Google Search Operators

What are Google search operators?

Google search operators are special characters and commands (sometimes called “advanced operators”) that extend the capabilities of regular text searches. Search operators can be useful for everything from content research to technical SEO audits.

How do I use search operators?

You can enter search operators directly into the Google search box, just as you would a text search:

Except in special cases (such as the “in” operator), Google will return standard organic results.

Google search operators cheat sheet

You can find all of the major organic search operators below, broken up into three categories: “Basic”, “Advanced”, and “Unreliable”. Basic search operators are operators that modify standard text searches.

I. Basic Search Operators

“your word”Put any phrase in quotes to force Google to use exact-match. In single words, it prevents synonyms.
ORyour word OR your word Google search defaults to logical AND between terms. Specify “OR” for a logical OR (ALL-CAPS).
|your word | your word The pipe (|) operator is identical to “OR”. Useful if your Caps-lock is broken 🙂
( )(your word OR your word) alternating current Use parentheses to group operators and control the order in which they execute.
your word -your word Put a minus (-) in front of any term (including operators) to exclude that term from the results.
*your word “your word * your word” An asterisk (*) acts as a wild-card and will match on any word.
#..#your word..your word Use (..) with numbers on either side to match on any integer in that range of numbers.
$your word deposit $1000 Search prices with the dollar sign ($). You can combine ($) and (.) for exact prices, like $19.99.
€9,99 lunch deals Search prices with the Euro sign (€). Most other currency signs don’t seem to be honoured by Google.
in250 kph in mph Use “in” to convert between two equivalent units. This returns a unique, Knowledge Card style result.

Advanced search operators are special commands that modify searches and may require additional parameters (such as a domain name). Advanced operators are typically used to narrow searches and drill deeper into results.

II. Advanced Search Operators

intitle:intitle:”your word vs your word” Search only in the page’s title for a word or phrase. Use exact-match (quotes) for phrases.
allintitle:allintitle: your word vs your word your word OR you word
Search the page title for every specific term following “allintitle:”. Same as multiple in the title:’s.
inurl:tesla announcements inurl:2016 your word | your word
Look for a word or phrase (in quotes) in the document URL. It can combine with other terms.
allinurl:allinurl: amazon field-keywords nikon Search the URL for every individual term following “allinurl:”. Same as multiple inurl:’s.
intext:intext:”orbi vs eero vs google wifi” Search for a word or phrase (in quotes), but only in the body/document text.
allintext:allintext: orbi eero google wifi Search the body text for every individual term following “allintext:”. Same as multiple intexts:’s.
filetype:“your word announcements” filetype: pdf Match only a specific file type. Some examples include PDF, DOC, XLS, PPT, and TXT.
related:related:nytimes.com Return sites that are related to a target domain. It only works for larger domains.
AROUND(X)your word AROUND(3) edison Returns results where the two terms/phrases are within (X) words of each other.

Unreliable operators have either been found to produce inconsistent results or have been deprecated altogether. The “link:” operator was officially deprecated in early 2017. It appears that “inanchor:” operators are still in Use, but return very narrow and sometimes unreliable results. Use link-based operators only for initial research.

III. Unreliable/Deprecated Operators

~~cars Include synonyms. It seems to be unreliable, and synonym inclusion is default now.
++cars Force exact-match on a single phrase. Deprecated with the launch of Google+.
date range:tesla announcements date range:2457663-2457754 Return results in the specified range. It can be inconsistent. Requires Julian dates.
link:link:nytimes.com Find pages that link to the target domain. This operator was deprecated in early 2017.
inanchor:inanchor:”tesla announcements” Find pages linked to with the specified anchor text/phrase. Data is heavily sampled.
allinanchor:allinanchor: tesla announcements Find pages with all individual terms after “inanchor:” in the inbound anchor text.

Note that, for all of the “all in…:” operators, Google will try to apply the operator to every term following it. Combining “allin…:” operators with any other operators will almost never produce the desired results.


Search Operator Tips & Tricks

Having all of the pieces is only the first step in building a puzzle. The real power of search operators comes from combining them.

1. Chain together operator combos

You can chain together almost any combination of text searches, basic operators, and advanced operators:

"nikola tesla" intitle:"top 5..10 facts" -site:youtube.com inurl:2015

This search returns any pages that mention “Nikola Tesla” (exact-match), have the phrase “Top (X) facts” in the title, where X ranges from 5 to 10, are not on YouTube.com, and have “2015” somewhere in the URL.

2. Hunt down plagiarized content

Trying to find out if your content is unique or if someone is plagiarizing you? Use a unique phrase from your text, put it in quotes (exact-match) after an “intext:” operator, and exclude your site with “-site:”…

intext:"helen jones is amazing at soluble fish" -site:moz.com

Similarly, you can use “intitle:” with a long, exact-match phrase to find duplicate copies of your content.

3. Audit your HTTP->HTTPS transition

Switching a site from HTTP to HTTPS can be challenging. Double-check your progress by seeing how many of each type of page Google has indexed. Use the “site:” operator on your root domain and then exclude HTTPS pages with “-inurl:”…

site:moz.com -inurl:https

This will help you track down any stragglers or find pages that might not have been re-crawled by Google.

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