Google has long become one of the best tools to find any information online. However, there is so much data available that sometimes it fails to show the right content in the TOP results. And that’s where you need to learn some tricks to use Google more efficiently.
To filter your web searches, you can use the so-called Google search operators (GSO): special commands consisting of symbols and characters that narrow down your search according to the specified criteria.
With just one command, you can go from 9,830,000,000 to 1,880,000 results (the second slide).
Using basic operators or combining them makes your search results even more accurate. You can do this with the help of Google or parsing programs—software that is created to automate the process of analyzing and gathering data from search. With a custom parsing tool, you will get the needed information from websites in a matter of hours displayed in a convenient format.
Moreover, if you know how the operators work, you get a lot of tools for internal and external website optimization. Whether you are looking for platforms for guest posting, want to find all competitors that have blogs, or view a cached version of your website, Google search techniques can help you.
Here are the most relevant and effective Google search commands and the ways to use them for SEO.
Google Search operators
With Google search operators, you can get different results depending on your browser settings, IP, and the search engine you use. For example, google.com is a global search engine which results will differ from google.fr—the French local search.
|Note that you can use operators either before or after the query, and even combine or group them to get better results.|
|–||seranking -wikipedia||excludes keywords from search results|
|$/€||SEO analysis $39||searches for prices in a specific currency|
|*||analysis *SEO/PPC||searches for keywords that contain one or several words between them|
|” ”||“best free SEO tools”||shows the exact match keywords|
|OR или (|)||Keyword analysis OR rank tracking||searches for pages containing one of the keywords|
|AND||tesla AND jobs AND California||displays results that contain all entered keywords|
|in или to||$39 in euro||converts currencies and other units|
|( )||(SEO) seranking||shows multiple queries or operators|
|site:||site:seranking.com audit||allows limiting your search to the pages of a particular website|
|site: * –||site:*ebay.com -www||checks the subdomains. Helps find out if all their pages are indexed|
|site: inanchor: –||inanchor:seranking.com -site:seranking.com||finds links with no anchor text|
|( ) inanchor: OR – site:||(inanchor:ebay.com OR inanchor:alibaba.com) -site:ebay.com -site:alibaba.com||finds pages on websites with branded anchor text|
|site: before:||site:seranking.com/blog before:2021-04-01||finds posts published before the specified date|
|site: after: before:||site:seranking.com/blog after:2021-03-01 before:2020-04-01||checks how often your competitors post in their blogs|
|cache:||cache:seranking.com/blog/what-is-seo/||shows content cached in Google search results|
|related:||related:https://seranking.com/website-audit.html||searches for pages related to the topic|
|source:||seo source: forbes||allows finding news published on a particular website|
|map:||map:Boston||displays location on Google Maps|
|movie:||movie:Cruella||shows video content and showtimes near you|
|weather:||weather:Texas||shows weather forecasts|
|stocks:||stocks:microsoft||shows stock quotes & prices|
|define:||define:keyword||finds the definition of a word|
|filetype:||mexican ecommerce filetype:pdf||finds a specific document format|
|site: filetype:||site:ebay.com filetype:pdf||finds different types of documents and files on a specific site|
|AROUND(X)||seo AROUND(2) smm||looks for queries that contain certain number of words in between|
|AROUND(X) inurl||seo AROUND(2) smm inurl:blog||can find the suggestions for blog titles|
|intext:||partners intext:seranking||searches for pages containing a specific keyword|
|intext: -site:||intext:nike.com -site:nike.com||finds websites that mention your competitors|
|site: -site: intext: “ ”||site:https://seranking.com/blog/ -site:https://seranking.com/blog/ctr-seo/ intext:”ctr”||finds pages on your sites for internal linking|
|allintext:||allintext:what is seo||discovers pages that contain particular phrases|
|intitle:||intitle:digital marketing for beginners||finds websites containing particular keywords in titles|
|intitle: “ “ OR||seo intitle: “backlinks” OR intitle:“guest posts”||finds websites that can potentially place branded content or backlinks|
|intitle: “ ” site:||intitle:“SEO Software Comparison” site:https://seranking.com/||finds platforms that can place backlinks or guest posts|
|intitle: “ ” OR site:||optimization intitle:“seo” OR intitle:”smm” site:.de||narrows down the search results to a particular region or country|
|allintitle:||allintitle:free website audit||finds websites with a specific phrase in a title|
|site: allintitle:||allintitle:website audit site:seranking.com||finds pages on specific domains with keywords in titles|
|inurl:||inurl:cheap domains||finds websites with a specific keyword in a URL|
|site: -inurl:||site:Photobucket.com -inurl:https||finds insecure pages on your website|
|inurl: -website.ru||seo inurl:blog -seranking.com||finds competitors that have blogs|
|site: inurl:||site:floraqueen.com inurl:lilies||finds pages with a particular anchor text in a URL to link sibling pages to each other|
|allinurl:||allinurl:converse trainers sale||finds pages with a particular phrase in URLs|
|…||Cannes Film Festival 2019 … 2020||shows data over time|
|location:||location:”paris” apple||looks for news on Google News in a particular location|
|loc:placename||loc:”berlin” iphone||shows results in a particular region|
|inanchor:||inanchor:sony lens||shows pages that contain a particular anchor text|
|allinanchor:||allinanchor:sony lens||shows pages that contain all keywords in the anchor text|
|blogurl:||blogurl:nomadicmatt.com||shows a URL of a blog on a particular domain|
Basic search operators
1. – excludes keywords from search results
If the query contains a word you want to exclude from the search results and not associate it with the entered query, insert a – (minus) symbol in front of this word.
