1. What is Advanced Search?
Advanced search enables increased accuracy of search results by using additional syntax to focus the search. One or more search criteria or operators can be combined in order to tailor the results more specifically towards your needs. These operators allow you to find what you're looking for quickly and accurately. For Search Engine Optimizer's (SEO’s), advanced search operators are essential if you want to ‘Peek under the hood’ by doing a much deeper and more accurate web searches.
2. Advanced Search Operators
The following 4 search operators are widely known on most search engines and can be used to adjust search results to your current needs:
1. [-keyword] excludes the keyword from the search results, e.g., [loans -student] shows results for all types of loans except students' ones
2. [+keyword] allows for a forced keyword inclusion (especially useful for including stop words), e.g., [seo +for]
3. ["key phrase"] shows search results for the exact phrase, e.g., ["seo company"]
4. [keyword 1 OR keyword 2] shows results for at least one of the keywords, e.g., [Google OR yahoo]
A Complete SEO Tutorial
3. Google Search Queries
The following table lists which search operators work best with each Google Search Service.
4. Google Advanced Search Operators
Google supports a number of advanced search operators used to help resolve SEO issues. The table below gives a brief overview of the queries, how they can be used for SEO purposes, and the examples of usage:
(Site:) - Domain-
Narrows a search to (a)
Shows approximately* how many URLs are indexed by Google
Shows sites of a specific TLD
(InURL:) / (AllInUrl:) - URL Keyword Restricted Search
Narrows the results to documents containing(a) search term(s) in the URLs
Find web pages having your keyword in a file path.
(InTitle:) / (AllInTitle:) -Title Keyword Restricted Search
Restricts the results to documents containing (a) search term(s) in a page title
Find web pages using your keyword in a page title
(InAnchor:) / (AllInAnchor:) - Anchor Text Keyword Restricted Search
Restricts the results to documents containing (a) search term(s) in the anchor text of backlinks pointing to a page
Find pages having most backlinks / most powerful backlinks with the keyword in the anchor text
(Intext:) - Body Text Keyword Restricted Search
Restricts the results to documents containing (a) search term(s) in the body text a page
Find pages containingmost relevant /most optimized body text
(Ext:) / (Filetype) -
Narrows search results
A few of possible
to the pages that end in a particular file extension
· pdf ( AdobePortable Document Format)
· html or htm ( Hypertext Markup Language)
· xls ( Microsoft
· ppt ( Microsoft
· doc (Microsoft
(*) - Wildcard Search
Means "insert any word
search for a phrase
[seo * directory] returns "seo free directory", "seo friendly directory", etc
(Related:) - Similar
Shows "related pages" by finding pages linking to the site and looking who elsethey tend to link to (i.e.,"co- citation")
Evaluate how relevant the site's "neighbors" are
(Info:) -Information about a URL Search
Gives information about the given page
Apart from providing links for further URLinformation, this search can alert you of
[info:seomoz.org] will show you the page title, description and invite you to view its related pages, incoming links, and page cached version
Shows Google's saved copy of the page
Google's text version of the page works the same way as SEO Browser
· [site:yourdomain.com/subdirectory1] + [site:yourdomain.com/subdirectory2] + etc (the "deeper" you dig, the more/more accurate results you get)
· [site:yourdomain.com inurl:keyword1] + [site:yourdomain.com inurl:keyword2] + etc (for subdirectory- specific keywords)
· [site:yourdomain.com intitle:keyword1] + [site:yourdomain.com intitle:keyword2] + etc
5. Combined Google Queries
To get more information from Google advanced search, learn how to effectively combine search operators. The following table illustrates which search patterns can be applied to make the most of some important SEO research tasks:
[domainname.com - site:domainname.com]
(+ add &as_qdr=d (past one day) to the query string)
Evaluate the given keyword competition (sites that apply proper SEO to target the term).
