HomeDigital MarketingBasic and advanced search operators for Google

Basic and advanced search operators for Google

In this article I want to show the use of search operators, basic and advanced, which can help you when analyzing a website or simply to refine your online searches.

What are search operators

Google search operators are special characters and commands (sometimes called “advanced operators”) that extend the functionality of normal text searches. Search operators can be useful for anything from content research to SEO tech checks.

Search operators

When you search on Google, or other search engines , you can use some commands to get more precise, filtered or limited results. Google usually ignores non-search punctuation.

Note: do not use spaces between the commands I will show you and the search term. For example: the search querysite:repubblica.itis valid, butsite: repubblica.itit is not. So pay attention to the spaces.

Forces a phrase match search ( see the meaning of this match type in AdWords ). Use it to refine the results of ambiguous searches or to exclude synonyms when searching for single words. Example:

  • “Nike Air”

Searches for X or Y. This operator will return results relative to X or Y, or both.
Note: The pipe operator (|) can also be used in place of “OR”. Example:

  • Giovanni OR Sacheli
  • John | Sacheli

Searches for X and Y. Searches with the AND operator return only results for X and Y.
Note: It doesn’t make much difference to use AND, since Google places an “AND” between words anyway. On the other hand, it is useful when combined with other operators, such as the following. Example:

  • jobs AND gates

The minus operator excludes a term or phrase. In the following example, any pages returned will be related to windows but there will be no results that include the word wood. Example:

  • windows -wood

Works as a wildcard, a joker and will match any word or phrase. Example:

  • Powerful car *

Group multiple search terms or operators to order and prioritize search items. Example:

  • (ipad OR iphone) apple

Search by prices. It also works with the euro symbol (€), but not the pound (£). Example:

  • galaxy s8 € 450

This search operator calls a dictionary integrated in Google. A query with a define: keyword operator will show the meaning of a word directly in the SERP. Example:

  • define: startup

Returns the most recent version of the page in Google’s cache (provided the page is indexed, of course). Example:

  • cache: apple.com

Limit search results to those of a certain file type. For example: PDF, DOCX, TXT, PPT, etc. Note: You can also use the “ext:” operator (which stands for extension), the results are identical. Example:

  • giovanni sacheli filetype: pdf
  • giovanni sacheli ext: pdf

Circumscribes / limits the results to those of a specific domain. Example:

  • site: evemilano.com

Note: if you want to query a third level domain you must include it in the query otherwise you will see results for all third level domains.

  • site: www.evemilano.com

Finds websites related to the entered domain. Example:

  • related: evemilano.com

Finds pages with a certain word (or words) in the title tag. The following example will return all results containing “apple” or “iphone” in the title tag. Example:

  • titled: apple iphone

Similar to “titolo”, but only results containing all the specified words in the title tag will be returned. Example:

  • allintitle: apple iphone

Note: to force the sequence of characters you can use quotes allintitle: “cross helmet”

Finds pages with a certain word (or words) in the URL. For this example, all results containing “apple” or “iphone” in the URL will be returned. Example:

  • inurl: apple iphone

Similar to “inurl”, but only results containing all words specified in the URL will be returned. Example:

  • allinurl: apple iphone

Note: Also used with “xy” quotes to fix the exact sequence of characters in the results.
allinurl: “apple iphone”

Finds pages containing a certain word (or words) somewhere in the content. For this example, all results containing “eve milano” or “evemilano” in the page content will be returned. Example:

  • intext: eve milano evemilano

Similar to “intext”, but only results containing all words specified somewhere on the page will be returned. Example:

  • allintext: giovanni sacheli

Note: Also used with “xy” quotes to fix the exact sequence of characters in the results.
allintext: “giovanni sacheli”

Search for terms in proximity. This operator allows you to find pages containing two words or phrases within X words that separate them from each other. For this example, the words “sacheli” and “SEO” must be present in the content and must not have more than four words between the two terms. Example:

  • sacheli AROUND (4) SEO

Finds the weather for a specific location such as a city, region or geographic area. Example:

  • weather: milan

This search operator allows you to view stock information (for example, price, etc.) for a specific stock. Example:

  • stocks: goog

Forces Google to show map results for a local search. Example:

  • map: silicon valley

Note: Currently this works on Google.com but not on Google.it.

Find information about a specific movie. Also find movie showtimes if the movie is currently showing in theaters near you. Example:

  • movie: ex machina

Converts one unit to another. It works with currencies and units of measure, weights, temperatures, etc. Example:

  • $ 700 in GBP

Find news results from a certain source in Google News. Example:

  • Ferrari source: republic

Defines a date by which a given resource was indexed.

Defines a date after which a given resource was indexed.

Before and after are two recent search operators, released with a Tweet in April 2019 . These commands can be used individually or together:

  • avengers endgame after: 2019-03-01 before: 2019-03-05
  • avengers endgame before: 2019
  • site: evemilano.com after: 2017

You can enter year / month / day or just the year and google transforms the date into the beginning or end of the year based on the operator:
[before: 2018] = [before: 2018-01-01]
[after: 2018] = [ after: 2018-12-31]

As a separator you can use “-” or “/”.

You can avoid entering zeros of months and days:

Advanced search operators

Simulated location

Google always interprets our queries, if the search assumes to obtain local results Google will show us results for activities close to where we are located. Through the advanced operator “near” we can simulate a different location so as to have results as if we were in that area.



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