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Erika Varagouli

The Ultimate Guide to Google Search Operators and Google Search Commands

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Erika Varagouli
Google Search Operators Guide

Searching on Google is a relatively simple thing to do. Just enter the keywords and up come the results you want, right? — To an extent, that is correct. 

But for anyone looking for something a bit more focused, particularly niche or a bit more technical that is related to a term or a particular URL, a regular keyword search just may not cut the mustard.

That’s where Google’s search operators and commands come in. 

They will take your regular searches and make them more targeted, helping you to find the results you need quickly.

For the seasoned search professional, Google’s search operators and search commands are old hat. For the uninitiated, though, they can seem daunting or complex. 

In this guide, we will go over the basics of search operators and search commands, helping you understand how to wield these powerful tools effectively and move on to advanced commands and operators — this guide will help you use Google to its full potential.

Here is what we will cover:

What Are Google Search Operators?

To put it simply, Google search operators (GSO) are special characters that are added to a search term to allow you to get more granular results. 

These generally fall into the following categories:

  • Punctuation based search operator.

  • Boolean search operator.

  • Advanced search operators.

Maybe you only want to search for an exact phrase, or you want to convert one unit of measurement into another. There are search operators for each of these and a whole range of other functions.

An example of a simple Google search operator is shown below:

Example Search Command

What Are Google Search Commands or Advanced Search Operators?

Advanced search operators, otherwise known as Google search commands, take this to the next level. 

These are terms and commands that are added to a search query that can fundamentally change what you are searching for and may require additional parameters or a URL to be added to the query.

They are typically used to narrow down the results that a search will return, or to pull out specific information that a normal query would not. 

For instance, you can limit a search to only looking in page titles, or to specific formats of documents.

Here is a simple Google search command example:

example search command

Google search commands can be combined with Google search operators to make results even more unique and advanced.

Here is an example of a Google search command working together with a Google search operator:

search operator combination

A Google Search Operator Cheat Sheet

There is a wide array of Google search engine operators and even unique options for different Google tools like Google Drive and Google Mail. 

These can be used for an array of powerful tasks within all aspects of SEO, whether you are performing technical checks, performing research for content marketing pieces, or looking for link building opportunities.

Below, we have put together a Google search operator cheat sheet, designed to help you find the right operators for the right task. If you want a full list of Google search operators, jump to the table at the bottom. 

Google Search Operators For Technical SEO

There are a number of Google search commands that work well either alone or combined to help you perform technical audits on a domain.

When used in conjunction with other forms of analysis, you will be able to dig even deeper into the problems a site may have using things as simple as different search syntax.

A few examples of how to use Google’s advanced search operators for technical SEO are as follows:

How to Check URL Indexation On a Domain Using Google Search

This is a simple use of one of the advanced search operators:

Site:domainname.com

This operator will allow you to quickly search for results from one single domain. It will show you the number of results available for that domain, which for large sites can be particularly useful.

For example:

indexation check search operator

This shows there are 164,000 pages being indexed on the premier league’s website. It is particularly useful for spotting where there are indexation issues.

For instance, if your site has 5,000 pages, but Google is indexing 10,000, or vice versa, it will show there are problems that need fixing. You need to find out what exactly those problems are, but just having this top-line information can be a great starting point.

Are there problems with the indexation of search pages? What about https:// or subdomains?

That first search may be showing too much information or page to really highlight these issues, but it is great to use to show the potential size of the problem.

The next step is to drill down using more advanced search commands. You should check individual areas of the site, like a blog or category section.

This is as simple as performing the following query:

site:domainname.com/blog (or whatever prefix you want to check under for that domain)

This operator will show you the number of indexed pages for that section of the site, and you will be able to quickly tell if there are too many.

It will also show you the URLs, and if a result that shouldn't be there shows up, you will be able to look into ways to resolve this issue.

For example:

Example of a search operator to look at a section of a website

The Premier League website has 27,800 pages indexed just in its news section.