Find more keyword phrases
[key * phrase]
Learn if the site has canonical problems
[site:domain.com - inurl:www]
Find the site's most powerful pages
[ www site:domain.com]
[ tld site:domain.tld]
Find the site's most relevant page
Find the site's most powerful page relatedto the keyword
Find authority sites offering a backlink opportunity
links/ "favorite sites"/]
links/ "favorite sites"/]
links/ "favorite sites"/]
Search for relevant forums and discussion boards to participate in discussions and probably link back to your site
Used to specify a local search that is outside major markets
AND (all upper case)
Finds web pages that contain all the terms or phrases in a query. Same as & and
Keeps results focused on sites that have links to the file types that you specify
Triggers an Instant Answer definition for the specified word
Limits results to the specified domain
Finds RSS or Atom feeds pertaining to the term you specify
Returns only web pages of the specified file type
Finds web pages that contain both the term or terms for which you are querying and one or more
RSS or Atom feeds
Constrains the size of returned images. Valid size parameters are "small","medium" and "large"
Returns web pages that contain the specified term in the anchor text
Returns web pages that contain the specified term in the metadata or in the HTML
Checks to see if a string is present with one or more properties
Returns web pages that contain the specified term in the metadata title of the site
Finds sites that are hosted by a specific IP address. The IP address must be a dotted quad address
Takes a simple list as a parameter. All the elements in the list are ORed together. See example in section below.
Returns web pages written in a specific language.
Any string within parentheses is interpreted literally; that is, with no word-breaking or symbolic interpretation.
Returns web pages from a specific country or region
Allows the filtering of content based on special tags in HTML
Source filtering used to refine a query for a multimedia site
Constrains the distance between terms so that documents that contain instances of
the specified terms within ten or fewer words of each other are returned before
those that don’t. For closer associations use "near:n" where n is an integer.
Keeps the query from being altered by the Alteration Service
Makes sure queries return only terms that are in the query
NOT (all upper case)
Excludes web pages that contain the specified term or terms. Same as - .
OR (all upper case)
Finds web pages that contain either the term that precedes the operator or the termthat follows the operator. Same as | and ||.
Returns web pages that belong to the specified site.
Returns results that indicate whether the specified domain or URL is in the Bing
"your search query"
Returns results that contain the specified phrase, exactly
7. Comparison of Advanced Search Operators across Major Search Enignes
domain/ directory path
Restricts search to a given domain/ directory
Searches for pages linking to a
Searches for pages linking to a given domain (including deep
Shows pages the domain links out to
inurl: / allinurl:
Searches for a given keyword in
the file paths
intitle: / allintitle:
Searches for a
given keyword in
the page title
Searches for pages that use thegiven keyword as the anchor text
Searches for a given keyword in
the page body text
ext: / filetype:
Restricts search to a given URL
Searches for related sites and pages (based on
Inserts one or more words
Gives additional information about
Shows the saved
copy of the page
location: / loc:
specific location identity code
Narrows search results to the sites belonging to a
Shows if the page was indexed by the SE
Narrows search results to pages linking to a
specified file type
Shows sites sharing one IP
Narrows search results to terms contained in RSS or Atom feeds
8. A-Z of Advanced Operators Explained
The following is an alphabetical list of the search operators. Each entry typically includes the syntax, the capabilities, and an example.
allinanchor: If you start your query with allinanchor:, Google restricts results to pages containing all query terms you specify in the anchor text on links to the page. For example, [ allinanchor: best museums sydney ] will return only pages in which the anchor text on links to the pages contain the words “best,” “museums,” and “sydney.”Anchor text is the text on a page that is linked to another web page or a different place on the current page. When you click on anchor text, you will be taken to the page or place on the page to which it is linked. When using allinanchor: in your query, do not include any other search operators. The functionality of allinanchor: is also available through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.
allintext: If you start your query with allintext:, Google restricts results to those containing all the query terms you specify in the text of the page. For example, [ allintext: travel packing list ] will return only pages in which the words “travel,” “packing,” and “list” appear in the text of the page. This functionality can also be obtained through theAdvanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.
allintitle: If you start your query with allintitle:, Google restricts results to those containing all the query terms you specify in the title. For example, [ allintitle: detect plagiarism ] will return only documents that contain the words “detect” and “plagiarism” in the title. This functionality can also be obtained through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.
