You might wonder why the keywords “Google site” appear at the top of every search result instead of the actual page name. This has got to do with how Google organizes its search results.

In simple terms, it ranks web pages using various signals, such as their relevance to the keyword searched. So, for example, if a particular page contains many relevant inbound links, it is likely to rank higher than another page with fewer links pointing towards it.

What are Google operators, exactly? What does “site:” mean? How can you improve your SEO? Learn all about them in this article.

What Are Google Search Operators?

Google search operators are combinations of words that help users get better search results. These operators include a search term such as, and or punctuation such as quotations symbols such as @ or $ any combination. SEO professionals use these advanced commands frequently and probably know many advanced search operators.

Search operators are used for refining searches by adding additional information. For example, if you wanted to look for a specific word but didn’t know how to spell it correctly, you could use a GSO to help. A common example of this might be searching for a person’s name.

You might type in “John Smith” as your search query, but you may misspell his name. To fix this, you could add a “+” sign before his name, such as “John +Smith”.

This would tell Google to include any instances of John Smith in the results, even if he doesn’t appear in the exact same order as what you typed.

Another example of a GSO is the quotation mark. When you type in a question mark followed by a word, such as “What does ‘?’ mean?” Google understands that you’re asking a question and gives you answers accordingly.

In addition to being useful for spelling out a search term, GSOs can also be used to perform advanced searches. For example, if you wanted to find people born after 1970, you could use the date format “1980-01-01” or the year format “1970 – 01 – 01 00:00:00 GMT”.

How Do Google Search Operators Work?

Searching for something specific can be hard if you don’t know what you’re looking for. You might need to use advanced operators to narrow down your search. For instance, you could search for “how to make a fire” by “fire how”. This will return results about making fires. A more complex example would be searching for “the meaning of life” by using “life meaning”. This will return results related to the question “what does life mean?”

Google Search Operators fall into three categories:

  • Those with punctuation
  • Boolean operators
  • Advanced

Why Do You Need to Know About Google Search Operators?

Each operator has a purpose, but the most common ones are often used together to form powerful keywords or phrases. Use these basic operators to identify the best combination of search terms that will help you accomplish exactly what you want.

For Better Content Research

These operators allow you to perform targeted searches that bring up the pieces of content you need. This complete list includes anything related to technical SEO audits. There are even some helpful links included here as well.

Exclude Unhelpful Terms When Researching

Google search operators can remove sites that are not useful when doing duplicate content research, especially when such sites have 404 errors. This is also helpful when you only want to.

You only want to see pages that show the word “bananas” and not pages that contain “apples” and “oranges”. Perhaps you want to discuss “bananas used for desserts” and not “bananas used as fruit” or “bananas used for cooking”.

The Complete List of Google Search Operators

There are many Google search operators available. Some are very useful for specific purposes, while others are more general. We’ve compiled a Google search operator cheat sheet to make your life easier when using Google Search Operators.

What Are the Basic Google Search Operators

Basic Google search operators are simple keyword searches. These codes or special commands also make searching by topic easier by allowing people to search within categories.

Basic search operators include:

  • ” ”
    This is an exact match search. You can easily identify those because this is the term with quotation marks. This is used for refined research or exact phrase output. This returns words with exact terms that you entered and not the broad results you’d usually get with standard results.
    This is one of the most common search operators available and can help you limit your search results to only those pages containing the exact terms you specify. For example, if you’re looking for information about the term “Google,” you could use this operator only to see pages that contain the word “Google” in them.
  • AND
    AND returns results related to keyword 1 and keyword 2. AND is the default Google search operator, so using it alone won’t bear better results than not using it. But, combining it with other search operators is very useful.
  • OR
    This Boolean search operator overrides the AND Boolean search operator. Results to words related to keyword 1 or keyword 2, or both.
    A normal search will focus on the result that includes both keyword 1 AND keyword 2. But the OR operator will return keyword 1 or keyword 2. This operator works best when you have two keywords that aren’t often paired together.
  • [ ] Use this search operator to group keywords together.

  • This is the exclusion sign. Place this before the word to exclude that keyword from the search process. For example, you can use this operator if you want to remove branded search results.
  • *
    This is the wildcard symbol. This would match any word or search phrase that contains the keyword.
  • |
    This is similar to the OR operator
  • #..#
    Shows results for a number range.
  • $
    Returns prices in dollars

  • Returns price results in euros

What Are the Advanced Google Search Operators?

The advanced search command is an operator that modifies basic and regular text searches. You must add additional parameters to tell the advanced search operators what you want to change or limit your search.