The next simple step is to check any subdomains attached to the domain, whether you know about their existence or not.

Simply use the search operator combination of:

site:*.domainname.com -www

Wildcards

This operator uses the same site search we mentioned before but adds a * as a wildcard prefix to your domain name then removes any results containing www with the ‘-’ exclusion operator.

For example:

checking subdomains with the wildcard prefix site operator

The Premier League has 19,500 pages sitting on subdomains that are being indexed.

This includes fantasy.premierleague, stories.premierleague, and e.premierleague.

How to Remove Subdomains From Your Google Searches

If you are looking to do the opposite and completely remove the subdomains from your searches, then you will need to add another Google search operator into the mix.

This will require you to know the name of the subdomains, but it is particularly useful for removing dev or staging sites from your searches.

Site:domainname.com -inurl:subdomainkeyword

This search command will search the domain but use the ‘-’ exclusion operator combined with the ‘inurl:’ operator to remove any URLs that mention a particular keyword.

Suggestions could be things like ‘dev’ or ‘staging’, but you can use it to remove any areas you don’t want to look at, like a certain category or subdomain.

For example:

Site operator to remove subdomains or a category

Without the fantasy.premierleague subdomain, the number of indexed pages for the Premier League’s site has drastically dropped.

Find Non-Secure Pages on Your Domain

While HTTPS should be the standard these days, some pages may have slipped through the cracks, or you may be unsure as to whether the transition to HTTPS from your old HTTP domain has been a success.

Site:domainname.com -inurl:https

This uses the site search as previously, but then adds the ‘-’ exclusionary operator and the ‘inurl:’ operator to remove all results with the mention of HTTPS in their URL.

For example:

checking for non-secure pages with search operators

The Premier League has 295 pages that don’t have https and are being indexed.

It is a small number, but one that should be looked at.

Check the Most Recent Cache of Your Domain or URL

Using the ‘cache’ search operator will allow you to check the most recent cache that Google has of a particular domain or URL.

This can be used to make sure Google is indexing your site and to double-check whether any updates you have made to your site have been cached yet.

cache:domainname.com

It will return a whole different display view displaying the most recent cache and stating when it was from.

Google Search Operators for Content Marketing

Google search is often the first port of call for content marketers looking to perform research.

Whether it is to find inspiration for content, look at what competitors are doing, or to check your own domain, there are a number of search operators that can take your content marketing research to the next level.

Many content marketers may not know these basic search operators, but just a few simple additions could help them discover issues or opportunities that could be quick to fix or create.

The Basic Search Operators for Content Marketing Research

We will start with a few of the basic search operators and how they can be used simply when performing research for content pieces or campaigns.

Google is often the first port of call for content research, but simple keyword searches will often throw up too many results that are too wide of the mark, so here are a few you will want to keep in mind for some basic content research:

Focus Your Search by Forcing Exact Match Results With the Quote Operator: “ ”

Keyword 1 "phrase 1"

This is one of the most basic search operators available and can be used to force Google to only show searches where the phrase matches exactly. i.e., the words within the quotation marks must appear in the order or state they are in in the query.

force exact match with quote operator

Override Google’s Standard AND Searches and Force the Boolean Operator OR

Keyword 1 OR keyword 2

This will show results that include one or the other of the searches, whereas a normal search will focus on results that include both.

This works best when the two keywords don’t appear together that often.

how to use boolean operators in google search

Use Parentheses to Group Terms You Want to Prioritize or Search Against Another Term

(keyword 1 OR keyword 2) keyword 3

This maximizes the use of the Google boolean search operator OR and will show you articles that relate to keyword 1 AND keyword 3 OR keyword 2 and keyword 3.

A normal search query of all 3 keywords can be quite restrictive as Google will greatly prioritize results that feature all three keywords.

Adding in the OR and the parentheses can open up wider searches and give you better results.

For example:

Google boolean search operator OR

This will return results for both the Football League and Football League.