Example: seranking -wikipedia
In our example, we find websites that contain the seranking keyword and exclude the keyword “wikipedia” from the results.
Example: Scorsese -Goodfellas
All the results will contain information about Scorsese without mentioning his movie—“GoodFellas”.
2. $/€ searches for prices in a specific currency
It shows correct results when it comes to euro (€) and dollar ($), however, fails to search for Brazilian real (R$), Philippine peso (₱), and pound sterling (£).
Example: ipad €
In the search results, we can see the iPad prices in euro.
To find a particular price, enter the amount after the currency symbol.
Example: SEO analysis $39
3. * searches for keywords that contain one or several words between them
This operator can find pages with requests containing random or an unknown word/phrase.
Example: analysis *SEO/PPC
As a result, you will find pages with the “analysis” and “SEO / PPC” search queries, which contain one or several words in between. That means that the * operator can replace any number of words sitting between the entered phrases or words.
4. “ ” shows the exact match keywords
When placing the query in quotes, Google will display the same phrase in the search results.
Example: “best free SEO tools”
One of the main benefits of this operator is that it does not show synonyms. Instead, it searches for the exact match. It is extremely helpful when you need to check if anyone is stealing your website content.
By combining -, site :, “ ” commands, you can find content that was copied from your site.
Example: -site:seranking.com “Real-time ranking positions of your website’s keywords across major search engines”
This piece of content is found on 20 other sites.
5. OR and | searches for pages containing one of the keywords
Finds content that has one of the given keywords. The OR command can be substituted for the | symbol (vertical bar). Both OR and | work the same way so you can use any of them.
Example: Keyword analysis OR rank tracking
Important! Use uppercase for this operator (OR instead of or / Or) so that Google doesn’t take it as a query.
6. AND displays results that contain all entered keywords
AND shows results for all keywords united by this command (works correctly for two or more keywords).
Example: SEO AND Google
Note: Google Search has been using AND by default for a long time. However, it is quite effective to use this operator together with others. The command shows its effectiveness in combination with other operators. Remember to use AND in uppercase as well.
7. in converts currencies and other units
With the in operator, you can convert from one measurement to another, including currencies, temperature, length, mass, speed, etc.
Example: $39 in euro
Find all the metrics you can convert in Google Search here.
8. ( ) groups queries
Allows grouping multiple queries or operators.
Example: (SEO OR SMM) seranking
The example below shows a combination of OR and () that searches for one of the requested keywords—SEO OR SMM—and the seranking search query.
Advanced Google Search operators
Note: Google search commands shouldn’t include space between a special character and a search query. Otherwise, you’ll get incorrect results.
Example: site:seranking.ru will work, but site: seranking.ru (added space after the colon) will not.
9. site: searches for pages on a particular site
This Google command allows limiting your search to the pages of a specified resource.
In particular, you can
- find out if your content is unique or if there are any duplicates on competitors’ sites (when combined with the ” ” operator)
- quickly check if the site is indexed
- search for documents and files on website pages (in combination with filetype:)
- find sites for guest posting (in combination with intext:)
- find pages with a keyword in the title (in combination with allintitle:), and much more.
Example: site:seranking.com audit
Enter site:, url, query and get the results containing a particular keyword on a specific website.
It is worth noting that the results of a simple query don’t differ a lot from the results displayed by the operator. Although, when combining with other operators, it significantly expands the search results.
How to combine with other operators:
- By using the site:, *, – you can check the subdomains and find out if all their pages are indexed.
Example: site:*ebay.com -www
Placing the * symbol before the domain excludes the www subdomain.
- With the help of site:, inanchor:, – you can find links with no anchor text.
Example: inanchor:seranking.com -site:seranking.com
- With the help of ( ), inanchor:, OR, -, site: you can find pages on websites with branded anchor text.
Example: (inanchor:ebay.com OR inanchor:alibaba.com) -site:ebay.com -site:alibaba.com
- With the help of site:, before: you can find posts published before a specified date.