The title of a webpage is usually displayed at the top of the browser window and in the first line of Google’s search results for a page. The author of a website specifies the title of a page with the HTML TITLE element. There’s only one title in a webpage. When using allintitle: in your query, do not include any other search operators. The functionality of allintitle: is also available through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences. In Image Search, the operator allintitle: will return images in files whose names contain the terms that you specify. In Google News, the operator allintitle: will return articles whose titles include the terms you specify.
allinurl: If you start your query with allinurl:, Google restricts results to those containing all the query terms you specify in the URL. For example, [ allinurl: google faq ] will return only documents that contain the words “google” and “faq” in the URL, such as “www.google.com/help/faq.html”. This functionality can also be obtained through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.
In URLs, words are often run together. They need not be run together when you’re using allinurl:. In Google News, the operator allinurl: will return articles whose titles include the terms you specify.
The Uniform Resource Locator, more commonly known as URL, is the address that specifies the location of a file on the Internet. When using allinurl: in your query, do not include any other search operators. The functionality of allinurl: is also available through the Advanced Web Search page, under Occurrences.
author: If you include author: in your query, Google will restrict your Google Groups results to include newsgroup articles by the author you specify. The author can be a full or partial name or email address. For example, [ children author:john author:doe ] or [ children author:email@example.com ] return articles that contain the word “children” written by John Doe or firstname.lastname@example.org. Google will search for exactly what you specify. If your query contains [ author:”John Doe” ] (with quotes), Google won’t find articles where the author is specified as “Doe, John.”
cache: The query cache:url will display Google’s cached version of a web page, instead of the current version of the page. For example, [ cache:www.eff.org ] will show Google’s cached version of the Electronic Frontier Foundation home page.
Note: Do not put a space between cache: and the URL (web address). On the cached version of a page, Google will highlight terms in your query that appear after the cache: search operator. For example, [ cache:www.pandemonia.com/flying/ fly diary ] will show Google’s cached version of Flight Diary in which Hamish Reid’s documents what’s involved in learning how to fly with the terms “fly” and “diary” highlighted.
define: If you start your query with define:, Google shows definitions from pages on the web for the term that follows. This advanced search operator is useful for finding definitions of words, phrases, and acronyms. For example, [define: blog] will show definitions for “Blog” (weB LOG).
ext: This is an undocumented alias for filetype:.
filetype: If you include filetype:suffix in your query, Google will restrict the results to pages whose names end in suffix. For example, [ web page evaluation checklist filetype:pdf ] will return Adobe Acrobat pdf files that match the terms “web,” “page,” “evaluation,” and “checklist.” You can restrict the results to pages whose names end with pdf and doc by using the OR operator, e.g. [email security filetype:pdf OR filetype:doc ]. When you don’t specify a File Format in the Advanced Search Form or the filetype: operator, Google searches a variety of file formats; see the table in File Type Conversion.
group: If you include group: in your query, Google will restrict your Google Groups results to newsgroup articles from certain groups or subareas. For example, [ep group:misc.kids.moderated ] will return articles in the group misc.kids.moderated that contain the word “sleep” and [ sleep group:misc.kids ] will return articles in the subarea misc.kids that contain the word “sleep.”
id: This is an undocumented alias for info:.
inanchor: If you include inanchor: in your query, Google will restrict the results to pages containing the query terms you specify in the anchor text or links to the page. For example, [ restaurants inanchor:gourmet ] will return pages in which the anchor text on links to the pages contain the word “gourmet” and the page contains the word “restaurants.”
info: The query info:URL will present some information about the corresponding web page. For instance, [ Info:gothotel.com ] will show information about the national hotel directory GotHotel.com home page.
Note: There must be no space between the info: and the web page URL. This functionality can also be obtained by typing the web page URL directlyinto a Google search box.
insubject: If you include insubject: in your query, Google will restrict articles in Google Groups to those that contain the terms you specify in the subject. For example, [ insubject:” falling asleep” ] will return Google Group articles that contain the phrase “falling asleep” in the subject. Equivalent to intitle:.
intext: The query intext:term restricts results to documents containing term in the text. For instance, [ Hamish Reid intext:pandemonia ] will return documents that mention the word “pandemonia” in the text, and mention the names “Hamish” and “Reid” anywhere in the document (text or not). Note: There must be no space between the intext: and the following word.