Use the Negative Sign to Exclude One Specific Keyword or a Number of Them

Keyword 1 -keyword 2

Or, exclude a number of keywords:

Keyword 1 -keyword 2 -keyword 3 -keyword 4

This will exclude other terms you don’t want to see.

For instance, if you are looking for a term that also has an association with a brand or sports team, you could remove searches that are related to those by completely excluding the words.

You can also use this to remove exact match phrases using the quotation marks you learned earlier.

For example:

exclude terms with search operators

This returns all results linked to football, but not the Premier League.

Use Wildcard Functions When There Is Uncertainty in Broader Terms

"Keyword 1 * Keyword 2"

Say your two keywords are frequently mentioned together, but it could be with or, and, &, or something else between them.

Forcing an exact match would only show the results of the one you chose to search. Using the * function allows you to find all of the options you want but keep the keywords in the order and phrase you wanted.

For example:

Wildcard Functions in search operators

Find Terms That Are Frequently Used Near Each Other In Sentences

Keyword 1 AROUND(X) keyword 2

If the keywords you are looking for don’t sit naturally together but you want to find content that is related to them, then there is a good chance they will still be mentioned within a number of words of each other.

Using the AROUND(X) Google search operator allows you to specify how fuzzy you want your search to be. Changing the X to a number will return results where the two keywords are mentioned within that number of words of each other.

For instance, if the function is AROUND(4) then the results that are shown are ones where keyword 1 and keyword 2 are mentioned within 4 words of each other in the copy.

For example:

AROUND Google search operator

This finds all of the pages where ‘football’ and ‘transfer’ are mentioned within 3 words of each other.

You can combine this with the quotation exact match function to find longer phrases that are mentioned near each other too.

Use Site Search to Find Content From Specific TLDs, Such as Universities or Government Sites

Keyword 1 site:.gov

This will return mentions of a keyword from a .gov domain. You could do this for .ac or .edu or even region-specific TLDs.

It will give you some insight into how these sites are talking about particular subjects, which would be useful for both content writing, campaigns, and potential linking opportunities.

For example:

search for Specific TLDs

This would return all mentions of football on .gov domains.

For Pure Content Research, Exclusively Search the Body Text

Intext: keyword 1

Or, to find results where all of the keywords are mentioned, but they aren’t an exact match:

allintext: keyword 1 keyword 2 keyword 3

This search syntax will return results that are purely in the body text of a web page. This option excludes page titles and is good for finding mentions within bodies of copy.

The second ‘allintext:’ function will only show you results where all of the keywords are mentioned.

Being able to use that, but not limiting yourself to exact match phrases using quotation marks, can be incredibly useful.

For example:

searching intext

This will only return results where football, training, and transfer are all mentioned within the body of text.

How to Find Duplicate Content or Plagiarized Content with Google Search Operators

We all know that duplicate content is bad for a domain, but that doesn’t stop it from occurring.

Whether it is down to the need for quickly populating a new site with content, or third-party brand supplied descriptions on eCommerce sites, there are often reasons for duplicate content popping up.

If you want to double-check that a particular sentence or block of text is duplicated elsewhere on your domain then use the following operator:

Site:domainname.com "the content you are checking for duplicates" 

This uses the site search operator to only return results for that domain, then the “” will only return results matching the exact text within them.

It could even be that your own content has been duplicated elsewhere without your knowledge, or because of similar reasons to the above, like third party brand guidelines.

To check for duplicates on other domains, you can simply exclude your own domain from the search results:

-Site:domainname.com "the content you are checking for duplicates"

This is the same search but with the ‘-’ exclusionary search operator added to your own domain, which will stop it appearing alongside other results for the content you have searched for.

For example:

showing an exclusionary search operator

This shows that a particular piece of content from the Premier League’s website has been duplicated elsewhere. In this instance, it is likely just a scrape, but in many cases, it could be that something has been deliberately plagiarised or just copy and pasted.

How to Find Files Uploaded to a Domain

Whether you are looking for files you completely forgot you uploaded to your own domain, or doing research into how many random PDF files a client has decided to upload over the years, being able to track down files without knowing how many there are, or their name, is incredibly useful.

