Unbeknown to many people, Google offers a wide range of “search operators” to help streamline and refine your search results.
When you consider that Google contains billions of web pages in its index, search operators are an important way to ensure your query will deliver relevant results.
Search operators also provides some great info and research for SEO purposes.
Below is a list of the core Google search operators for web search with a quick explanation of what they do and how they help from an SEO point of view.
Allinanchor limits results to pages which have inbound links with the specified text: e.g. allinanchor:fast cars – produces a list of web pages which have links containing the words “fast” and “cars”.
Allinanchor provides important insight into Google’s ranking algorithm. Do some comparisons between a standard search and allinanchor search for a variety of keywords and you’ll notice an uncanny similarity in the results.
Allintext limits results to pages that contain ALL the specified text e.g. allintext: baseball football basketball will display pages that contain all three terms.
Allintitle limits results to pages that have page/document titles that contain the specified text. E.g. allintitle:native trees will display pages that contain the terms “native” or “trees” in the title (viewable in the top of most browser windows)
It’s a good way to check which other sites are targeting similar keywords to your site in their page title optimization.
Allinurl limits results to web pages that contain the specified text in the URL/web page address. allinURL:easy search advertising Note that with URLs where words are not separated, Google wont see the individual terms.
This is a useful way to see how your competition are URL optimizing for the keywords you’re targeting. Also a quick way to see if there’s domain opportunities for new SEO strategies.
Cache: displays the indexed version of a web page in Google’s database. It helps you work out which version of a page that Google is referencing when using your content for searches.
The cache function provides a great way to see how Google has indexed specific keywords on your web pages. To check the keywords indexed for your web page use the following cache function cache:www.ineedhits.com “search engine”
Filetype: will limit Google’s results to documents of a specific type such as pdf or ppt.
With the growth in universal search and the numerous types of content that Google indexes, it’s a great way to see what other documents your competitors are using to claim rankings.
Inanchor is similar to allinanchor except that it will display web pages that have links that contain the first word (or term if “” are used) of the query in their inbound links and the other terms within the content of the page.
info displays important Google indexing information about a web page. The information provided includes
- Google’s cache: mentioned above. Also available as a stand alone operator e.g. cache:www.ineedhits.com
- similar web pages: helps find pages that Google deems as competitors. This is available as a standalone search operator e.g. related:www.google.com
- pages that link to the URL: an insight into Google’s view of your inbound links. Use the link: operator for stand alone queries e.g. link:www.bing.com
- pages within the site: see which of your website’s page are indexed. This is a great way to query your website for various insights. Use the site: operator for stand along queries. E.g. site:www.ineedhits.com
- pages that contain references to the URL: check who is reference your website
There are quite a few more search operators which offer specific insights into Google’s search verticals and other services, but the one’s I’ve mentioned above are the important ones for SEO purposes.
If you use Google search operators in other ways to help with your SEO or online marketing – share your ideas via our comments below.