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Google Advanced Search

Google is a great tool to help you find what you are looking for, but knowing the ins and outs of using Google’s various search operators can help you use it to its full potential.
I have compiled a list of Google Advanced Search Operators, which are key phrases/symbols you can add to the search bar or the URL in a Google search to get more exact results.
Click through this handy guide to find out how you can get the most out of Google Search. The true power of this is when we mix and match these operators and modifiers to perform complex searches.
Google advanced search operators are the bread and butter of seasoned SEO specialists. Most digital marketers would be quite familiar with these and will not need a cheat sheet for most, but for anyone starting out these Google advanced search operators can prove to be quite tricky. This is why I have decided to maintain a Google Advanced Search Operator cheat sheet that you can bookmark for future reference. I hope to keep this list updated with the latest Google advanced search operator tips and tricks and also will be looking at standard Google search operators and URL Modifiers.
Search operators are split in to Symbols, Basic and Advance. They are used in the Google search field – where you type in your query while using Google. The URL modifiers are used in the URL field at the top of your browser to fine tune the search results.
For the Purpose of this Article and to demonstrate how they can be applied I will just use some Example Search Words but those can be replaced by ANY other Word or Words.
First off a List of Symbols which can be used (correct and updated at time of writing) but if you know of any others which have been added please let me know and I will glady add them.

Symbols

  • ” [Quotation marks]
    • When you put a word or phrase in quotes, the results will only include pages with the same words in the same order as the ones inside the quotes. Say you search for king jacob twitter ( no quotes ) you get the results for Jacob King’s twitter account. If you put that in quotes “king jacob twitter” ( with quotes ) Google will look for those terms in the given order. You can use this operator when you’re looking for an exact word or phrase.
      It’s also useful to force Google to search for the keyword you provide and not auto correct your query “colorhunt” vs “colourhunt” (with a U)
  • _ [Underscore]
    • This is a tricky one because it does not work in traditional search but is an awesome little operator to gather keyword ideas in Google auto-suggest. Just drop the _ between two keywords and Google will give you a few suggested filler keywords that they think are important from a search user’s point of view. You obviously want to be in Incognito mode for this.
  • * [Asterisk]
    • Asterisk can be used as a placeholder for any unknown or wildcard terms. This is a great operator when you are not sure of a certain part of the query.
      e.g. a * in need is a friend *
  • – [Minus]
    • When you use a dash before a word or site, it excludes sites with that info from your results. This is useful for words with multiple meanings, like Jaguar the car brand and jaguar the animal.
      e.g. jaguar speed -car vs jaguar speed
  • | [Pipe operator]
    • The pipe operator functions with the same logic as an OR operator – you can just as easily use the word “OR” instead of the pipe operator, provided it’s in CAPS. This means that Google will look for either the first word or the second word or both.e.g. kylo ren vs kylo | ren. You will see that when you search for “kylo | ren” a brand called Renskincare comes up because it matches the OR query for Ren.
  • .. [Range operator]
    • You can put 2 periods between the numbers, with no space and add a unit of measure to specify a range e.g. 20..80 years old will give you results which specifies numbers between 20 and 80. Another use for this is to add .. as a suffix and Google will give you results greater than the number e.g. 20.. years old gives results where numbers greater than 20 are mentioned.

Basic Operators

  • OR
    • This is the same as the pipe operator “|” mentioned above.e.g. kylo ren vs kylo OR ren. You will see that when you search for “kylo OR ren” a brand called Renskincare comes up because it matches the OR query for Ren.
  • filetype:
    • Restricts the search results by file type extension — it’s great when you only want to look for images, PPT, etc.e.g. TED talk filetype:ppt for powerpoints, or TED talk filetype:doc if you’re looking for word documents instead.
  • site:
    • Restricts the search results to a specific top level domain or standard domain – it’s for when you want to get results from a specific site or only from .gov sites etc.e.g. healthcare site:.gov for results from only .gov TLD and for site specific search you would use something like this review link site:supple.com.au
  • related:
    • This is the operator you use to find other sites that are similar to the one you provide. It’s great when you want to figure out who your organic competitors are. Others use this feature to discover other possible sources that could link to you by providing a site that links to your content. Please note that you can use domain or URI as the parameter for this but NOT keywords.
      e.g. These folks are my organic competition related:saijogeorge.com. NOTE: DON’T add a space after the :, if you do Google will just do a keyword search. e.g. related: saijogeorge.com
  • cache:
    • You can see what a page looked like the last time Google visited the page, here is how BBC looked the last time Google visited them cache:bbc.com

