Google's Advanced Search Operators Assists SEO Efforts

Ever wonder how search engine optimizers find certain information online about your Web site, like how many other Web sites link to yours, how many Web pages you have indexed, or what date search engines last visited your site? Here are some of the latest SEO tools they use to determine the level and degree of work involved in an SEO campaign.

Using these advanced search operators modify the search results in some way, or even tell Google to do a totally different type of search on your Web site. Keep in mind too that some of these operators can be used in other search engines as well, like MSN and Yahoo! Note that there are no spaces between the search operator and the Web page URL.

1. site:

Using the site: in the search box followed by [www.]yourwebsiteaddress[.com] determines how many Web pages within the entire Web site are currently being recognized by Google. This function also limits results to one particular domain. This helps SEO experts know which Web pages are already being seen (and which ones aren't yet), so we can optimize those first.

2. cache:

Using the cache: in the search box followed by www[dot]yourwebsiteaddress[dot]com shows the last time the search engine crawled a particular Web page. You may enter your homepage address or an inside Web page to find out the most recently spidered version of a Web page stored in a search engine's cache.

3. info:

The search query info: presents a collection of data that a search engine has about that Web page, like its latest cache date, Web pages similar to your site, Web pages that link to your site, Web pages within your site and Web pages containing the your domain name.

4: link:

This search query results in finding all Web sites that are currently linking to your site. This helps determine how much link building services are needed in an SEO program for a client. Link popularity is still considered a major factor to achieving high keyword rankings in search engines. It also helps knowing what sites are linking to yours, so you can then determine whether or not you want them linking to your site.

5. related:

This search shows Web pages that are similar to a specific URL. For example, will list all web pages that are similar to the Santa Claus homepage.

6. allinurl: or inurl:

These searches display all Web pages where the search terms queried appear in the URL. For example, allinurl: circus world will return only Web sites that have the words circus and world somewhere in the URL. The advanced search operator inurl: is used only when a single search term queried is necessary

7. allintext:

This search results in showing Web pages where all search terms listed appear in the body content (visible text) portion of a Web page. In SEO campaigns, using this advanced search operator helps in discovering other related sites for possible link exchanges or link submissions.

8. allinanchor: or inanchor:

These queries display all Web pages where the search terms listed appear in the URL. For example, allinanchor: circus world will return only Web sites that have the search terms circus and world appear in the text of links pointing to a Web page. The advanced search operator inanchor: is used only when a single search term listed is necessary

9. allintitle: or intitle:

These advanced search operators display all search terms listed appear in the title of Web pages. For example, allintitle: circus world will return only Web sites that have the keywords circus and world in the titles of Web pages. The search operator intitle: only shows Web pages where a single word appears in the title of Web pages.

10. define:

Although SEO experts may not use this advanced search operator often, sometimes it comes in handy just to quickly learn what a particular word or phrase means, instead of going to other online dictionary Web sites.


Wendy Suto is President and CEO of Search Circus, Inc, a full service certified search engine optimization and marketing firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. Our gurus specialize in social media marketing, blog marketing, pay-per-click, article and press release submissions and more. Let us help you navigate through the search engine merry go round and put your Website into the center ring online, where it belongs.

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