Maybe you have finally decided to take the step of converting all that old PDF content into proper onsite content, or you are after a presentation you gave back in 2014 that you don’t seem to have on your computer anymore.

Start simple with a site search for one particular file type.

For instance, a PDF:

Site:domainname.com filetype:pdf

This will return the results of all PDFs on the domain. You can do this for most other file types, like word documents, PowerPoint presentations, text files, spreadsheets, etc.

It works with images too, but it won’t let you search for files like PHP, ASP or HTML.

For example:

search operator showing filetype

This shows that there are 31 PDF documents on the Premier League website.

If you want to find a selection of files on one domain, then you can combine a number of different queries into one.

Site:domainname.com (filetype:pdf OR filetype:xls OR filetype:jpg)

The above query will return all files for that domain that are PDF, Excel spreadsheets, or jpegs.

The () are used to group the boolean functions, so they are all performed on the same search.

The Google boolean OR function tells the search you want to find all of those file types.

For example:

Using the boolean OR function for filetype

This shows that there are 57 different files that are either PDF or Excel spreadsheets.

You could also use the ext: search operator to find the file type as follows:

Site:domainname.com ext:pdf

How to Find Internal Linking Opportunities Using Google Search Operators

Internal links are a key fundamental of a successful SEO strategy, as well as being extremely useful for a user looking for more information.

So how can you find these opportunities through Google searches? It is as simple as looking for the topic of a page you want to link to in content you have already written.

Say you have written an excellent new post or you want to link back to a new category from a number of existing blog posts.

To find relevant internal linking opportunities you want to search your site for mentions of the keyword or anchor text you want to use, but exclude the page that you want to link back to.

Site:domainname.com -site:urlofpost intext:"keyword you’re after"

Let's break this down: you are searching on your own domain, excluding the URL of the post you want to link to and searching within the text of the rest of the site for the keyword you want to use as anchor text for your new post or category.

For example:

internal links search operator example

This site search looks at the whole Premier League domain, apart from the player profile for Tammy Abraham.

It then searches for his name; this is a fast way to find all of the mentions for him on the site, and check whether there are any that don’t like back to his player profile.

How to Check the Frequency of Your Competitor’s Content Schedule

Searching by your competitor’s blog URL, assuming they store their content under a blog subfolder or subdomain, will show you the overall number of posts on their site.

This alone can be useful as it lets you see the scale of what you are up against.

For example:

site:domainname.com/blog
  • This will return all posts that sit below the blog subfolder.
  • This will only work if the domain’s blog posts sit below /blog/… so keep that in mind.
  • It may be worth excluding subdomains depending on what they are used for.
  • This will give you a simple view of the number of blog posts and the number of indexed pages on the blog.

For example:

content frequency info with search operator

This shows that the EFL (English Football League) site has 9,300 indexed pages under its news section.

To check how often they are posting, you will want to check this URL using date ranges. Historically there was a daterange: search operator, but unfortunately, Google retired it. It can work for some things but is temperamental and shouldn’t be relied upon.

Instead, you want to use the search tools that Google has available. It will allow you to select a series of date ranges, such as ‘past month’, ‘past year’, or a custom range.

For example:

Showing how to select date ranges on Google

frequency of posting

This shows that the EFL has posted 63 news articles within the last month.

How to Check the Topics a Competitor is Writing About

Next, you want to check how often your competitors are blogging about key subjects.

This can help you understand why they are ranking for particular terms, or why they are seen as an authority in a space. It can also highlight your own content gaps or strengths.

This will look something like this:

site:domainname.com/blog keyword or topic

For a specific phrase, you want to add “ ” but for general subjects, you should be ok without.

To see how frequently they have talked about a subject between a date range, just combine the above with the previous suggestion, using the Google tool available in the SERPs.

For example:

Seeing topics with search operator

This shows that the EFL site has written about the transfer window 367 times. You can then set the date range if you wish.

