Google Search Operators & Google Search Modifier Tips
Google Search Operators: The Complete Guide
Search results are a source of valuable information for website owners. With SERP analysis, you can see indexed pages, find duplicates, estimate indexing speed, and solve many other tasks.
By using Google search operators, you can reduce the time spent. The list of modifiers is extensive, but you do not have to study every item. Just practice using the basic operators and periodically update your knowledge.
SEO services can partially replace search operators, but even platforms with extensive features have disadvantages. For example, not all services can display cached pages, and a search modifier will help to solve the problem in a few minutes.
1. What Are Google Search Operators?
Search operators are special commands for filtering search results. You can use them to find the needed data in the results and improve your promotion strategy.
Most website owners know 2-3 operators that are periodically used to analyze the SERPs. It is enough for basic tasks, but the more modifiers you can learn, the better.
For example, a useful operator site will allow you to see indexed pages, but if you want to understand how many pages are still shown in search results as HTTPS, you should use another modifier. Especially if the project has thousands of pages in search results.
Search engines cover most tasks but are only suitable for basic analysis. If it takes much time to collect results, you should better automate the work.
For example, it is not very convenient to collect links with the help of modifiers. It is better to register with a search engine marketing service, add the domain URL to the interface, and get statistic in a few minutes.
You should clearly understand what tool will help you solve the problem. If it is operators, there is no point in paying a few hundred dollars for access to a search engine marketing service.
But if you realize during the analysis that the task requires automation, you should give up the routine. Automation tools will free up time for more creative work.
2. List of Google Search Commands
Google search commands exist almost since the launch of Google, and the list has long been supplemented. At the start of the project, the number of modifiers was limited.
Today, some commands do not work due to loss of relevance, but problems with filtering results occur mainly due to incorrect use. You should consider the syntax, especially if you use a combination of modifiers.
New commands haven’t appeared for many years, and you can’t find a complete list in Google’s FAQ for webmasters. Thematic sources on SEO help to solve the problem.
Beginners should memorize common modifiers that will be useful for regular analysis of search results. With their help, you can find a lot of data, which, in some cases, can save visibility in search results.
General modifiers are the search operators most commonly used by webmasters. They are sufficient for everyday SERP analysis. With the help of combinations of commands, you can create personalized search results.
For example, if you want to find pages with exact keyword entries in the title, you can do it with a single command. Standard CMS tools will also help to solve tasks, but you should be able to see exactly what pages Google added to the search database.
Beginners can find it hard to remember 10-15 modifiers, but if you apply them in practice, you will eventually perform all the actions automatically. Therefore, you should not ignore a useful tool that can save time.
You can use the double quote operator to search for an exact match to a query. If you type any query into the search box, Google algorithms will show all pages with that keyword in all possible entries.
Example: SEO tool
If you alternately enter SEO tool and SEO tools queries, search results will be different. This command is often helpful when you want to narrow down your search and not waste time trying to find a large number of websites.
The search modifier allows you to find content that uses multiple queries. It is important to write OR in uppercase so that algorithms do not take it as part of the keyword.
Example: SEO or search engine optimization
A forward slash acts as an OR operator. It can be used if Caps Lock does not work on your keyboard, but in most cases, it is more convenient to put OR between keywords.
Example: link | backlink
Double parentheses help cluster queries and control the sequence of keywords in the content. For example, if you want to find pages where the link or backlink keyword is used in combination with a brand name first, you will need a construction like the one in the example below.
Example: (link or backlink) Ahrefs
The star is a search operator that helps you find content where additional words are used between keywords. The modifier replaces any number of words between the required queries.
The grid is used to search for hashtags. If you enter any query, Twitter and other social media platforms will mostly be at the top of the list. To estimate the amount of content by hashtag, it is better to use dedicated services.
The dollar sign helps to quickly find out the cost of a product or service. Figures are not always displayed in search results by default, so Google operators will help you find the necessary information.
If you want to find a product at a specific price, you must add a number before the currency to the query. Then, search methods will show pages with a given price in the content.
A search engine works the same way as the dollar symbol. Value modifiers are not compatible with all currencies. For example, if you add a pound sterling, the search will show pages with a dollar symbol.
The in modifier is a quick way to convert anything. For example, you can convert minutes into hours or find out how many euros you can get for $50.
Example: $39 into euros
Among common operators, there is a site modifier, which webmasters use most often. It shows indexed pages of the project. Keep in mind that figures can change since search results are sensitive.
