Google Search Operators Explained

Table of Contents

Google-Search-Operators-Explained-with-Example---SEO-Consulting

Google Search Operators Explained with Examples

Everyone knows how to “Google” but very few know how to really “Google” like a Genius.

If you can find what you are looking for on Google fast – think how much time you are saving. A classic example of knowledge that truly helps be efficient and effective.

Today I am going to share with you Google search tricks. Tricks or Tips that will help find what you are looking for fast. A couple of years back I learned two tricks and never thought I was missing much more. Without taking more time lets begin.

  • Google Search usually ignores punctuation that isn’t part of a search operator.
  • Don’t put spaces between the symbol or word and your search term. A search for site:nytimes.com will work, but site: nytimes.com won’t.
  • Refine image searches
  • Use filters like region or file type to narrow your results.

What are Google Search Operators

Google search operators are special commands that extend the capabilities of regular text searches on Google. 

Search operators help you narrow down search results and can be useful for everything from content research to finding online discussions to technical SEO site audits

How do I use Google Search Operators

It’s as simple as searching for something on Google. 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.

You can use symbols and/or words in your search terms to make your results more accurate.

Keep in mind:

  • Google typically ignores any punctuation that isn’t part of a search operator.
  • Don’t include spaces between the symbol or word and your search term. Using this search command, site:ZabiNiazi.com will work, but this site: ZabiNiazi.com won’t.

What File Types Do Google Search Operators Support

I’m glad you asked. Here is a list of the supported formats:

  • Adobe Flash (.swf)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf)
  • Adobe PostScript (.ps)
  • Autodesk Design Web Format (.dwf)
  • Google Earth (.kml, .kmz)
  • GPS eXchange Format (.gpx)
  • Hancom Hanword (.hwp)
  • HTML (.htm, .html, other file extensions)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls, .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
  • OpenOffice presentation (.odp)
  • OpenOffice spreadsheet (.ods)
  • OpenOffice text (.odt)
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)
  • TeX/LaTeX (.tex)
  • Text (.txt, .text, other file extensions)
  • Basic source code (.bas)
  • C/C++ source code (.c, .cc, .cpp, .cxx, .h, .hpp)
  • C# source code (.cs)
  • Java source code (.java)
  • Perl source code (.pl)
  • Python source code (.py)
  • Wireless Markup Language (.wml, .wap)
  • XML (.xml)

when I "Site:ZabiNiazi.com" check my website in Google, it only shows 28 instead of 180 URLs.

The short answer to this question is that a site query is not meant to be complete nor used for diagnostics purposes. A site query is a specific kind of search that limits the results to a certain website. It’s basically just the word “site,” a colon, and then the website’s domain name. While using this query limits the results to a specific website, it’s not meant to be a comprehensive collection of all of the pages from that website.
 
If you’re keen on finding out how many pages Google has indexed from your website, then use Search Console instead. Google Search Console is a free tool that site owners can use to get more information about how Google Search sees their website.
 
Within Search Console, you can see how your pages are shown in Search, as well
as the number of pages that are currently indexed. So in short, don’t worry about the counts shown in a site query. Use Search Console instead.

Google Search Operators List

Here is a complete list of all working Google advanced search operators:

  1. “search term” Use this to do an exact-match search.
  2. OR Search for this OR that. This will return results related to the two terms or both.
  3. AND Search for this AND that. This will only return results related to the two terms
  4. – Exclude a term or search phrase.
  5. Acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase.
  6. ( )Groups multiple terms or operators to control how the search is shown.
  7. $ Search for prices.
  8. define: Displays the meaning of a word in a card-like result.
  9. CacheReturns the most recent cached version of a web page (as long as the page is indexed).
  10. filetype: Shows results of a certain filetype (PDF, DOCX, TXT, PPT, etc.)
  11. site: Limit results to a specific website.
  12. related: Find sites related to another site.
  13. intitle: Find pages that contain a specific word in the title.
  14. allintitle: Like “intitle,” this finds web pages containing all of the specific words in the page title.
  15. inurl: Finds pages with a certain word in the URL.
  16. allinurl: Similar to “inurl,” this finds web pages containing all of the URL’s specific words.
  17. intext: Finds pages containing a specific word in the content.
  18. allintext: Finds results containing all of the specific words somewhere on the page.
  19. AROUND(X) This proximity search finds pages containing two words (or phrases) within X words of each other.
  20. weather: Finds the weather for a specific location.
  21. stocks: See stock information
  22. map: View map results for a location search.
  23. movie: Finds information about a specific movie.
  24. in Convert one unit into another (like currencies, weights, temperatures, etc.)
  25. source: Find news results from a certain source within Google News.
google search operators

Common Search Techniques

Search For An Exact Image Size

Right after the word you’re looking for, add the text imagesize:widthxheight. Make sure to add the dimensions in pixels.