How to Find the Number of Pages Related to a Keyword on Your Domain

This is similar to checking how often your competitors are blogging about a particular subject. Instead of limiting yourself to the blog section of your site, you can check the whole domain.

Do this using the following:

Site:domainname.com keyword

Or, if you want to only search for a specific phrase:

site: domainname.com "keywords"

This can help you identify how many pages you may have competing for the same keywords, but also can be used to check how well your domain is viewed as an expert on a particular subject.

If you then compare this to a competitor’s domain, you can spot content gaps and opportunities quickly.

How to Use the ‘intitle: Google Search Operator to Check Page Titles 

First up, you need to get to grips with the ‘intitle:’ search operator.

Intitle: keyword 1

This will search page titles for the keyword you have used. You can use other functions, like OR or the exact match quotation marks we have talked about earlier in the document.

For example:

Showing intitle search operator

This is every result that uses ‘football’ in the title, which is pretty wide. Diving deeper into this with additional keywords or operators would be recommended.

For content research, you may want to look for lists relating to a keyword to show how many listicles have been done, for instance. This is a quick and easy way to check whether your article idea has already been done to death.

For instance:

Intitle: "The best x" keyword 1

If you change the x to a number, it will return results where the keyword is mentioned alongside lists of that number.

Other options would include ‘top’, ‘the biggest’, ‘the worst’ and other phrases often used in listicles.

For example:

intitle example on Google

How to Use Boolean Operators and Google Search Commands for Link Building and PR

Once you have cracked your technical audit and started working on your well-researched content strategy, you want to start bringing those links and brand mentions in.

This could be as big as doing in-depth research for a bigger campaign, finding the right publications, online communities, or journalists to target or simply be looking for places to guest post.

We will start out basic, for people looking to guest post.

How to Find Guest Posting Opportunities Using Google Search Operators

The most basic is to search in the titles and URLs for the relevant keywords.

Always preface this with the niche you want to write in, or you will get completely irrelevant results.

Keyword 1 intitle:"write for us" inurl:"write-for-us"

That will search for results related to your keyword where they have a page that is looking for writers. It looks at the page title or the URL.

For example:

finding guest posts with search operators

This shows 55 different sites that have mentioned football and have ‘write for us’ mentioned. Try different phrases, too, because everyone will do this differently. Some suggestions are below:

  • “Become a contributor”
  • “Guest post guidelines”
  • Inurl:”guest-post”

These are just scratching the surface, and there are a whole bunch of other phrases you could be searching for, so be inventive.

You can combine as many of these together as you want, using the brackets and boolean operators we have mentioned before — like OR or | which does the same thing. For instance:

Keyword 1 (intitle:"write for us" OR intitle:"become a contributor" OR inurl:"guest-post")

You get the idea!

Find Content as Resource Opportunities with Google Search Operators

This one is particularly handy for a couple of reasons.

First of all, it is great for finding lists of resources where they’ll potentially want to add a link to yours.

Secondly, it is a great way to find out whether anyone has already created a resource on something you are creating. This means you can either find data to help with a campaign or, if no one has compiled a resource yet, you can make your own — which is a great way of attracting links when people use it.

So you need to find existing resource pages that are related to your campaign or post.

Keyword 1(intitle:"resource" | intitle:"resources" | inurl:"resources")

This is quite a broad search, so you may want to narrow it down using different search operators.

Consider using intitle: for the first keyword topic and the allintitle: search operator to really narrow it down.

For example:

using intitle to find resources example

Discover Where to Pitch Infographics Using Google Search Commands

An infographic isn’t necessarily a bad way to gain coverage and attract links, even now. If you lead with a story and use the infographic for what it is really meant for, to display data in a clear and beautiful way, then they can still garner great results.

But that doesn’t mean that they should be pitched to absolutely everyone. Someone people will flat out refuse your campaign simply because it is an infographic. So you may want to make sure that you are pitching to receptive people.

Using search operators, you can find sites that actively want or feature infographics.