  • allinanchor
    This advanced operator is similar to the anchor. The difference is that it will return pages with all specified keywords mentioned.
  • allinpostauthor
    This advanced search operator returns results written by a particular author found in the Google Blog search.
  • allintitle
    Returns results that match the exact search of all the phrases you indicated in the title. You can use this to find direct competitors’ pages with the same topic or title as your particular webpage.For example, if you have this command:
    allinthetitle:best banana puddingThis will return all pages with the single phrase best banana pudding in the title.
  • allinurl
    This advanced operator returns results that contain all the specified words in the blog URL.
  • allintext
    This advanced search operator is similar to intext, which shows all pages that contain all the specified words in the command line.
  • around(x)
    This operator finds pages that contain two words within a specified proximity search area in the blog posts. This is often used with words that aren’t often grouped. The “x” in aroundx indicates the number of words between the specified keywords.
  • blogurl
    Returns blog URLs under the Google Blog or specific domain.
  • cache
    cache returns the most recent and relevant indexed version of a page. This is useful when you still want to read something from a website, even if that said website is down.The ‘cache’ Google search operator will show you what Google has indexed recently about your website. You can use this to see if Google has indexed your site recently and see if Google has already cached any changes you’ve made to your site.
  • define
    A dictionary built into Google. This displays the definition of a word in a card-like result in the blog search results.
  • filetype
    Returns a result only in a certain type of file extension such as TXT file type, PDF files, and DOCX, among others. You can also use the ext:operator; it gives the same results.
    You can also use this to look for old or unwanted files you might have been uploaded.
  • in
    This operator transforms one unit into another unit. This works with currencies, temperatures, and weights.
  • inanchor
    This returns pages that use a particular inbound anchor text.
    This is used to identify pages with internal links pointing to them containing the given anchor text. This is a great operator for search engine optimization.
  • intext
    Using this operator gives results that contain the specified keyword in the blog posts of the page.
  • intitle
    This narrow operator helps you find more targeted results for more specific words in the title. You can combine this with an exact match operator to look for updated products like the example below:”banana pudding recipe” intitle:2022This means you are looking for a banana pudding recipe for 2022.
  • inurl
    Use the operator inurl to retrieve pages that contain targeted keywords in their URL. This is useful when looking for guest posting opportunities and checking out direct competitors.For example, banana pudding inurl:magnoliaFor this case, the keyword is banana pudding, and you are only looking for URL sites that contain the keyword magnolia
  • map
    This operator forces results for locational searches.
  • movie
    This returns movie results showing near your area or any information about a particular movie.
  • related
    You can use this operator to check blog posts of your direct competitors as this shows results of similar pages as the target domain you used for checking
  • site
    Returns results that are limited to a specific website. You can use this to check for internal linking. Just include the relevant keyword, and Google will show you pages that you can link to
  • source
    Find news results from a Google News source.
  • weather
    This operator exhibits the weather for a particular location and returns results from websites that show the weather.

Google Search Operator Tips and Tricks

Google search operators are valuable tools when you know how to utilize them properly. Here are some tips for you.

How to Use Google Search Operators for Your Content Strategy and Marketing

Google search operators are helpful for relevant content marketing. Here are some of the examples:

  • You can use this operator combination to pitch your infographics to possible sites that might feature them
    keyword intitle: infographic inurl:infographic
  • You can look for resource pages using search operator combinations.
    inurl:resources intitle:resources [your keyword]
  • You can search for sponsored post opportunities. You can also vary what you include in the intext search commands such as this one below:
    keyword intext:”this was a sponsored post by”

How to Use Google Search Operators for Google Drive

Google search operators allow you to search driven by a specific user. You can search drive by the owner of files or folders. You can also search drive or mail for any files modified or mail sent or received anytime after a set date. You can search drive or mail for a file modified or mail sent or received anytime before a certain date. You can search for files shared by people in your organization. You can also search for items that have been trashed, starred, or binned.

How to Audit Your HTTP to HTTPS Transition

Switching a site from HTTP to HTTPS requires some extra work. First, make sure you check your progress by looking up how many of each type (or subtype) of page Google has crawled. Next, use the “site” operator on your root domain, and then exclude HTTPS pages using the “-inurl” option. This will help you track any straggling or non-secure pages that Google may not have re-indexed.

You Have Unlimited GOS Combination

You can create a lot of operator combinations that can contain basic and advanced operators:

“banana pudding” intitle: “top 3..5 reasons” -Delish: Google.com inurl:2020

This means you are looking for the pages that contain banana pudding that uses the top 3 until 5 reasons. In addition, the pages should not be on Delish.com, and the articles should have 2020 in the URL.

Check for Plagiarized Content Idea

You can check whether somebody is copying your blog posts. You can pick a unique phrase from a piece of content on the contested page. Put them in exact match operator and don’t include your page like this one:

intext: “Add your unique phrase here” -site:Your Website

Exclude Unrelated Sites in Your Search

In many cases, you want to exclude some sites when researching some topics. For example, you can use the exclusion operator with the site: operator to do this:

banana pudding -site:tripadvisor.com

In the case above, you don’t want any pages to pop up from Tripadvisor when searching for banana pudding.

Eliminate Multiple Subdomains

If you’re running a large eCommerce website, chances are, you’d have lots of staging sites that you don’t want to be indexed. So having this set of operators will eliminate your staging sites from getting indexed.

site:Your domain name -inurl:stage -inurl:dev -inurl:staging

To End

There is no denying the value of Google search operators for SEO strategy and content marketing. Indeed any Google search operator is a powerful tool to utilize. Do you need your digital marketing campaign for SEO success? Give us a call, and we can gladly help you expand your online business.