Search engine optimization (SEO) centers on Google. Google is by far the top search engine marketers should focus on, as it is where businesses get the bulk of their visitors. Google advanced search operators, or Google search modifiers, are the keys to unlocking this search engine’s true powers for a business. Learning the top 10 search operators can revolutionize how you conduct website research. Gain insights into new SEO opportunities, improve your rank on Google search results, and unleash your full potential with the right search operators.
Ever wonder what the “cache” option next to your search results in Google means? It’s an advanced search operator that SEO experts can use to discover the most recent cache of the website. Google’s browser cache contains information from the most recent collection the Google search bot took. The cache will look like the current page of search results, but when you click the “Text-Only Version” option in the top left-hand corner of the page, you’ll see the text that Google reads.
Conduct a search for some key terms that a customer might use to find your site, product, or service. Then, press the “Cache” option, found next to the green primary URL on the search results links. Find out what text elements Google reads for that search and use them on your website. The Googlebot will then pick them up, consider them relevant for a search, and place your site toward the top of the results for that search.
The “allintext” search operator works like this: add “allintext:” before your Google search. For example, a search for allintext: social media marketing would search body text for every individual term. In other words, the operator will help you learn whether all the terms after “allintext:” appear in the text of a page. Although the allintext: operator isn’t 100 percent accurate because it won’t look for text that appears close together, it’s a beneficial tool if you’re looking to see if the words in a phrase appear on your website, a competitor’s, or elsewhere.
The intext: Google search modifier is similar to allintext: except it is more global. This operator lets you search for terms anywhere on a webpage, not just its body content. Putting “intext:” before a search word or phrase will show you where it pops up on a site’s title, URL, meta description, tags, body content, and elsewhere. The intext: Google operator is handy if you’re researching how the search engine is categorizing others’ on-page SEO efforts, in order to inform how you’ll handle your own.
Looking for a fast and easy way to enhance your site’s blog content? Outshine your competitors’ blogs on the same or similar topics using the allintitle: Google search modifier. Place “allintitle:” before your search topic or phrase and read what others have already written about that topic. Then, craft your content to beat what’s already out there. The allintitle: operator is a great way to make sure your content is totally unique, as well as offering added value compared to what your competitors are publishing.
The inanchor: operator is an excellent tool to search for keywords that appear in anchor text, or in links on other pages. For example, searching inanchor: top SEO tricks would result in matches that have links to other pages using “top SEO tricks” or similar language as the anchor text. Inanchor: searches can help SEO by seeing what pages others are linking to on their websites. You could also use the allinanchor: operator to see anchors that contain all query terms.
- Filetype or Ext
Starting a search with filetype:suffix will narrow results down to pages only with the desired suffix. If you’re searching only for PDF documents, for example, searching SEO infographic filetype:pdf would return Adobe Acrobat PDF files that match your keywords. Without the modifier, you would see a range of file types with SEO infographics, including websites and images. Using the Google operator ext: does the same thing. Ext: is an undocumented alias for the filetype: modifier.
Using the info: modifier will give you search results that provide information about the desired website, person, or company. The info: operator narrows search results down to only show information such as About Us sections, news stories, biographies, etc. about the desired search term instead of other content. For example, a search for info:Social Media Examiner will come up with the website, contact page, staff info, Wikipedia page, and Facebook page as the first five hits. The same search without the info: operator only comes up with the company’s website and social platforms.
Placing location: in front of your Google News query will narrow your search results down to the location you specify. This modifier is handy if you’re trying to see the latest news in your community only. A location-based Google News search can be helpful for coming up with new blog topics and keeping your readers informed on the latest goings-on in your neighborhood. Google News will accept country, US state abbreviations, and Canadian province abbreviations to narrow down search results by location.
A Google search using the modifier related: is an easy way to see pages that are similar to the one you’re interested in. This search operator is helpful for SEO purposes because it will generate a list of websites similar to yours or your competitors’. You can get a list of sites that might be your competition. You can then use their sites to create strategies for how to improve or build upon what they already have. Use this modifier with a URL. For example: the search related:Google.com comes up with Yahoo, Bing, Yahoo Search, HotBot, and DuckDuckGo as the first five hits – five search engines similar to Google.
Inurl: is a Google advanced search operator one could use to see results with the keyword in the page’s URL. The inurl: modifier might be helpful if the searcher cannot quite remember the name of a site or if the searcher has an idea of what he/she wants but doesn’t know the exact title. For example, searching Neil Patel inurl:Blogging will come up with articles Neil Patel has written on the subject of blogging.
Get more out of your Google searches and SEO research. Start with these 10 advanced operators, then learn more as you get more confident!