The Ultimate Guide to Google Search Operators

by | Dec 12, 2018

There are so many things you take for granted in your knowledge and this is especially so when you’ve been at this since 1998 like me!

One of those things is how to use Google for search. Get out of here Mark everyone knows how to use Google for search! We use it all the time. Yes, granted but there is using something and then REALLY using something.

I made a post about this on our Facebook page. It was a throwaway post really as I was tired and wanted to post something useful up so I just put a couple of search operators out there.

After I had posted that I sat and thought, hang on a minute most people probably don’t know anything at all about advanced search or indeed all the operators that you can use either.

Let’s do a Blog post. This is fortuitous as I was also looking for my next blog post and wanted it to be something useful.

Google constantly kills off search operators and adds new ones but as I write this all of these ones work for you.

So without further ado here is a huge list of Google search operators that you can use to enhance your research.

Search Term in Quotes

“Search Term”
Enclosing your search in “” forces Google to give you an exact match and filters out ambiguous results.

Example: “Samsung Note 9”

Using OR
You can search for both terms by using the OR separator in your query. You can also use a pipe | instead of OR like this.

Example: “Samsung OR Note 9”
Example: “Samsung | Note 9”

Using And
Enclosing your search in “” forces Google to give you an exact match and filters out ambiguous results.

Example: “Samsung Note 9”

Excluding terms: 

You can of course exclude phrase from your searches by introducing the minus symbol – like this.

Example: “Samsung -Note 9”

Using a Wildcard
You can add in a wildcard * that will match any word or phrase.

Example: “Bob * Marley”

Grouping search terms
Example: (Note 8 OR Note 9) Samsung

You can also search for prices of things

Example: Note 9 $350
This does not work for £££ sadly. Fat chance of finding a Note 9 for $350 too LOL

How about when you need a definition? Google has its own dictionary don’t you know.


Example: Define: SEO

What about when you want to see the most recent version of a page in Googles cache.
Example: cache:

Maybe you’re searching for files or file types like PDFs.


Example: Samsung filetype:pdf
Example: Samsung filetype:txt

Note: With this one you can also use the extension operator like this

Example: Samsung ext: txt

Perhaps you just want to see results for a particular website


How about finding site related to a site


Find pages on a website with certain words in the title

Example: intitle:Samsung

Find pages on a website with certain words in the title but on display the words in the query

Example: allintitle: Samsung Note 9

Find pages with certain words within the URL

Example: inurl:Note9

Find pages with certain words within the URL BUT only results containing ALL the words will be returned

Example: allinurl:Note 9

Find pages with certain words within the page content

Example: intext:Note 9

Find pages with certain words within the page content BUT only display the specified words in the query

Example: allintext:Note 9

This is an odd one but find words that are only certain words apart from each other!
Around ()

Example: samsung (2) Note 9

How about the weather.

Example: weather:London

Looking for stock prices?

Example: stocks:googl

How about maps?

Example: map:London

Lets go to the Movies with this one.

Example: movie:lord of the rings

Maybe you want to convert a unit into another unit.

Example: $350 in GBP

Maybe you want to find news from a certain source.

Example: Samsung source:bbc

How about you’re looking for a job?

Example: Samsung CEO _jobs

Some of the following operators work and some don’t. They are a bit hit and miss to be honest.

Searching for date ranges

Example: iron man video 2010..2016

Finding the anchor text

Example: inanchor:Samsung note 9

Finding the anchor text but delving a little deeper by only displaying the results specified in the query

Example: allinanchor:Samsung note 9

How about finding news from a certain location

Example: loc:”London” Note 9 events

That’s about it for the current list. As I said above some get added and some get deleted as time goes by. You have to play around with them to see which are working currently.

So lets have a play around with some of these to see how you can use them effectively.

Finding Errors in Googles Index

Let’s be honest here errors within Googles index exist for most of us and our sites. This can be for a variety of reasons:

A page should be indexed but is not
A page should not be indexed but is

So let’s have a play around with the site operator to see how many pages Samsung have indexed.

Oh only 2.3 million pages LOL.

How many of these are static pages and how many are blog posts though? Lets have a look.

Only 75 out of 2.3 million! It appears they are not that fussed about promoting their blog then.

Let’s have a look at their sub domains. I’m using the wildcard * operator here to find all the subdomains that belong to Samsung. I’m also combining it with the exclusion operator – to exclude regular www results.

You can also have a play around with these two operators: — This one helps you to find WordPress blog category pages inurl:tag — This one helps you find WordPress “tag” pages.

Finding non‐secure http pages (non‐https)

Let’s see if we can find any non HTTPS insecure pages. As you may or indeed may not know. HTTPS is a MUST now. So it is important to know if you or your client has any NON HTTPS pages that are indexed.

Using my Samsung example, you can see they have quite a few! 157000 to be exact LOL

I’m actually not surprised at this. Large brands and large sites often have a distinct lack of SEO understanding. They are huge and many people work on their website so as a consequence their sites are often a mess. You would need to have a mandate from them that you have total power over the whole site to be able to fix this for them.

As a note here, sometimes you can have a page indexed within Google that looks to be insecure but when you click through to it it’s actually secure. This can be for a variety of reasons.