Putting intext: in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting allintext: at the front of your query, e.g., [ intext:handsome intext:poets ] is the same as [ allintext: handsome poets ].
intitle: The query intitle:term restricts results to documents containing term in the title. For instance, [ flu shot intitle:help ] will return documents that mention the word “help” in their titles, and mention the words “flu” and “shot” anywhere in the document (title or not). Note: There must be no space between the intitle: and the following word.
Putting intitle: in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting allintitle: at the front of your query, e.g., [ intitle:google intitle:search ] is the same as [ allintitle: google search ].
inurl: If you include inurl: in your query, Google will restrict the results to documents containing that word in the URL. For instance, [ inurl:print site:www.googleguide.com ] searches for pages on Google Guide in which the URL contains the word “print.” It finds pdf files that are in the directory or folder named “print” on the Google Guide website. The query [inurl:healthy eating ] will return documents that mention the words “healthy” intheir URL, and mention the word “eating” anywhere in the document.
Note: There must be no space between the inurl: and the following word.
Putting inurl: in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting allinurl: at the front of your query, e.g., [ inurl:healthy inurl:eating ] is the same as [ allinurl: healthy eating ].
In URLs, words are often run together. They need not be run together when you’re using inurl:.
link: The query link:URL shows pages that point to that URL. For example, to find pages that point to Google Guide’s home page, enter: [ link:www.googleguide.com ]
Note: According to Google’s documentation, “you cannot combine a link: search with a regular keyword search.” Also note that when you combine link: with another advanced operator, Google may not return all the pages that match. The following queries should return lots of results, as you can see if you remove the -site: term in each of these queries. Find links to the Google home page not on Google’s own site. [ link:www.google.com - site:google.com ]
Find links to the UK Owners Direct home page not on its own site. [ link:www.www.ownersdirect.co.uk -site:ownersdirect.co.uk ]
Location: If you include location: in your query on Google News, only articles from the location you specify will be returned. For example, [ queen location:canada ] will show articles that match the term “queen” from sites in Canada. Many other country names work; try them and see.
Two-letter US state abbreviations match individual US states, and two-letter Canadian province abbreviations (like NS for Nova Scotia) also work — although some provinces don’t have many newspapers online, so you may not get many results. Some other two-letter abbreviations — such as UK for the United Kingdom — are also available.
Movie: If you include movie: in your query, Google will find movie-related information. or examples, see Google’s Blogs
Related: The query related:URL will list web pages that are similar to the web page you specify. For instance, [ related:www.consumerreports.org ] will list web pages that are similar to the Consumer Reports home page. Note: Don’t include a space between the related: and the web page url. You can also find similar pages from the “Similar pages” link on Google’s main results page, and from the similar selector in the Page-Specific Search area of theAdvanced Search page. If you expect to search frequently for similar pages, consider installing a GoogleScout browser button, which scouts for similar pages.
site: If you include site: in your query, Google will restrict your search results to the site or domain you specify. For example, [ admissions site:www.lse.ac.uk ] will show admissions information from London School of Economics’ site and [ peace site:gov ] will find pages about peace within the .gov domain. You can specify a domain with or without a period, e.g., either as .gov or gov. Note: Do not include a space between the “site:” and the domain.
source: If you include source: in your query, Google News will restrict your search to articles from the news source with the ID you specify. For example, [ election source:new_york_times ] will return articles with the word “election” that appear in the New York Times.
To find a news source ID, enter a query that includes a term and the name of the publication you’re seeking. You can also specify the publication name in the “news source” field in the Advanced News Search form. You’ll find the news source ID in the query box, following the source: search operator. For example, let’s say you enter the publication name Ha’aretz in the News Source box, then you click the Google Search button. The results page appears, and its search box contains [ peace source:ha_aretz subscription_ ]. This means that the news source ID is ha_aretz subscription_. This query will only return articles that include the word “peace” from the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.
Note: Some of the search operators won’t work as intended if you put a space between the colon (:) and the subsequent query word.