Advanced Operators

  • allintext: / intext:
    • Limits the search results to content that has the query terms you specify in the text on the page. allintext: should be used at the start of the query and will only return results that include all the included keywords. intext: can be used anywhere in the query and will only include the term immediately following the :.Using allintext: hacker news ycombinator looks for results with all three words in the on-page text content. You can use hacker news intext:ycombinator to get results with ycombinator in the text and hacker or news appearing anywhere on the page.
  • allintitle: / intitle:
    • If you start your query with allintitle: Google only shows you results containing pages that use all the query terms you specify in the meta title. When we search for allintitle: Google Review Direct Link Generator Google looks for results with all these words in the meta title.
  • allinurl: / inurl:
    • With the allinurl: operator Google shows you results containing pages that use all the query terms you specify in the url. When we search for allinurl: Supple Google looks for results with supple in the url.
  • allinanchor: / inanchor:
    • allinanchor: returns results to those pages where all the keywords are used as anchor text. Let us consider this example : allinanchor: styleguides saijo returns the pages that are linked to using the words “styleguides” and “saijo”.
  • AROUND()
    • This operator allows you to specify keyword proximity by limiting the number of words that can appear between two keywords. The AROUND() operator MUST BE IN CAPS and the number sets the max distance between the two terms. Say you want to asses the relationship between two terms ( petrol and diesel ) with your main keyword ( car ) you could do something like this car AROUND(2) petrol and car AROUND(2) diesel
  • Difference between allin… and in…
    • — The allin…. operators should be used at the start of your query and can have a space after the :
      — The NON allin…. versions can be used multiple times in a query and the term should be included after the : with no space.
      — Something like allintitle: Saijo George is the same as intitle:Saijo intitle:George
      — allin…. operators can’t be used with any other operators.

URL Modifiers

  • Info about URL Modifiers
    • Unlike the search operators these are not something you can add to the Google search box but these modifiers should be added to the SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) URL.
  • &tbs=qdr:h – Results from past Hour
    • With this URL modifier Google will display the results from the past hour. To trigger this just add &tbs=qdr:h to the end of the SERP URL. You can also modify the parameter to show different time ranges as shown below— &tbs=qdr:s – Results from past sec, e.g. star wars&tbs=qdr:n – Results from past minute, e.g. star wars

      &tbs=qdr:h – Results from past hour, e.g. star wars

      &tbs=qdr:d – Results from past day, e.g. star wars

      &tbs=qdr:w – Results from past week, e.g. star wars

      &tbs=qdr:m – Results from past month, e.g. star wars

      &tbs=qdr:y – Results from past year, e.g. star wars

      Remember you can also specify the number at the end of these parameters to specify the time e.g. &tbs=qdr:s10 = results from last 10 seconds, &tbs=qdr:n10 = results from last 10 minutes, etc.

      You can also get the results from a specific date range e.g. results from 2015. Just use this parameter &tbs=cdr:1,cd_min:1/01/2015,cd_max:31/12/2015 ( swap out the start and end date as needed ).

  • &tbm=blg – Blog Search
  • &tbm=app – App Search
    • Use this modifier to bring up Google app search for your query. app search for puppy. App query can be further modified using these secondary parameters:— &tbs=app_price:free – To get free apps e.g. free puppy apps&tbs=app_price:paid – To get paid apps e.g. paid puppy apps

      &tbs=app_os:1 – To get android apps e.g. Android puppy apps

      &tbs=app_os:13 – To get iOS apps e.g. iOS puppy apps

      Some of these can be stacked together to fine-tune the results. e.g. To get free Android apps you can use both &tbs=app_os:1 and &tbs=app_price:free, eg free android puppy apps.

