Are SEO and Keywords The Same Thing? | What’s The Difference?

When it comes to SEO, many people think that keywords and SEO are one and the same.

While both SEO and keywords can help your website rank higher in search engine results pages, they are not exactly the same thing.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between SEO and keywords, as well as how you can use both to improve your website’s ranking.

What are SEO and keywords?

  1. What are SEO and keywords?
  2. What is the difference between SEO & keywords?
    1. SEO
    2. Keywords
  3. Are keywords part of SEO?
    1. What are examples of keywords?
  4. Are keywords important for SEO?
  5. Is SEO just about keywords?
    1. Keyword difficulty
    2. Intent of keywords
    3. Site structure and category pages
    4. Off-page SEO
  6. Conclusion

SEO and keywords go hand in hand when it comes to serving and finding new customers.

Search engine optimisation is the practice of optimising websites for search engines, which serve users by the queries or keywords that they use to find a service or answer to their query.

What is the difference between SEO & keywords?

Keywords are words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, whilst SEO is in relation to optimising your content for these particular queries.


Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of taking steps to help a website or piece of content rank higher on Google.  SEO is the key to improving your website traffic.

The best way for people to find and access online content, good SEO practices are essential in order to make sure that they’re being seen by as many users as possible on search engines.



The most important part of ranking on search engines is choosing the right keywords. Keywords are the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.”

These are words that people will use when searching for whatever it is you want them to find, and they determine how many organic visitors come from Google’s Result Pages.

ahrefs keyword research

Are keywords part of SEO?

Keywords are a huge part of SEO.

They are what help business owners understand what it is people are actively searching for.

Keywords were the primary means of communicating to search engines based on what topics you covered. Many years ago, websites could get away with stuffing content with keywords they wanted to rank for.

Over optimisation of meta keywords

Google’s various updates over the past few years have been specifically designed to better understand what people are searching for and which result is best suited for that particular query.

Now, there are so many more factors that go into ranking a website in Google as well as keyword optimisation. Getting each of these components right is vital in order to give websites the exposure they need.

What are examples of keywords?

In terms of keywords in relation to SEO, it essentially means any phrase that a user searches into Google that has a results page with website features listed.

If you were to search for example “seo expert london”, this would be the keyword that you look to rank your page for and the results are what shows as a result of the SEO work carried out.

seo expert london

Are keywords important for SEO?

When it comes to trying to rank for keywords and optimising website content around specific keywords, it is still one of the big ranking factors that determine how relevant a page is for a specific query.

However, so much more goes into just doing keyword research and using keyword stuffing as a way to rank for certain phrases.

Engagement is one of many ranking factors that determine how relevant a page is for a particular phrase. If your content is not relevant or reads poorly, this will lead to less engagement with your page.

Surfer SEO

There are a number of content writing tools as well as free and paid SEO tools such as Page Optimiser Pro and Surfer SEO that will give you recommendations as to what keywords you should include within a piece of content trying to rank or a particular phrase.

Keywords still remain an important part of any SEO strategy but are nothing without the sum of all of their parts.

Is SEO just about keywords?

SEO is not just about keywords. Whilst ranking for the relevant keywords that you wish to target is essential in getting in front of the right customers, SEO is so much more than just this.

Keyword difficulty

Keyword difficulty is a metric used to determine how difficult it is to rank for a keyword. Assessing keyword difficulty can help you decide whether or not your time and money will be worth investing in things such as links, content and everything else that goes into ranking for competitive keywords.

Intent of keywords

There are four types of keywords that you should be aware of when creating your online marketing strategy. They are as follows:

  • Informational keywords — users looking for an answer to a specific question or general information.
  • Navigational keywords — users intending to find a specific site or page.
  • Commercial keywords — users looking to investigate a brand or service.
  • Transactional keywords — users intending to buy something.

Site structure and category pages

Site structure is the foundation of a well-designed website. A site that is structured will rank higher in the search engines, and it’s easier to be intentional about your website design. Making your website easy to navigate will enhance the customer experience as well as make your pages easy to find when Google crawls your site.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO relates to all the activity that takes place away from your website, and it can have a big impact on where you rank on search engine results pages. This relates to things such as link building and social signals that help with increasing domain authority and trust in Google’s eyes.


So, are SEO and keywords really the same thing? There are definitely overlaps in terms of SEO and keywords and they are closely related.

The point of optimising websites is to serve the intent of keywords that potential customers use to find services that are similar. By building trust and optimising your content for these keywords, will help deliver better SEO results.

Understanding the relationship is essential to the success of your online business and ensuring your website is built around enhancing user experience will stand you in good stead.

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