR
Suman Samal
Asst. Marketing Manager

Suman Samal is a Asst. Marketing Manager at Scalenut. She is a technology enthusiast with a keen interest in content marketing and SEO. She truly believes that with the right set of tools every organization can improve the ROI of their content marketing campaigns. She spends her time managing content operations at Scalenut and ensuring that everything we publish is of the highest quality.

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