  • &tbm=vid – Video Search
    • Use this modifier to bring up Google video search for your query. video search for puppy. Video query can be further modified using these secondary parameters:Country operator only works if you use country specific Google domains, e.g. if you want to restrict the results the to only websites targeting Australian users you can add the URL modifier &cr=countryAU to a query on the Google.com.au domain. It will not work on .com, .co.uk or other Google domains.— Results from UK – Google.co.uk

      Results from India – Google.co.in

      Use this country specific video search URL generator, to create your custom search URL, we only list countries that support the &cr=country operator.

  • &tbm=pts – Patent Search
    • Use this modifier to bring up Google patent search for your query. patent search for mobile. Patent query can be further modified using these secondary parameters:Country operator only works if you use country specific Google domains, e.g. if you want to restrict the results to only websites targeting Cypriot users you can add the URL modifier &cr=countryCY to a query on the Google.com.cy domain. It will not work on .com, .co.uk or other Google domains.— Results from UK – Google.co.uk

      Results from India – Google.co.in

      Use this country specific video search URL generator, to create your custom search URL, we only list countries that support the &cr=country operator.

  • &tbm=shop – Shopping Search
    • Use this modifier to bring up Google shopping results for your query e.g. shopping search for mobile. Shopping query can be further modified using these secondary parameters:&tbs=local_avail:1 – limits results to locally available products&tbs=new:1 – limits results to new items

      &tbs=brand:nokia – limits results to products from nokia, you can obviously replace the name of the brand with other brand names. &tbs=brand:nokia try replacing nokia with lg, samsung, etc.

      You can also get shopping results between specific price ranges e.g. mobile phone between $50 – $170. Just use this parameter &tbs=price:1,ppr_min:50,ppr_max:170 ( swap out the min and max price as needed ).

  • &tbs=li:1 – Verbatim
    • With this URL modifier Google will use the literal words you entered without making normal improvements such as automatic spelling corrections, looking for synonyms , etc. To trigger this just add &tbs=li:1 to the end of the SERP(Search Engine Result Pages) URL. Here is a standard search for beogle puppy where google auto-corrects your query and a verbatim search for beogle puppy
  • &cr=countryCY – Results from Cypriot Websites
    • This operator only works if you use country specific Google domains, e.g. if you want to restrict the results to only websites targeting Cypriot users you can add the URL modifier &cr=countryCY to a query on the Google.com.cy domain. It will not work on .com, .co.uk or other Google domains.— Results from UK – Google.co.ukResults from India – Google.co.in

      Use this country specific video search URL generator, to create your custom search URL, we only list countries that support the &cr=country operator.

  • &pws=0 – Disable personalized Results
    • Finding a lot of personalized results in the SERP? Look out for things like You’ve visited this page x times. OR results from G+ etc. Slapping on &pws=0 at the end of the SERP URL should give you non personalized results.
  • &filter=0 – Disable filtering of Results
    • You might have noticed that at times you get a message saying something like this, In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the x already displayed.
      If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.
      To get unfiltered result just add &filter=0 at the end of the SERP URL e.g. non filtered results.
  • &tbm=lcl – Bring up Local Finder
    • If you want to bring up the Local Finder for any local search just add the operator &tbm=lcl to the end of the URL.You may or may not get the regular result with the Snak Pak for certain queries eg: Credit Cards now to get the Local Finder for this result you add &tbm=lcl to the end of the URL : Credit Cards with Local Finder

      This URL modifier was suggested by Darren Shaw the founder of Whitespark, a company that builds software and provide services for local SEO.

Custom Templates

  • Identify Keyword Difficulty
    • When you want to identify how difficult a particular keyword is going to be, it’s a good idea to look at these three allintext:, allintitle: and allinanchor: operators. For example, , if you want to see how difficult it will be to rank for the term ‘œmelbourne plumbers’, you can perform these searches— allintext: – this will tell us how many pages have optimized their content with this keyword— allintitle: – this will tell us how many pages have optimized their title with this keyword

      allinanchor: – this will tell us how many pages have built links with this keyword

      SaijoGeorge is the SEO Strategy Director at Supple, an award winning digital agency from Melbourne, Australia. He co-organizes the Melbourne SEO Meetups and is always thinking about the next side project.