Finding duplicate content issues

A LOT of people on the internet just copy your stuff. It’s a fact. You can find it though by using this one.

This is a snippet of copy from Samsung’s page

Let’s take a look and see how many times this copy appears on Samsung.

43 then.

Ok let’s take a look and see how many other sites are using it.

19200 times it appears on other pages. Now to be fair a lot of this might be syndicated and Samsung might not actually care that others are using their copy to promote their phone.

You can use this powerful technique on your own content though!

Finding old files and page on your website (that you may have forgotten about)

Let’s be honest here, the larger your website becomes the more cluttered up with old rubbish it gets. It’s inevitable. Lost pages, lost files, you name it. All sitting there on your server, some of them indexed. Forgotten by you long ago.

How can you find it all?

Try this one

19500 PDFs.

I’m not sure I would want to trawl through that lot LOL. But you get the idea. Hopefully, your site will be smaller and easier to manage than Samsung’s.

Find guest post opportunities

This is one you can use if you want to get valuable backlinks and you can write of course.

Looking for guest post opportunities.

22,000 results looking for authors on Facebook advertising. Let’s mix it up a bit

9000 results looking for SEO authors!

This one is also showing the In URL results

You can play around with this one a lot. Most any subject you can think of works if you want to guest post. Don’t stop there though also try these below.

“become a contributor”
“contribute to”
“write for me”
“guest post guidelines”

Mix it up with the following:
Searching for many

Multiple Niches (Pronounced Niche in the UK and Nitch for my American friends)

How about searching in a specific country

Find resource page opportunities

There are a lot of resources on the internet. Tons in fact. So how do you find the stuff that is relevant to you easily and wade through the dross?

If you have some great resources on your site or you are looking for others try this one.

644000 resources on SEO! I’m not surprised by that. Let’s have a look for Facebook advertising and see what we come back with.

Over 6 million! Strewth…

Let’s narrow that down some.

This is much better. 27000 now.

How about looking for the specific number? 5 tips on!! Etc Like this.

As you can see this is returning 5 and also 7 tips on Facebook advertising.

This is very powerful stuff and you can really get hooked in once you understand how to use these queries. Most all of the people I know have no clue about them at all.

Find sites that feature infographics… Then pitch Yours to them!

Infographics. I love them myself. A nice one looks great, but they also get a bad rap. This is because there are a plethora of cheap ones made on fiver for yep you guessed it a fiver LOL. As you know cheap = crap. If you don’t know that go and buy the cheapest kitchen you can and see how long it lasts you!

Working with infographics is easy.

  1. Create one
  2. Find someone to pitch it to
  3. Pitch it and get it listed on their website
  4. Get a link from it
  5. Happiness ensues

Ok but who do you pitch them too? How about finding someone using a search operator?

This one is good but we can of course refine it some more. Try this one..

Much better with nice results returned.

You can take a look at these sites and see if they would like to post up your latest infographic for a link back of course and some PR.

Finding link prospects and checking how relevant they are

We all want links! Try this one out.

Or this

Again you can play around with this to find related sites to your own. Lets see how relevant they are.

Do a quick calculation here. 22500 / 14800 = 1.52
Greater than 0.75 is VERY relevant so at 1.52 SEM Rush is all about SEO. As we know.

Finding social profiles for outreach purpose

How about you want to find someone’s social media profile information. Try this one.

Contact away ? Hopefully he will respond but don’t hold your breath or light a candle on that one. You never know though!

Finding sponsored Post opportunities

Sponsored posts promote your brand, product or service. However, Google does not like paid for links! This is what they have to say on the matter:

Link schemes

“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behaviour that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results”

So because of that you should always NoFollow them. The true value of a sponsored post does not come from the links they provide anyway. It comes from the PR and the review it provides.

Play around with this one with these modifiers:

[niche] intext:”this is a sponsored post by”
[niche] intext:”this post was sponsored by”
[niche] intitle:”sponsored post”
[niche] intitle:”sponsored post archives” inurl:”category/sponsored-post”

Find Q+A threads related to your content and then answer them!ties

Yep search for Questions and then jump in and answer them. Again this is not about links and more about PR for you and your brand.

Over 40000 results. Plenty for you to show your knowledge and help people out here. Answer one a day ? or more.

Again you can just change the site to your chosen niche to find your opportunities here.

Find out how often your competitors are publishing new content

First you have to know who your competitors are of course ? But this is a good one to keep an eye on.

Not that Sem rush are a competitor of ours but they have 3140 Posts. Lets see how many in the past 24 hours and so on.

This is a nice way to keep an eye on someone’s Blog and also the frequency that they post to it.

Find sites linking to your competitors

This is a great way to go after your competitor’s links. Try this one.

Again using the tools menu, you can filter by date range. I am quite sure we would all like to be getting this many links each day eh ?

Some Final Thoughts

Phew I’m done! Google advanced search operators are insanely powerful. You just have to know how to use them. I hope this rather lengthy guide has given you some ideas.

Of course, some are way more useful than others. I’m not really going to use the weather one for example.

I like the SEO ones for obvious reasons. I am often using

site:, intitle:, intext:, and inurl: on an an almost daily basis.

Play around with them and enjoy your research. You never know where it might lead you.

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