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22 min read
Jun 30, 2021

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). 

Search without operators
Search with allintitle operator

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.

Of course, Google search operators are used in conjunction with key terms. There are several ways to find suitable words and phrases, but the fastest and most efficient way is to use tools like Keyword Research. It will generate plenty of keywords, which you can analyze against different parameters and export.

Enter a keyword and find untapped keyword opportunities to make your site more visible in search.

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, is a global search engine which results will differ from—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 -wikipediaexcludes keywords from search results
$/€ SEO analysis $39searches for prices in a specific currency
* analysis *SEO/PPCsearches for keywords that contain one or several words between them
” ” “best free SEO tools”shows the exact match keywords
OR or (|) Keyword analysis OR rank trackingsearches for pages containing one of the keywords
AND tesla AND jobs AND Californiadisplays results that contain all entered keywords
in or to $39 in euroconverts currencies and other units
( ) (SEO) serankingshows multiple queries or operators
site: auditallows limiting your search to the pages of a particular website
site: * – site:* -wwwchecks the subdomains. Helps find out if all their pages are indexed
site: inanchor: – -site:seranking.comfinds links with no anchor text
( ) inanchor: OR – site: ( OR -site:alibaba.comfinds pages on websites with branded anchor text
site: before: before:2021-04-01finds posts published before the specified date
site: after: before: after:2021-03-01 before:2020-04-01checks how often your competitors post in their blogs
cache: content cached in Google search results
related: related: for pages related to the topic
source: seo source: forbesallows finding news published on a particular website
map: map:Bostondisplays location on Google Maps
movie: movie:Cruellashows video content and showtimes near you
weather: weather:Texasshows weather forecasts
stocks: stocks:microsoftshows stock quotes & prices
define: define:keywordfinds the definition of a word
filetype: mexican ecommerce filetype:pdffinds a specific document format
site: filetype: filetype:pdffinds different types of documents and files on a specific site
AROUND(X) seo AROUND(2) smmlooks for queries that contain certain number of words in between
AROUND(X) inurl seo AROUND(2) smm inurl:blogcan find the suggestions for blog titles
intext: partners intext:serankingsearches for pages containing a specific keyword
intext: -site: -site:nike.comfinds websites that mention your competitors
site: -site: intext: “ ” site: -site: intext:”ctr”finds pages on your sites for internal linking
allintext: allintext:what is seodiscovers pages that contain particular phrases
intitle: intitle:digital marketing for beginnersfinds 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: platforms that can place backlinks or guest posts
intitle: “ ” OR site: optimization intitle:“seo” OR intitle:”smm” site:.denarrows down the search results to a particular region or country
allintitle: allintitle:free website auditfinds websites with a specific phrase in a title
site: allintitle: allintitle:website audit site:seranking.comfinds pages on specific domains with keywords in titles
inurl: inurl:cheap domainsfinds websites with a specific keyword in a URL
site: -inurl: -inurl:httpsfinds insecure pages on your website
inurl: seo inurl:blog -seranking.comfinds competitors that have blogs
site: inurl: inurl:liliesfinds pages with a particular anchor text in a URL to link sibling pages to each other
allinurl: allinurl:converse trainers salefinds pages with a particular phrase in URLs
Cannes Film Festival 2019 … 2020shows data over time
location: location:”paris” applelooks for news on Google News in a particular location
loc:placename loc:”berlin” iphoneshows results in a particular region
inanchor: inanchor:sony lensshows pages that contain a particular anchor text
allinanchor: allinanchor:sony lensshows pages that contain all keywords in the anchor text
blogurl: blogurl:nomadicmatt.comshows 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.

seranking -wikipedia

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.

ipad €
SEO analysis $39

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.

analysis *SEO/PPC
hiking * shoes

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: “Real-time ranking positions of your website’s keywords across major search engines”

best free SEO tools
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

Keyword analysis OR rank tracking
Keyword analysis 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

SEO AND Google
tesla AND jobs AND California

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

$39 in euro
km in miles

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.

(SEO OR SMM) seranking

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: will work, but site: (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: audit 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:* -www

site:* -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.

  • With the help of ( ), inanchor:, OR, -, site: you can find pages on websites with branded anchor text.

Example: ( OR

( OR
  • With the help of site:, before: you can find posts published before a specified date.

Example: before:2021-04-01 before:2021-04-01
  • With the help of site:, after:, before: you can check how often your competitors post in their blogs. 

Example: after:2021-03-01 before:2020-04-01 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. 

Example: cache:

cached version of a 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

seo source: forbes
seo source: bbc

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.

Example: map:boston


14. movie: shows video content and showtimes

Enter the query after the colon without space and find videos and movies.

Example: movie:seo


You can also find movie showtimes near you. 

Example: movie:Cruella


15. weather: shows weather forecasts

This operator displays the weather forecast for the particular city.

Example: weather:texas


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.

Example: stocks:microsoft


17. define: finds the definition of a word

Displays the meaning of words offering results from authoritative sources.

Example: define:keyword

define:black hole

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

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: filetype:pdf 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

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

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

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.

  • 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: -site: intext:”ctr”

Let’s enter the following command: site: -site: intext:”ctr” to find articles that contain the keyword “ctr”.

site: -site: intext:

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
allintext:seranking blog

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

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”

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. 

If you want to research backlinks deeper, try out the Backlink Checker. Analyzing your competitors’ backlinks and referring domains will help you develop a powerful link-building strategy for your project.

Check which domains link out to any website and get ideas for enhancing your backlinks profile.
  • Use intitle:, “ ”, site: to find pages with the same title.

Example: intitle:“SEO Software Comparison” site:

intitle:“SEO Software Comparison” site:

By entering intitle:“SEO Software Comparison” site: 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”

optimization intitle:“seo” OR intitle:”smm”

By entering optimization intitle:“seo” OR intitle:”smm” 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

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

allintitle:website audit

allintitle:website audit finds all pages on a particular website that contain “website” and “audit” keywords in titles. 

Example: allintitle:templates

By entering allintitle:templates 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

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: -inurl:https -inurl:https

Enter -inurl:https and find all pages with http protocol. 

  • Combine inurl:, andto find competitors that have blogs. 

Example: seo inurl:blog

seo inurl:blog

seo inurl:blog 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: inurl:lilies 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”.

allinurl:converse trainers sale
allinurl:accountant in portland

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

Cannes Film Festival 2019 ... 2020

27. location:

Looks for news on Google News in a particular location.

Example: location:”paris” apple

location:”paris” apple

28. loc:placename 

Shows results in a particular region.

Example: loc:”berlin” iphone

loc:”berlin” iphone

29. inanchor:

Shows pages that contain the particular anchor text. 

Example: inanchor:sony lens

inanchor:sony lens

30. allinanchor:

Shows pages that contain all keywords in the anchor text. 

Example: allinanchor:sony lens

allinanchor:sony lens

31. blogurl:

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?

  1. 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?
  2. You decide where users can search: within your site or on the Internet.
  3. You can add a list of websites related to your topic so that visitors can find the content according to their queries.
  4. 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”. 

How Programmable Search Engine works

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.

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 Types”. 

How to set up a topical search engine

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. 

You can download this infographic in PDF Download
  1. I often search for doc extensions like pdf of ppt. It really does come in handy.
    Thanks for the article!

    1. Thank you Peter!

  2. Hey Maria,
    Useful post, most of the time I use commands to find similar blog posts that I can link to each other.

    1. Thank you for sharing, James!

  3. I planned to use those search operators to find quality content ideas for my blog. Sure I will play with it and If I combine those operators it will show more focused results.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad that you’ve found our infographics useful!

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