Miscellaneous

Google Search Operators: A Complete Guide for Advance Search

November 13, 2017
Google Search Operators

Search Engines has made a revolutionary change in our lives in terms of gathering information about anything or to find out whatsoever. Among the search engines, Google is the most used and most popular. So if we know the ins and outs of using Google Search Operators then we can use Google for advanced search. Moreover, as an internet marketer, SEO expert or website researcher we have to perform advanced searches in Google. So it is a must to know the Google Search Operators if we want to get the best out of our work.

What is Google Search Operators?

Google search operators are special characters and commands (sometimes called “advanced operators”) that extend the capabilities of regular text searches. Search operators can be useful for everything from content research to technical SEO audits (Source: MOZ). The process of Google advanced search is similar to traditional text search only deference is using Google Search Operators with the text or SEO Keywords.

Google Search Operators

Google Search Operators are split into Symbols, Basic, Advance and URL modifiers. Every search operators perform a unique search. Here I will give you an overview of all the search operators. This will help you become more familiar with how Google Search Operators work in real-world situations.

Symbol Operators

Quotation Marks (” “)     

Using quotation marks with your keywords will force Google to send you an exact-match result. When you put a word or phrase in quotes, Google will show only those pages that have the same word in the same order as the ones inside the quotes. For example, if you search for Facebook Profile Jhon (no quotes), Google will show you the result for Jhon’s Facebook Profile. But if you put that phrase in quotes “Facebook Profile Jhon” Google will look for those terms in the same given order.

Underscore ( _ )   

If you are a Search Engine Optimization expert then this Google Search Operators will be a great help for you to generate keyword ideas in Google auto-suggest. Just drop the _ between two keywords and Google will give you a few suggested filler keywords that they think are important from a search user’s point of view. But remember, to get the best result out of this operator you must be in Incognito mode.

Asterisk (*)    

When you are looking for any unknown or wildcard terms you can use this operator. Putting an asterisk in a search tells Google that you are not sure of a certain part of the query. So you are asking Google to suggest some search result. Then Google will fill in the blank and show you the most appropriate result for your search terms.

Minus (-)

This Google Search Operators will help you to exclude any keywords or phrase from the results. When you put Minis (-) in front of any search terms or site address, it excludes sites with that info from your results. For example: [SEO tutorial – udemy.com].

Plus (+)

You can use plus (+) to add more word in a single search phrase and force Google to show exact match result in a single phrase. For example: [SEO + digital marketing tutorial].

Pipe Operator (|)   

The function of pipe operator is same as OR operator. You can use pipe instead of OR operator. Using pipe operator between keywords means that Google will look for either the first word or the second word or both the words.

Range Operator (..) 

This is a very useful Google Search Operators if you want to measure or search anything between specific ranges. Just put 2 periods between the numbers, with no space and add a unit of measure to specify a range. For example: [Mr. Smith 20..80 years old]. It will show you results which specify numbers between 20 and 80.

Parentheses ()   

Parentheses are very important Google Search Operators. It will give you the opportunity to group certain operators and change the order of operations. So you have more flexibility while searching for any terms.

Basic Operators  

OR

This is same as the pipe operator mentioned above. This Google Search Operators will help you search for pages that have one word or the other. It allows you to search for multiple terms. OR operator must be in all CAPS to work properly. For example: [internet marketing OR digital marketing].

AND

The AND operator works with the same logic as Bitwise Operator AND. Similar to the OR operator, AND operator must be in all CAPS to work properly. If you use “AND” within the search term it will make sure both your queries appear within each result. For example: [internet marketing AND digital marketing].

filetype:

It’s a very useful Google Search Operators when it comes to finding anything by file type extension. With the help of this operator you not only can search images, Infographics or memes but also can search other files like pdf, doc, ppt etc. For example: [car image filetype: jpg]

site:

When you need results from a specific site or you only need results from .gov, .edu websites, you can use this operator. This operator restricts the search results to a specific domain. For example: [site:searchenginejournal.com SEO] or [digital marketing site:.edu]

related:

It is a very important Google Search Operators in terms of SEO. It will help you to find other sites that are similar to the one you have or provide. It’s great when you want to figure out who your organic competitors are. But remember that you can only use domain or URL as the parameter for this operator, not any keywords. For example: [related:domainname.com]

cache:

If you want to find out what the most recent cache of a specified webpage is, you can use this operator. Cache operator is very useful for identifying when a page was last crawled by Google. For example: [cache:websitename.com]

Advance Operators  

allintext: / intext:

This Google Search Operators will help you to limit the search results to content that has the query terms you specify in the text on the page. For example, [allintext: digital marketing course] will return only documents or pages that contain the words. The function of intext: is same as allintext: only the difference is intext: is used for single word where you can use allintext: for the query terms.

allintitle: / intitle:

Using this search operator will help you to find those pages that use all the query terms you specify in the title tag. For example, [allintitle: digital marketing course] will return only documents that contain the words “digital” “marketing” “course” in the title. This Google Search Operators has a great SEO value as it helps us to create a unique title for our content.

allinurl: / inurl:

When you use this operator in search terms, Google shows you results containing pages that use all the query terms you specify in the URL. When you search for [allinurl: digital marketing course] Google looks for results with “digital marketing course” in the URL. The function of inurl: is same as allinurl: only the difference is inurl: is used for single word where you can use allinurl: for the query terms.

allinanchor: / inanchor:

If you are searching for pages or contents that are using your keyword as anchor text then this search operator will be a great help for you. Because these Google Search Operators return results to those pages where all the keywords are used as anchor text. For example, [allinanchor: digital marketing] will show the pages that are using “digital marketing” as anchor text.