Example: site:seranking.com/blog before:2021-04-01
- With the help of site:, after:, before: you can check how often your competitors post in their blogs.
Example: site:seranking.com/blog after:2021-03-01 before:2020-04-01
10. cache: shows content cached in Google Search Results
Displays how Google sees a page. Very helpful command to find out if the search engine managed to see the changes implemented on the page.
If you want to look at your website the way Google does (in the text form), click on the “Text-only version” tab located on the same page.
When we changed banners on the SE Ranking’s blog, it took the search engine a couple of days to refresh the cache. As shown in the second screenshot, Google hasn’t seen the change yet, and the page cache showed the older version.
11. related: searches for the pages related to the topic
This operator displays different websites that contain similar content. With this operator, you can find and analyze your direct competitors and see how they promote their products or services to make informed decisions for your own promotional strategy.
12. source: displays news
This command allows finding news published on a particular website. The results are displayed in Google News.
Example: seo source: forbes
Enter the command in Google News as follows: query source:website. Google will display a list of news related to the query.
13. map: displays location on Google Maps
Enter any city or region and find it on Google Maps.
14. movie: shows video content and showtimes
Enter the query after the colon without space and find videos and movies.
You can also find movie showtimes near you.
15. weather: shows weather forecasts
This operator displays the weather forecast for the particular city.
You can see the results both in snippets and in other sources.
16. stocks: shows stock quotes & prices
Displaying information about the stock prices of a particular company. To see stock price fluctuations, enter the company name after the colon.
17. define: finds the definition of a word
Displays the meaning of words offering results from authoritative sources.
18. filetype: finds a specific document format
Searches for specific extensions: pdf, doc, xls, ppt, txt, svf, avi, mov, as well as zip and rar, etc.
Example: mexican ecommerce filetype:pdf
Let’s say you want to find some studies about Mexican eCommerce instead of reading the articles. Then, you can combine two commands: request filetype:document extension.
By entering site: and filetype: you can find different types of documents and files on a specific site.
Example: site:harvard.edu filetype:pdf
19. AROUND(X) looks for queries that contain specific number of words in between
With the help of this command, you can find keywords that are separated by a particular number of words—X.
Example: seo AROUND(2) smm
In the example, we are looking for both words, SEO and SMM, that can have two or less words between them—seo AROUND(2) smm.
By combining AROUND(X) and inurl, you can find the suggestions for blog titles. Just enter AROUND(X) between the selected keywords and ask Google to show only the results from blogs by entering inurl:blog.
Example: seo AROUND(2) smm inurl:blog
20. intext: searches for pages containing a specific keyword
This is basically a website search that displays pages containing a particular query.
Example: partners intext:seranking
Partners intext:seranking shows the results that match the seranking query and contain the key phrase “affiliate partners”.
How to combine with other operators:
- With the help of intext:, -, site: you can find sites that mention your competitors. These sites can potentially become platforms for guest posting where you can place your content.
Example: intext:nike.com -site:nike.com
- By using site:, -, site:, intext:, “ ” (place the query in quotes) you can find pages on your sites for internal linking. For example, you can link recently published blog posts with older articles.
Example: site:https://seranking.com/blog/ -site:https://seranking.com/blog/ctr-seo/ intext:”ctr”
Let’s enter the following command: site:https://seranking.com/blog/ -site:https://seranking.com/blog/ctr-seo/ intext:”ctr” to find articles that contain the keyword “ctr”.
21. allintext: discovers pages that contain particular phrases
Finds pages that contain all the entered keywords.
Example: allintext:what is seo
allintext:what is seo shows pages with the following keywords: “what” “is” “seo”.
|Allintext: can’t be combined with other search operators.|
22. intitle: finds websites containing particular keywords in a title
This operator displays pages containing the specific keyword in a title.
Example: intitle:digital marketing for beginners
A keyword coming after the colon will be displayed in titles, while the other words will appear in the body.
How to combine with other operators:
- Use intitle:, “ ”, OR to find websites that can potentially place branded content or backlinks.
Example: seo intitle: “backlinks” OR intitle:“guest posts”
Enter seo intitle: “backlinks” OR intitle:“guest posts” and find platforms that can place backlinks or guest posts.
- Use intitle:, “ ”, site: to find pages with the same title.
Example: intitle:“SEO Software Comparison” site:https://seranking.com/
By entering intitle:“SEO Software Comparison” site:https://seranking.com/ we have found only one page with the given title.
- By combining intitle:, “ ”, OR, site: we can narrow down the search results to a particular region or country.
Example: optimization intitle:“seo” OR intitle:”smm” site:.de
By entering optimization intitle:“seo” OR intitle:”smm” site:.de we can find websites about SEO and SMM in Germany.