Additional search commands help to solve specific problems, but you must be experienced to use them. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with the features of each modifier and save the most useful ones.
The command is used to search for sites that require keywords to be included in the title. Algorithms will search for a query after a colon in the title attribute.
Example: intitle: SEO marketing
This modifier works similarly to the script, but, unlike the previous command, it performs the logical action of searching for several words in the title. Use it if you want to find keywords in the page title.
Example: allintitle: SEO marketing
This search command comes in handy when you need to find a URL with a specific keyword. With additional operators, you can see all pages of a project whose URLs require keywords.
Similar to allintitle, this modifier finds pages with several keywords. It’s convenient when you want to check if all keywords are in the URL.
Example: allinurl:google ranking factors.
It is one of the most useful operators looking for occurrences of a word in the content of a page. You can use it to quickly create a list of potential donors for link building and check their quality in SEO services.
Example: intext: Apple.
The command works similarly to commands for finding search queries in a title or URL. If one keyword is not enough to filter results, you can add a few more.
Example: allintext: SEO link building practice.
Note that the modifier will not work in combination with other search commands, so you must use it individually.
If you want to find a commercial query, whitepaper, or another document, the filetype command comes to the rescue. It finds files with a given resolution on the web. Adding a site modifier allows you to narrow your search to a single project.
Example: site:apple.com filetype:pdf.
Among Google’s search modifiers for SEO, webmasters use this one very often. It is responsible for finding pages with similar content. Using it, you can find projects that compete for search traffic.
Example: related: ahrefs.com.
Search operators used in Google were created not only for webmasters but also for ordinary users. That’s why not all modifiers concern SEO. AROUND(X) helps to find pages for queries that are separated by a certain number of words.
Example: SEO AROUND(1) links inurl:blog.
The search command is among the location operators designed to quickly search for region-specific information. In the case with weather, the user receives the weather forecast.
Example: weather:new york.
A monetary modifier related to the value of securities. It indicates the stock price of a specific company. Regular users rather than webmasters often use it.
Example: stocks: SEMrush.
This search modifier can be used to quickly open a map of a country, city, or region, which is useful when you don’t have the Google Maps app and need to quickly see the location of an object.
Example: map: Wall Street.
If your link-building strategy includes blog posts, the inposttitle operator comes in handy. For example, if Apple wants to promote itself on top blogs, it can use a few keywords to find projects for link building.
Example: inposttitle:Apple stocks.
Some search operators become outdated over time and are preserved only as part of the history of the search engine. Website owners usually encounter them when they read lists of commands that have not been updated for years.
Tilda was formerly used to add synonyms. This was relevant when search engine algorithms were just evolving and didn’t take into account the entire content of the query. The command is not currently supported.
When the search modifier functioned, it made it possible to force exact matches on a single phrase. When the Google+ service was launched, the command lost relevance, and now, few people remember it.
The operator was used to search for content published within a given date range. The correct syntax required converting regular dates to the Julian format.
The operator made it possible to find pages linking to the desired domain. It stopped working in 2017. Even by this point, it was easier for webmasters to use the analytics module of any link mass analysis service.
Unlike other outdated search modifiers, this command still works, but not all available results may be in SERPs. The operator finds pages whose anchors include the right keywords.
Example: inanchor:seo courses.
It works similarly to the previous modifier but gives more accurate results for anchors where you need to find more than one keyword. Keep in mind that each query is analyzed separately.
Example: allinanchor: best seo courses.
Each operator from the list of Google search commands plays a specific role, so it is important to find basic modifiers and use them correctly. Only then can you expect to achieve the desired result.
3. How to Use Google Search Operators?
Most webmasters have no problem with the correct application of commands and filtering search results. If you don’t make any gross mistakes, you can quickly find the content you need.
The use of operators can be divided into several steps:
- Setting the task.
- Selecting one or more commands.
- Application of operators.
- Gathering information.
You can use operators with any level of SEO knowledge, but you should consider the syntax. Google ignores punctuation that is not included in the search query. For example, if you put a space after a colon in the command, it will not process the query correctly. Accordingly, you will not get the desired result and will waste your time.
Google advanced search operators provide a lot of useful information for SEO specialists and website owners. Therefore, it is not necessary to dwell on the basic operators. If you understand the issue, you can quickly find the right content in search results.
