We have used the following terminology throughout this guide so far and the terms are so frequently used that they are worth explaining in more detail.
Search terms are the words and phrases entered into Google by a searcher when they are looking for something. They can be referred to as search queries or search phrases as well as search terms.
There is little distinction between search terms and keywords other than that ‘keywords’ are the specific search terms that are targeted by a webpage or website. Ultimately this comes down more to frame of reference, to a user / searcher their searches are search terms; to an SEO they are target keywords.
Keywords can be one word or many words in a phrase, for example a mortgage broker may target the keyword ‘mortgages’ as well as ‘mortgage broker’… Both are keywords and search terms.
Rankings are a murkier area today than five years ago, with personalised search results and device specific search results; what one person sees is often different to what another person sees. That said there are many adequate tools out there that can provide you with actionable ranking data across desktop and mobile devices.
Rankings are very important for the SEO consultant to understand, as when rankings are combined with data around how much value each keyword has, you are able to determine which areas efforts should be focused in.