Google search operators are commands or operators that help you make your search more specific, focused and extend the capabilities of regular text searches. Search operators are very valuable in the field of content marketing and technical SEO audits. With these simple searching techniques, you can quickly look up new search terms to rank on and find issues on your site like indexing errors. You can even use them to identify new guest post opportunities to get backlinks and more.
Most people know the basics as it is easy to remember most of the search operators. But knowing how to use them effectively is an altogether different game. Though Google has been sneakily getting rid of some of their search operators over the last decade. The + (plus) operator is just one example, which disappeared in 2011.
Google also doesn’t keep an official list of all of the search operators that Google Search accepts at any given time. This has led to search operators becoming a bit of a secret and lost art. The good news is that we’ve got a list of operators that still work today, and we’re going to show you exactly how to use them.
Basic Google Search Operators
Google Search allows you to utilize many single-character or symbol-based operators that perform some of their most basic and useful search filtering. For basic search purposes, you’ll find yourself using these more than any other operators.
Quotation Mark Operator (” “)
Most of the times Google has been allowing synonyms to match your search terms. Using quotation marks around your query, or part of your query will force an exact match.
AND search operator
Using AND google search operator will show results that are related to both terms.
OR search operator
This operator will show results related to both terms or each term individually.
Wildcard search operator (*)
The Wildcard Google search operator allows for wildcard searching. Use it as a substitute for any term or phrase, before, after, or in between.
Minus/ Exclude search operator (-)
The minus operator will exclude any term or phrase directly after it.
Parentheses search operator ()
Putting a search term in between parentheses will group it away from the rest of your query, allowing for a more refined and specific search.
Advanced Google Search Operators
Advanced Google Search operators are ones that require a deeper understanding of how domains and websites work. Using these will allow you to dig up content and search methods that the majority of Google users will never find.
This google search operator will allow you to search for results based on text found in the website’s title.
This operator will allow you to search for results based on if all of the terms following it are found in the website’s title.
This operator will allow you to search for results based on text found in the website’s URL.
allinurl google search operator will allow you to search for results based on if all of the terms following it are found in the website’s URL.
This operator will allow you to search for results based on text found in the website’s content.
allintext Google Search operator will allow you to search for results based on if all of the terms following it are found in the website’s content.
If you use this search operator alone, it doesn’t achieve much. However, when you pair it with other search terms or operators, searching for content by a specific file extension can be extremely valuable. This operator only works with file types that contain text, but you can also search Google Images for file types like GIF, PNG, and more.
Although Google hasn’t made it clear exactly how this operator makes its determinations, this search operator will show you other websites related to a domain or URL. It’s a very interesting way to find alternatives to sites that you already love.
With help of this operator, Google takes you to its latest cached version of the website (providing the page is indexed, of course).
This operator will limit search results to only sites that are indexed from a specific domain or URL.
How to Use Advanced Google Search Operators
Now let’s learn a few ways to put these operators into action. My aim here is to show that you can achieve many things with Google operators if you know how to use and combine them efficiently. So don’t be afraid to play around. You might just discover something new.
Search Operator combos
You can chain together almost any combination of basic operators, and advanced operators:
Example: “road trip” intitle:top -site:youtube.com inurl:trekkerpedia
Find plagiarized content
You can also find out if your content is unique or if someone is plagiarizing you? Use a unique phrase from your text, put it in quotes (exact-match) after an “intext:” operator, and exclude your own site with “-site:”.
example: intext:”Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga” -site:trekkerpedia.com
Audit your HTTP->HTTPS transition
Switching a site from HTTP to HTTPS can be challenging. Double-check your progress by seeing how many of each type of page Google has indexed. Use the “site:” operator on your root domain and then exclude HTTPS pages with “-inurl:”.
example: site:trekkerpedia.com -inurl:https
Find files on your domain
Keeping track of everything on your website can be difficult, especially for big sites. For this reason, it’s easy to forget about old files you may have uploaded. It can be PDF files; Word documents; Powerpoint presentations; text files; etc. so Let’s use the filetype: operator to find these.
Example: site:trekkerpedia.com filetype:PDF
Find guest post opportunities
Find a website for your guest blog can be very difficult if you don’t make use of these operators. Let me show you an example of how to use it to get best out of it.
Example: trekking intitle:”write for us” inurl:”write for us”
And also don’t limit yourself to “write for us.” You can also use “become a contributor” or “contribute to” or any kind of synonyms you think fit for your query.