4. The Importance of Operators for SEO
Google representatives noted that search operators are designed for users to make the SERPs more precise for a particular task. They can be used to get personalized results.
Applying the right combination of commands will help close a lot of gaps. Therefore, you should spend at least a few hours familiarizing yourself with the specifics of each actual command relevant to SEO or work tasks.
4.1. Find indexation errors
Even the highest quality websites have indexing errors. Algorithms often fail to add important pages to the database and have to apply additional measures to fix the situation.
With the site operator, you can see the number of indexed URLs, and if you activate an additional filter by time, you can see how actively the search engine works to add pages to the index.
4.2. Search for social outreach opportunities
It’s no secret that one of the most important indicators of website quality is the link profile. If it looks natural, search engine algorithms have no concerns about the project, and there will be no problems with ranking. It can be difficult to create a list of donors, so do not ignore the benefits of using special commands. Intext, intitle, and other operators can be useful when searching for relevant content.
4.3. Guest posting opportunities
Guest posting will always be relevant. It’s one of the main link-building methods suitable for projects in any niche. Search operators will help you quickly find projects that will eventually become website donors.
If you simply copy the link profile of your competitors, it may be of little use. You should put more effort than your competitors. Only then can you count on good visibility.
PRPosting will help you quickly create a list of donors. There are more than 40,000 websites in the catalog of the service, whose owners are ready to cooperate with webmasters. A user-friendly interface makes interaction with them as comfortable as possible.
4.4. Checking for unsecured pages
If the domain is technically incorrectly configured, pages of one website with different versions of spelling may appear in search results. The most common problem is a mix of http and https.
The site operator in combination with an unsecured protocol will allow you to see if the SERP contains pages that should be de-indexed. If they are present, search traffic may be diluted.
4.5. Find sites that link to competitors and update content
Among the tips for using Google search modifiers, one of the most important concerns finding websites that act as donors for competitors’ projects.
For this task, you should use SEO analysis platforms rather than search operators, especially when it comes to projects with tens of thousands of backlinks. In this case, the manual search will take more than a month. Therefore, it is better to automate the work.
4.6. Finding threads for your content
In the matter of finding content to expand the list of queries for which a project can be ranked, search modifiers play an important role. They help save time on analysis.
You can take the domains of major competitors, add keywords, and see how often competitors publish articles on a topic. Search analytics services with reports on the pages with the highest amount of traffic will help you get even more useful ideas.
5. Tips for Using Search Modifiers
Not every website owner knows the definition of a search engine operator, but you can gain useful knowledge even after a few hours of active analysis. This time is enough time to figure out how to use search modifiers and combine them.
Over time, some commands may stop working. Google can change the list of current operators at its discretion. You can learn about the disabling of a particular command from the news in the niche communities or directly from search results.
5.1. Combinations of operators
A combination of several operators allows you to solve many problems. For example, you can find indexed pages of the website with one or more search queries.
Some commands only work separately, so if the syntax is correct, you should use one command and evaluate the result. Beginners in SEO can find the most useful examples of command combinations on popular SEO blogs and from their own experience.
5.2. Remove gaps between commands and search terms
For the commands to work correctly, you must remove extra spaces. Google algorithms will not be able to produce the desired results if there are characters in the query that break the entire structure.
To make sure extra spaces don’t interfere with content search, you can add a space after the colon and type the site operator. Then remove the space and analyze the difference in the SERPs.
5.3. Audit your HTTP->HTTPS transition
In almost every Google search operators guide, you can find the advice to periodically analyze the indexed pages using a combination of operators. This will help to ensure that http pages are not indexed.
You can check for unprotected URLs by using the site: command and adding -inurl https at the end. If there are URLs in search results, you should remove them.
Search operators can be used by webmasters worldwide, but you must consider the correct syntax; otherwise, you will not be able to achieve your goals. You should also keep in mind that Google may have glitches, and search will not work correctly from time to time.
You should not study all of the available search filtering commands. Just focus on modifiers that are useful for solving everyday problems.
Website owners who are not familiar with Google search operators will find it difficult to analyze search results. SEO analysis services automate the routine, but they still rely on search engine data. Therefore, you cannot do without modifiers at all.
The list of commands is vast, but webmasters usually use up to five basic modifiers.
They are commands designed for specific tasks. For example, you might need to search by file extension once a year.
They can be used for work tasks, training, or SERP analysis to improve the project’s search visibility. It all depends on user needs.