Sometimes I feel like a magician when I get behind a browser and do some searching with people. Immediately they whip out a notebook and start jotting down tips. Really, the secret to “searching smart” is all in Google’s search operators. If you remember middle school math, you will know an operator is basically a symbol that represents an operation, for instance – or + stands for subtract or add.
SO – As most of you know, Googles number one program which is Google search is basically a mathematical algorithm. Like any algorithm, you can apply different operators to it and it will spit out data based on what you type in. The most fundamental example of this would be this example:
To the average eye, this search will produce the same result, however to the trained searcher these are entirely different. The first query will return any and all results with the terms bicycle and reviews in it, while the second will return all search results with exactly the words bicycle reviews in it. A usual occurrence in this will be when you are searching for your name. When you just type your name into search, sure it will probably pull up some relevant results, but if you use quotes it will only query up the results that have your exact name, and in the correct order. It can come in very handy.
For you webmasters out there, have you ever wondered how many of your websites pages are indexed in Google’s index? Well, we do all the time. Pretty much dozens of times per day. This can be done very simply, by using the site:your-site.com (make sure not to put a space after site:)
This example will query Google’s index to display all pages in its index.
There are tons more, for instance allintext:, which will display only the text found within the body of the website and will ignore the text in the title or meta description tags.
allintitle: will do the opposite. This will display the results that appear within the title tag of that page/website/post or whatever.
The minus sign, also reffered to as the hyphen or the dash can be used to eliminate certain results. Google used this example which I like a lot. Say you want to find out the speed of a jaguar, the animal but want to exclude pages about Jaguar (the car). This can be done simply by doing the search:
jaguar speed -car
Operators are also able to be combined. For instance if you want to find out all instances of Carl Lewis but only want to look inside the domain olympics.com you would do:
"carl lewis" site:olympics.com
Now we are getting somewhere!
Ok, now we are going to blow your mind. Have you ever had a phrase or a saying on the tip of your tongue and just can’t remember the rest of it? Lets say you had a piece of a sentence such as “One small step for BLANK one giant leap for BLANK” You would do a little something like this:
We call this one, “fill in the blank” operator
By harnessing the power of search, you can really get some work done. You will be able to dig deeper then you ever have into the depths of Google and find more information than ever.
That is about it for now, maybe next week we will do part 2 of this with some more operators.
Hello I'm Patrick Coombe and I'm the CEO and Founder of Elite Strategies, an agency I started in 2009. One of the main reasons I love blogging about SEO is the research it takes to come up with the posts. It allows me to not only write about what I love, but to learn more about the industry in the process. I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did consider sharing it or even better linking to it!
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