Example: imagesize:500×400

Common Search Techniques

Search social media
Put @ in front of a word to search social media. For example: @twitter.

Search For A Price

Put $ in front of a number. For example: camera $400.

Search Hashtags

Put # in front of a word. For example: #throwbackthursday

Exclude Words From Your Search

Put – in front of a word you want to leave out. For example, jaguar speed -car

Search For An Exact Match

Put a word or phrase inside quotes. For example, “tallest building”.

Search Within A Range Of Numbers

Put .. between two numbers. For example, camera $50..$100.

Combine Searches

Put “OR” between each search query. For example, marathon OR race.

Search For A Specific Site

Put “site:” in front of a site or domain. For example, site:youtube.com or site:.gov.

Search For Related Sites

Put “related:” in front of a web address you already know. For example, related:time.com.

See Google’s Cached Version Of A Site

Put “cache:” in front of the site address.

Important: Not all search operators return exhaustive results.

Google Search Operators: 40 Commands to Know in 2023

  1. Find related sites

related:[website]

  1. Find Pages to Add Internal Links

Site:[website] keyword

Find internal link opportunities with the site: search operator

Now you can just go into those pages and add an internal link. UX improved, as well as your chances to score sitelinks. Not bad, uh?

  1. Search Content on a Specific Site (And Find Any Indexation Errors)

site:[website]

  1. Find Exact Matches

“[search term]”

  1. Exclude Specific Words or Phrases

-[keyword]

  1. Include Specific Words or Phrases

keyword1 +keyword2

  1. Return the cached version of a page

cache:[website]

  1. Search for Specific Keywords in a URL

inurl:[keyword]

  1. Find Keywords in Page Titles

intitle:

  1. Find Exact Keywords in Page Titles

allintitle:

  1. Find Keywords Inside Page Text

intext:

  1. Find Exact Keywords Inside Page Text

allintext:

  1. Find Keywords Inside Anchor Texts

inanchor:

  1. Find Exact Keywords Inside Anchor Texts

allinanchor:

  1. Find Keywords Within URLs

inurl:

  1. Find Exact Keywords Within URLs

allinurl:

  1. Find Content Created by Specific Authors

postauthor:

  1. Search A Specific Location

loc:

  1. Exclude Any Subdomains

site: [website.com] -inurl:www

  1. Search for Specific Types Of Files

filetype:[extension]

  1. List Search Results That Comply With One Of The Conditions

keyword/condition1 OR keyword/condition2

  1. Add a “Fill in the Blank” Option

keyword1 * keyword2

  1. Find Words near Each Other

keyword1 AROUND(X) keyword2

  1. Search Between Specific Dates

daterange:[XXXXX-XXXXX]

  1. Search Between Two Specific Years

[year1]..[year2]

  1. Find Relevant Forum and Community Discussion Topics

Site:website.com intitle:keyword

How to find a relevant forum and community discussion topics (based on a keyword of your choice)

Finding them is easy with Google search commands.

Try these:

  • Site:reddit.com intitle:keyword
  • Site:quora.com intitle:keyword
  • Site:niche-specific-forum.com intitle:keyword
  1. Find PDF Downloads on .Gov Sites

[flu shot ext:pdf site:gov]

  1. Find Non-HTTPS Indexed Pages

Site:[website.com] -inurl:https

  1. Find Pages That Mention a Word in the Text

[Jeff Bezos -intitle:Jeff -intitle:Bezos]

  1. Find An Organization’s Twitter Accounts

[site:twitter.com @nytimes -inurl:status -inurl:hashtag -inurl:lists]

  1. Search Multiple Sites at the Same Time

pizza site:tiktok.com OR site:vimeo.com OR site:youtube.com

  1.  Find Any Duplicate Content On Your Site

“[duplicate content you want to check]”

  1. Find Any Unwanted Files or Pages on Your Website

filetype:pdf seo

  1. Find Niche Relevant Resource Page Link Opportunities

inurl:resources intitle:resources mountain bike

  1. Find Sites to Pitch Your Feature Infographics To

[topic] intitle:infographic inurl:infographic

  1. Find Social Profiles for Outreach

[name] site:twitter.com | site:facebook.com | site:linkedin.com

  1. Find Sites That Mention Your Competitors (But Not You)

intext:[competitor] OR intext:[competitor] -site:website.com -site:website.com

  1. Find Opportunities for Sponsored Posts

[topic] intext:”this is a sponsored post by”

Here are a few ways to find sponsored post opportunities using Google search operators:

  • sponsored post results
  • [topic] intext:”this is a sponsored post by”
  • [topic] intext:”this post was sponsored by”
  • [topic] intitle:”sponsored post”
  • [topic] intitle:”sponsored post archives” inurl:”category/sponsored-post”
  • “sponsored” AROUND(3) “post”
  1. Find How Often Competing Sites Are Publishing New Content

site:[website} (+ some filtering in Google)

  1. Find Sites That Are Linking to Your Competitors

link:[website.com] link:spotify.com -site:spotify.com

Google Search Operators - Basic, Advanced and Mail - Cheat Sheet

No.