AROUND()

This Google Search Operators will help you to narrow the focus of your results to be super narrow. It will allow you to specify Keyword Proximity by limiting the number of words that can appear between two keywords that you are searching. For example: [digital marketing AROUND(2) tutorial].

inpostauthor:

This search operator is also known as the blog author search operator. It will help you to find blog posts for the specific author. For example, [inpostauthor: brian dean] will show you the result of blog posts where Brian Dean is the author.

define:

This is a very important Google Search Operators and it will help you to find out the definitions of words, phrases, and acronyms. For example, [define: SEO] will show definitions of “SEO”.

info:

This search operator will show information about the corresponding web page. If you search for [info: opuchowdhury.com], it will show information about the opuchowdhury.com homepage.

location:

If you use this Google Search Operators in your query, it will show you the results for the location that you have specified. For example, [sports news location: Canada] will only show the results from sites in Canada.

in

“In” is a superb function that can be used to convert any units to other units. For example: [mph in kph].

Difference Between (allin…) and (in…)   

  • The (allin…) operators should be used at the start of your query, on the other hand, you can use (in…) operators anywhere in your queries.
  • For (allin…) operators you can have space after the “:” but for (in…) operators you can’t put any space after the “:”
  • You can’t use (allin…) operators with any other operators but you can use (in…) operators with other operators.

URL Modifiers  

URL Modifiers are different from search operators. You can add search operators to the Google search box but if you want to use URL Modifiers then you have to use them in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) URL. URL Modifiers are made of a key and a value separated by an equals sign (=) and joined by an ampersand (&). Here are some URL Modifiers that you can use for advanced search:

URL Modifiers

&tbs=qdr (Time Wise Search)    

This URL Modifiers will help you find the results time wise. To trigger this just add the modifiers at the end of the SERP URL. Time query can be further modified using these parameters:

&tbs=qdr:s – Results from past sec

&tbs=qdr:n – Results from past minute

&tbs=qdr:h – Results from past hour

&tbs=qdr:d – Results from past day

&tbs=qdr:w – Results from past week

&tbs=qdr:m – Results from past month

&tbs=qdr:y – Results from past year

&tbm=blg (Blog Search) 

You can use this URL Modifiers to bring up blog results for your query. What you have to do is just add the modifier at the end of the SERP URL and Google will do the rest of work.

&tbs=blgt:b – To only include blog homepages

&tbm=app (App Search)

This URL Modifiers will help you to bring up Google app search based on your query. App query can be further modified using these parameters:

&tbs=app_price:free – To get free apps

&tbs=app_price:paid – To get paid apps

&tbs=app_os:1 – To get android apps

&tbs=app_os:13 – To get iOS apps

&tbm=isch (Image Search)

If you are searching for images then you can use this URL Modifiers for advanced search. Image search can be further modified using these parameters:

&tbs=isz:l – Large size images

&tbs=isz:m – Medium size images

&tba=isz:i – Icon size images

&tbs=isz:lt,islt:qsvga – Images larger than 400×300

&tbs=isz:lt,islt:vga – Images larger than 640×480

&tbs=isz:lt,islt:svga – Images larger than 800×600

&tbs=isz:lt,islt:xga – Images larger than 1024×768

&tbs=isz:lt,islt:2mp – Images larger than 1600×1200

&tbm=vid (Video Search)

If you are looking for videos on your search terms then this URL Modifiers will be a great help for you. You can use this modifier to bring up Google video search for your query. Video search can be further modified using these parameters:

&tbs=dur:s – Short duration video

&tbs=dur:m – Medium duration video

&tbs=dur:l – Long duration video

&tbs=hq:h – High quality video

&tbs=cc:1 – Subtitled video

&tbm=nws (News Search)

You can find Google news results for your query through this URL Modifiers. But it will only work when you search for news on Google.com main search site. News search can be further modified using these parameters:

&tbs=nrt:b – News results from blogs

&tbs=nrt:a – News result from all sources

&cr=country (Country Specific Search)

This URL Modifiers will tell Google to restrict the search results by country. So if you want to restrict the search results to only websites targeting England then you have to add the URL modifier [&cr=countryUK] in the SERP URL.

The Closure

It’s been 19 years since Google was released and Google search has improved immensely since then. But despite this continued improvement, you have to rely on advanced search. So Google Search Operators are useful for content audits, technical SEO audits or whatever you want to use them for. Now that you know the Google Search Operators, it’s up to you to identify the combos that will help you the most to find the preeminent information for your search.

Should Read: 11 Things You Need to Do After a Blog Post Goes Live

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2 Comments

  • Reply Sufyan November 15, 2017 at 7:54 am

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