23. allintitle: finds websites with a specific phrase in a title
Finds pages containing all the given keywords in the title in no particular order. This command will help you learn the keywords your competitors are using in their titles and how often.
Example: allintitle:free website audit
allintitle:free website audit shows pages containing “free”, “website”, and “audit” queries in titles.
By combining site:, allintitle: you can find pages on specific domains with keywords in titles.
Example: allintitle:website audit site:seranking.com
allintitle:website audit site:seranking.com finds all pages on a particular website that contain “website” and “audit” keywords in titles.
Example: allintitle:templates site:canva.com
By entering allintitle:templates site:canva.com you’ll see only titles with the “templates” keyword.
24. inurl: finds websites with a specific keyword in a URL
Shows pages containing the requested keywords in a URL.
Example: inurl:cheap domains
The first keyword coming after the search operator will be shown in the URL, the rest keywords—anywhere in the text.
How to combine with other operators:
- Use site:, – , inurl: to find insecure pages on your website.
Example: site:Photobucket.com -inurl:https
Enter site:Photobucket.com -inurl:https and find all pages with http protocol.
- Combine inurl:, and – to find competitors that have blogs.
Example: seo inurl:blog -seranking.com
seo inurl:blog -seranking.com shows all websites that contain the requested keyword except for the website that comes after the minus (-) symbol.
- Enter site:, inurl: to find pages with a particular anchor text in a URL and link sibling pages to each other.
Example: site:floraqueen.com inurl:lilies
Note: This method requires using clean URLs.
25. allinurl: finds pages with a particular phrase in URLs
Shows pages that contain ALL keywords in URLs.
Example: allinurl:converse trainers sale
allinurl:converse trainers sale shows all websites whose URLs include the following keywords: “converse”, “trainers”, and “sale”.
Google search operators that don’t always show accurate results
There are several Google commands that are not as accurate as those that we described above. Although they still occasionally work.
Shows data over time. In our example, we can see the websites about the Cannes Film Festivals from 2019 to 2020.
Example: Cannes Film Festival 2019 … 2020
Looks for news on Google News in a particular location.
Example: location:”paris” apple
Shows results in a particular region.
Example: loc:”berlin” iphone
Shows pages that contain the particular anchor text.
Example: inanchor:sony lens
Shows pages that contain all keywords in the anchor text.
Example: allinanchor:sony lens
Shows a URL of a blog on a particular domain.
How programmable Search Engine and Google operators work together
If your website has got a lot of pages, and visitors struggle to find the needed content, it’s time to include a search engine on your site. This way, you’ll give users an additional tool to filter content that’s no longer easy to find with the help of categories and tags.
Programmable Search Engine is the official Google technology that allows creating your search engine for free, regardless of which CMS you use.
You can also make use of Advanced Options to include results on a specific topic or limit results to particular sites.
Let’s say that you sell digital cameras. You can provide users with the search results related to this topic—on your site, affiliate websites, or from the full web.
Users will be able to search for particular information only on specific sites. For example, if they are looking for a “polaroid”, the custom search will show the results about a photograph taken with a Polaroid camera instead of Polaroid sunglasses.
What benefits do webmasters get?
- The Programmable Search Engine is completely free. Of course, there are a lot of services out there, including WordPress that offers dozens of plugins for a custom search. Although, what’s the point of installing third-party programs when you can use the full power of a Google search engine?
- You decide where users can search: within your site or on the Internet.
- You can add a list of websites related to your topic so that visitors can find the content according to their queries.
- Create the design you want. You can choose the default layout or create a new one.
The Programmable Search Engine also allows you to:
- promote and improve search results, use the autocomplete feature;
- use Google AdSense;
- configure Google Analytics from within Programmable Search Engine;
- look for the information located on many websites related to your topic;
- provide users with information in a convenient format;
- use Google Search on your site to display relevant content.
How Programmable Search Engine works
To create a new search engine, go to the main page and press “Get started”. Then, name it, select a language, and choose the sites you want to include. After going through all the configuration steps (layout, formatting, themes, search features), choose “Create”.
Then, you’ll be taken to a page that will show you several options. You can choose “public URL” to share a search engine later, or use the code to embed it in your website.
How to set up a topical search engine
After creating the new search engine, choose “Edit search engine”, “Setup”, then scroll down the page and enter up to 10 item types in the field “Restrict Pages using Schema.org Types”.
If you don’t want to limit the results to the sites from your list, delete all websites from the “Sites to search” list. Then, reload the page.
|To make your search even more accurate, combine the Programmable Search Engine with Google operators.|
Google search operators come in handy when you need to narrow down the search results to find information as quickly as possible.
Although there are dozens of them, you don’t have to learn all the commands to organize your work. Choosing a few that work best for you is a great way to get powerful insights into your content strategy, SEO, and website analysis that you could miss otherwise.
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