Operator

What it does

Category

1“ ”Allows searching for a specific phrase – exact match search. Individual word prevents synonymsBasic, Mail
2ORBoolean search function for OR searches as Google defaults to AND between words – must be all capsBasic, Mail
3|Implements ORBasic
4()Allows grouping of operators and helps dictate orderBasic, Mail
5Excludes a word from resultsBasic, Mail
6*Acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phraseBasic
7#..## represents a number in this instance. Use to find numbers in a series.Basic
8$Allows for search of USDBasic
9Allows for search of EuroBasic
10inAllows searches for unit conversion (currency, unit or measure)Basic
11~Prefix – Include synonyms (potentially defunct)Basic
12+Prefix – Force exact match on single phraseBasic, Mail
13daterange:Return results in a specified range (requires julian dates)Advanced
14link:Find pages that link to the target domainAdvanced
15inanchor:Find pages linked to with the specified anchor text/ phrase. Data is heavily sampled.Advanced
16allinanchor:Find pages with all individual terms after “inanchor:” in the inbound anchor text.Advanced
17inposttile:Finds pages with keywords in their post titles (i.e. for researching blogs) 
18define:Pulls a card response from Google displaying the dictionary definition of the word or phraseAdvanced
19cache:Returns the most up to date cache of an indexed web pageAdvanced
20filetype:Returns only files of a particular type associated with the keyword searchedAdvanced
21ext:As above, based on extensionAdvanced
22site:Limit results to those from one siteAdvanced
23related:Find similar domains to the queried domainAdvanced
24intitle:Returns pages based on the searched query appearing in their titleAdvanced
25allintitle:Similar to intitle: but only returns titles where all the words in the title matchAdvanced
26inurl:Only returns results where the queried keyword(s) is present in the URLAdvanced
27allinurl:As above but only containing all of the specified words in the URLAdvanced
28intext:Finds pages where the keyword(s) are mentioned within the page content.Advanced
29allintext:Similar to “intext,” but only results containing all
of the specified words somewhere on the page will be returned.
Advanced
30AROUND(X)This is sandwiched between two words and the X declares how many words they must be mentioned between. I.e. if it’s (4) then the two keywords must be mentioned within 4 words of each other.Advanced
31weather:Brings up the featured snipped for weather for that locationAdvanced
32stocks:Returns stock information for the specified tickerAdvanced
33map:Force google map results for a particular queryAdvanced
34movie:Find information for the specified movie (particularly useful when that movie has an ambiguous name).
If the movie is still in theatres it’ll also return screen times
Advanced
35source:Use in google news, returns results from the specified sourceAdvanced
36_Acts as wildcard for autocompleteAdvanced
37blogurl:Find blog URLs under a specific domain. This was used in Google blog search, but I’ve found it does return some results in regular search.Advanced
38loc:Returns results for a specific locationAdvanced
39location:As above but with Google newsAdvanced
40info:Returns information rlated to a domain (pages with dmain text, similar on-site pages, cache etc)Advanced
41nearPart of the google maps lazy searches e.g. book shops near workMaps
42Business typeE.g. cafe, restaurant, bar etc will return a selection of appropriate businesses in the areMaps
43Petrol/Charging StationEV near me or perol station near me returnsMaps
44type:Allows you to search drive by file typeDrive
45owner:Allows you to search drive by owner of file or folderDrive
46after:Allows you to search drive or mail for files modified or mail sent/received anytime after a set dateDrive, Mail
47before:Allows you to search drive or mail for files modified or mail sent/received before
a certain date
Drive, Mail
48to:Allows you to search drive for files shared with a specific personDrive
49title:Searches drive for files with the keyword in their title aloneDrive
50source:domainAllows you to search for files or folders shared with everyone in your businessDrive
51is:trashedSearches for the item in the Drive binDrive
52is:starredSearches only items that have been starred in driveDrive, Mail
53from:Specify the sender in google mailMail
54to:Specify the recipient in google mailMail
55cc:Search by a recipient that was copied into an emailMail
56bcc:Search by a recipient that was blind copied into an emailMail
57subject:Search by keywords featured in the subject lineMail
58{}Use for OR in mail instead of the OR functionMail
59AROUNDSimilar to the normal google search function, allows you to search for keywords near each other.Mail
60label:Search for messages that have a certain labelMail
61has:attachmentSearch for messages that have an item attachedMail
62has:driveSearch for messages with a google drive attachedMail
63has:documentSearch for messages with a google doc attachedMail
66has:youtubeSearch for a message containing a youtube videoMail
67list:Search for all messages from a particular mailing listMail
68filename:Search for messages with a particular type of file attached, or the exact name of a fileMail
69in:anywhereIncludes all folders in your search, including spam and binMail
70is:importantSearch for messages that have been marked as importantMail
71label:importantSame as is:importantMail
72is:snoozedSearches for messages that have been snoozedMail
73is:unreadSearches for unread messagesMail
74is:readsearches for read messages onlyMail
75has:yellow-starSearches for messages with colored star iconMail
76has:blue-infoSearches for messages with colored iconMail
77older:Search for messages older than a certain dateMail
78newer:Search for messages newer than a certain dateMail
79is:chatSearches for messagse from chatMail
80deliveredto:Search by email address for delivered messagesMail
81category:Searches by messages based on category. Follow
the colon with the categoy name, i.e. category:primary
Mail
82size:Messages larger than a certain size in bytesMail
83larger:Messages larger than a certain size in bytesMail
84smaller:Messages smaller than a certain size in bytesMail
85has:userlabelsSearch for messages that have custom user labelsMail
86 Search for messages that have no custom user labelsMail

