Six Google Advanced Operators To Help Your SEO Research

by Giuseppe Pastore March 7th, 2011 

Some Google queries can give you a quick overview about the state of a website or help provide free advice for your SEO strategy.

So, today, I'd like to share six Google Advanced Operators I usually use in my daily activity.

1. Site:

site: search operator

Example, [site:example.org]

Limits a search to that specific site.

As shown,the query returns the number of indexed pages of a website.

You can use it to check indexing problems: how many pages does my website have? How many of them are shown in Google's index? Excluding those restricted by robots.txt file, noindex or canonical metatags, if the difference is very evident, there is something wrong.

You can add  folders to check if the problem affects the entire site or not.

You can add keywords to the site query, doing a search for that keyword within in that site.

Example: [site:example.org typing]

Such a search can be useful to find a relevant page to link to or from, for example.

2. Cache:

cache search operator

Example: [cache:www.iana.org]

This query gives us the latest version of the page acquired by spiders and the date of the visit. Is it too long ago Google came by for that page?

Useful to see content that is no longer live on a site. Use the text-only link (or add &strip=1 to the URL in your address bar) to see the cached paged without any CSS,images,etc.

3) Related:

related search operator

Example: [related:example.org]

In theory this query tells you which sites seem related to the same topics as ours.

Google finds related pages by a form of link triangulation, asking "pages that link to this page you're asking about also link to…". This makes the query not just useful to find topically related pages but to identify hubs, authorities, and link networks.

4. Allintitle:

allintitle search operator

Example: [allintitle:example illustration]

Same as typing [intitle:] before each word.

This tells us how many Google results have both keyword1 and keyword2 in the <title>.

May be useful to understand the difficulty degree of a keyphrase. Is it more difficult to target "zombie mask" or "werewolf mask"? Knowing how many documents show the terms in the Title, we can gouge the level of competition.

5. Allinanchor:

allinanchor search operator

Example: [allinanchor:click here]

This one tells you which pages have inbound links with the anchor text containing all searched terms. Is my keyword object of intense link building? Who ranks for my anchor text?Why?

6. Allinurl:

allinurl search operator

Example, [allinurl:example illustration]

This tells us how many results contain all the search terms in the URL.  Can provide another view on the competition.

Do you use any of these?

Giuseppe Pastore

I'm an electronic engineer happily converted to SEO and at the moment I work in a well known italian search marketing agency. In my personal blog, Posizionamento Zen, I mostly write about Search Engine Optimisation, with a little interest in Social Media Marketing too.

Posizionamento Zen

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12 Responses to “Six Google Advanced Operators To Help Your SEO Research”

  1. [...] Six Google Advanced Operators To Help Your SEO Research, Search Engine People [...]

  2. Steve Hall says:

    Nice post on advanced search operators. Probably the one I don't use as much as I could is the related operator. As you say this can be a useful way of finding related sites and authority/hub sites that may be beneficial for seo purposes.

  3. Giuseppe says:

    Hi Steve,
    thank you for appreciating this post. I use related: operator less frequently than the others too, but it can be useful to identify some linking opportunities…

  4. [...] Six Google Advanced Operators To Help Your SEO Research Some Google queries can give you a quick overview about the state of a website or help provide free advice for your SEO strategy. The author shares six Google Advanced Operators they use daily… [...]

  5. karen says:

    Hi, complete newbie here but appreciate the great resources, thanks! I checked the cache link and came up with a 3/5 Google visit(today is 3/24) Is it supposed to be daily? What is an acceptable time frame between visits?

  6. smith says:

    Thanks. I really appreciate the Google search tips such as allintitle, allinurl, etc. I never knew about them until recently, have no idea what they would be called in a search, but find them very useful.

    Here's one when you are looking for blogs:
    "site:.com inurl:blog + "post a comment" + search engine optimization"

  7. Thanks for sharing your cool stuff. :)

    For those six operators, I’ve been using them for a long time. Some additional tips for those unfamiliar:

    Combine intitle, inurl, and inanchor for your keyword of choice to further narrow down the number of targeted competitors in a niche. Sometimes you will find zero.

  8. Tudor Davies says:

    "Site:" is so useful, especially for old sites that don't have search boxes. I use it practically every day.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Definitely! I have a little site: bookmarklet on my bookmark toolbar just for it. Why use crappy site search when you can really search the site?!

  9. Tim says:

    Hey there,

    cool tips. The funny thing is, I found that blog here using exactly the described methods. :D

    Cheers