9. Twitter Search Operators
Standard Search Operators for Twitter.
containing both "twitter" and "search". This is the default operator.
containing the exact phrase "happy hour".
containing either "love" or "hate" (or both).
containing "beer" but not "root".
containing the hashtag "haiku".
sent from person "alexiskold".
sent to person "techcrunch".
referencing person "mashable".
containing the exact phrase "happy hour" and sent near "sanfrancisco".
sent within 15 miles of "NYC".
containing "superhero" and sent since date "2009-06-29" (year-month- day).
containing "ftw" and sent up to date "2009-06-29".
containing "movie", but not "scary", and with a positive attitude.
containing "flight" and with a negative attitude.
containing "traffic" and asking a question.
containing "hilarious" and linking to URLs.
containing "news" and entered via TwitterFeed
Alternatively, you can use the advanced search form to automatically construct your query
10. LinkedIn Search Operators
LinkedIn makes use of the Boolean Search Logic [Boolean search is explain further in this guide in section
11], however here is a quick guide to some of the main search operators that help you get desired results in
LinkedIn search and a few practical tips on how to use them:
Like in search engines, we have an option to find the exact phrase. For example we will take query1 which will provide the people who is in the position of Sr. Manager (at a company), query2 will give you the project manager profiles alone.
Query1: “Sr. Manager”
If you want to exclude some search terms from your results, you can
use NOT operator. For instance, if you want to search project manager
profile excluding results from the United Kingdom, your query should
If you would like to search for profiles which include one of two or more terms, you can use OR operator. For example, you want to know who
If you would like to search for profiles which include two terms, you need to use upper-case word AND to separate the terms
Query: Managing Director AND CEO
If you would like to do a complex search. For instance, find the Vice Presidents or Directors of Divisions, you can combine terms like this: VP OR (director AND division). This will find people who have VP in their profiles, or have director AND division in their profiles.
If you would like to find out the executive positions in an specific industry, then the ‘title’ operator will help you to do it. This operator will help employers to find suitable candidates, will guide people in the expansion of the network with similar title people. For example, we will search for executives alone then title:executive will show your desiredresult. However you can use present title as ptitle: and current title as ctitle if you want to be more specific.
If you would like to find out the specific company profiles then you can use the operator called ‘company:’. Lets take an example of people working in Yahoo, then you need to use company:yahoo inc. Further you can divide it current company as ccompany and past company as pcompany
Query: company:Yahoo Inc
If you would like to search for your school guys on LinkedIn, you have an option called school operator. For instance, if you want to search the profiles of your Anna University friends on LinkedIn, you need to
Use Query: school:”Anna University”
Sometimes we require only people who from specific nations. The
country operator gets this done. This operator will help you to get some people’s email address to reach them for business purpose too. For example, you want to find the CEO list available in US to send them a mail, you can use the following query Query: title:CEO country:United States
11. Boolean Search Logic
Boolean Searching on the Internet
Boolean logic consists of three logical operators: NOT, AND & OR. Each operator can be visually described by using Venn diagrams, as shown below.
OR logic: Most commonly used to search for synonymous terms or concepts. The more terms or concepts we combine in a search with OR logic, the more results we will retrieve. E.g. college OR university OR Campus
AND logic: In this search, we retrieve records in which BOTH of the search terms are present. The more terms or concepts we combine in a search with AND logic, the fewer results we will retrieve. E.g. poverty AND crime AND gnder
NOT logic: In this search, we retrieve records in which ONLY ONE of the terms is present, the one we have selected by our search. NOT logic excludes records from your search results. Be careful when you use NOT: the term you do want may be present in an important way in documents that also contain the word you wish to avoid. E.g. Cats NOT dogs
This is illustrated by the shaded area with the word cats representing all the records containing the word "cats" with no records are retrieved in the area overlapping the two circles where the word "dogs" appears, even if the word "cats" appears there too
OR logic: You can combine both AND and OR logic in a single search. The use of parentheses in this search is known as forcing the order of processing. In this case, we surround the OR words with parentheses so that the search engine will process the two related terms as a unit. The search engine will use AND logic to combine this result with the second concept. Using this method, we are assured that the semantically-related OR terms are kept together as a logical unit. E.g. I want information about the behavior of cats. Search: behavior AND (cats