Search Service & Search Operators

Search Service

Search Operators

Web Search
allinanchor:, allintext:, allintitle:, allinurl:, cache:, define:, filetype:, id:, inanchor:, info:, intext:, intitle:, inurl:, link:, related:, site:
Image Searchallintitle:, allinurl:, filetype:, inurl:, intitle:, site:
Groupsallintext:, allintitle:, author:, group:, insubject:, intext:, intitle:
Directoryallintext:, allintitle:, allinurl:, ext:, filetype:, intext:, intitle:, inurl:
Newsallintext:, allintitle:, allinurl:, intext:, intitle:, inurl:, location:, source:
Product Searchallintext:, allintitle:

Google Search Operators Cheat Sheet

Using operators in Google Search can give you incredible power (think superhero or ninja!) over your search results.  Check out this cheat sheet.

Operators

What it does

Example

Quotes ( “ “ )Use quotes to locate the exact words in the exact order. Great for song lyrics and literature[ “i want to hold your hand” ]
Exclude a word ( – )Use the minus sign (-) to eliminate words from a search.[ eagles -philidelphia ]
Make sure there is NO SPACE after the minus sign.
Search within a site or domain ( .gov)Restricts a search to a specific domain (.gov, .org, etc.)[ consumer help site:gov ]
Search within a specific site (site:)Restricts a search to a specific site (the example is the national zoo).[ pandas site:nationalzoo.si.edu ]
Fill in the blank ( * )It’s a ‘fill in the blank’ sometimes know as a ‘wild card’. Great tool to find an unknown![ “each year * people die from aids “ ]
Search either word: ORTo find pages that have either word in your search. The OR must be capitalized![ olympics location 2014 OR 2018 ] (finds the location for either 2014 or 2018)
Search for a number range (..)Works for money, prices, and measures Use JUST TWO periods and NO SPACES.

[ computers $500..$800 ]

[ford mustangs 1960..1969]

Search by File type ( filetype:)Locates specific file types for your search. Try it with pdf, jpg, ppt, etc.

[ form 1040 filetype:pdf ]

[ common core filetype:ppt]

Search within the text ( intext:)Locates a specific word or phrase in the body of the result[help site:facebook.com intext:hack]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Seasonality-Planning---Google-Ads
SEM | Search Engine Marketing Blogs
Zabi Niazi

3 Strategies Help Seasonality Planning

Seasonality Planning Strategies During seasonal times, it’s important to focus on campaign efficiency while also connecting with your potential customers.  Three strategies help Seasonality Planning:

Read More »
Backlinks
SEM | Search Engine Marketing Blogs
Zabi Niazi

Actionable Strategies – Increase Backlinks

Backlinks also known as one-way links or Inbound Links are links from one website to a page on another website. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page.

One strategy to increase the chances of showing Google page 1 or higher rankings is to increase the number of backlinks from credible and authoritative sites.

Read More »
Structured-Data-and-Markup
SEO | Search Engine Optimization Blogs
Zabi Niazi

Structured Data and Schema Markup

In this blog, I’ll share what structured data is, how it’s useful for both Google and you, how to get started using it, and some best practices if you already do.

Read More »
On page SEO Checklist
SEM | Search Engine Marketing Blogs
Zabi Niazi

URL

What is URL  URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. The location of a webpage or file on the internet. The URL for the website you

Read More »