  • Looking for cat Gifs?
    • If you are looking for gifs Ria Blagburn has a handy tip. She often finds funny gifs using the image search modifier &tbm=isch with secondary modifiers for imzge size isz:m and type itp:animated. So this is the cat gif modifier you want to use.

      Ria Blagburn is a content and marketing specialist and helps startups refine their sales and marketing strategy as co-founder of GrowBeyond.

  • Discover Local Forums
    • Hardy uses a combination of site: and inurl: operator to find local forums about any given topic. Check out two of the sample query he uses one and two.

      Hardy is a SEO expert who helps SMB owners connect with experts and influencers so they can rapidly grow their business together.

  • Local Sponsorship Opportunities
    • Sponsoring a local meetups is a way to earn great links and maybe non-Google sources of customers. Phil likes to find local Meetup.com groups that don’t have sponsors with the site search operator. You can add intitle:keyword to the end if you want to find a specific type of meetup – e.g. intitle:photography or intitle:latino.. Check out the query here.

      Phil Rozek is an internationally recognized authority on local SEO and online reviews. Check out his blog.

  • Find dev/test/staging/backup sites
    • At times clients might have dev/test/staging/backup sites indexed by Google, Chris Burgess uses the minus operator and the site: operator to uncover this. This is also a good way to find content that is not on the main site. Check out the query here.

      Chris Burgess is a passionate technology consultant from Melbourne, Australia. He runs the SEO Melbourne meetup and is the WordPress Editor for SitePoint.

  • Recently published .edu Blog Posts
    • Vishnu tells me that he likes to combine advanced search operators and URL modifiers to find backlink opportunities that might otherwise go unnoticed. An example would be to find .edu blog posts about marketing resources from the last year. He used blog search modifier &tbm=blg with secondary modifiers for fetching blog posts tbas=0 then threw in the site: operator and time filter to limit the results to .edu posts published in 2015. Check out the query here.

      Vishnu is an all-round internet marketing specialist with over 7 years of specialisation in SEO and SEM.

  • Discover local marketing experts
    • Alistair uses advance search operators to find local experts who present at meetups and other events. He uses the filetype operator filetype:ppt and the site: operator to restrict the result to .au domains. Check out the query here.

      Alistair is a digital content writer, specializing in copywriting and search engine optimization. He’s currently completing a BFA in Screenwriting.

  • Find where influencers are active
    • Nick uses the &tbs=qdr:w and inurl:operators to find which network his target influencers are most active on. Here is a sample query.

      Nick is a marketing expert at Supple. He is always analyzing marketing reports or investigating emerging trends in digital marketing.

  • Find specific Content on specific Sites
    • If you are trying to place a piece of content, like an infographic or a chart, John-Henry Scherck has an advanced query to find similar articles from a list of sites you want to get placed on. This allows you to quickly find authors who have published similar content. So, if we wanted to get an infographic about sales on Business Insider, Forbes, Inc, Fast Company or Huffington Post, try using this advanced query. He uses a combination of (, AND, OR, site: operators to get this info.
  • Discover new Content by Competitors
    • Ajit often likes to keep a close eye on the competition and what they are doing, using an advanced search to look for new pages on the target domain by excluding the blog content to find new landing pages launched by them. He uses a combination of the -, inurl: and site: operators, this is the query he uses.

      Ajit is an online marketing professional with well over 7 years of experience in on-page and off-page SEO.

  • Discover Indexation Issues
    • You can use multiples of the same sort of variants to verify if different versions of your site are being indexed or not. For example, sites with a mobile subdomain, or both www and non-www versions of the site resolve, you might need to check indexation on each of these using the familiar inurl operator, or negatives/combinations of negatives like this: sample query

This Article was first published (and re printed here) on

Google Search Cheat Sheet

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