Sure, some of these may be a little bit spammy, but some quick research will help you discount those.

Keyword 1 intitle:infographic inurl:infographic

This will return a whole load of infographics, both the original links for them and also sites that have featured them. This is useful, but it may be a bit broad.

Try using Google’s search tools to specify a date range so you can see results from the last few months as many places may not have featured an infographic for a while.

For example:

infographic search with search operators

Another thing to consider is looking at a specific infographic. You may have found one from your search that seems to have been popular.

If you then search for that specific infographic, you will find all of the sites that featured it and may be willing to feature yours too.

How to Use The ‘Related:’ Search Operator to Find Relevant Link Prospects and Target sites

This is a good way to find competitors' content, but it is also excellent for checking for sites either like your own or similar to one of your target sites.

You can use this to either find similar domains or similar pages. So:

related:domainname.com

Or, to find pages or subfolders similar to the one you are targeting:

related:domainname.com/subfolder

This will find a number of domains or pages that are similar to the site you’ve searched for. It could give you ideas for content or help you discover whole new sites that you hadn’t considered targeting.

For instance:

finding related content with related search operator

This found 33 pages related to the Premier League’s website.

To vet them for relevancy, you can then use a site search Google search operator to check how often they actually mention the topics you want to cover.

To do this, search for results from the site, then do the same search with the topic added and compare how many pages there are. If there are only a handful and it is a huge site, maybe they aren’t as relevant as you would want them to be.

Site:domainname.com

Then

Site:domainname.com keyword

You can then see how often they mention that keyword.

Use Search Operators to Find Journalists to Contact

Once you have your content made and you are ready to promote it, you need to find the right people to promote it to. You should already have an idea of the sites you want to go to, as this will likely have been taken into account when you were coming up with ideas, but finding the right person to contact can be tricky.

Start off by finding who is writing about particular subjects the most on a site by doing a site search:

Site:domainname.com keyword 1

Site:domainname.com keyword 1

Once you have found all of the mentions for a particular theme, you can see who has written the articles. Next, you want to double-check how often they have written about that subject, to make sure they are the right person to contact.

Site:domainname.com keyword 1 "name of author"

This operator should return all of the posts they have written on that subject. You could also do the same query without the site, perhaps even excluding that site, to see whether they have written anywhere else about the subject too.

For example:

author search

This shows you all of the articles written on SEMrush by one individual.

You then need to track down their email address, which could be awkward depending on the individual, but another suggestion would be to find them on social media. You can use Google search operators for that pretty easily:

Author name site name (site:twitter.com OR site:facebook.com OR site:linkedin.com)

This should return their social profiles. You may want to check other sites too.

How to Use Google Search Operators to Find Competitor Mentions to Make Your Own Opportunities

This is particularly good for a couple of different reasons. You can find out where your competitors are being mentioned, and where you aren’t — but you can also find out why they are being mentioned, so you can see whether you can replicate it.

It is a good way to get inspiration but also to see if there are any quick wins, and you don’t even need a tool to do it, just Google search.

Intext:"competitor name" -site:competitorsite.com

This will return any mention of your competitor’s name that isn’t on their own domain.

You can strengthen this even more by adding parentheses and additional competitors, as follows:

(intext:"competitor 1" OR intext:"competitor 2") -site:competitorone.com -site:competitortwo.com

You can even add keywords to these searches so you can try and find out whether they have been mentioned around specific topics.

For example:

find competitor mentions with search operators example

This will show you all of the results for Premier League in other site’s texts but has removed the social platform Twitter too.

Try the ‘Link:operator to See Who Your Competitors Are Getting Links From

This particular search operator was technically deprecated in 2017, but occasionally it can work, so if you are struggling to find who your competitors are getting links from, it can be worth giving it a go.

Just don’t rely too heavily on it.

Link:domainame.com -site:domainname.com

You could try it on particular pages too to see who is linking to that exact URL.

Search Operators for Other Google Tools

There is also a selection of search operators that work within different Google tools, outside of just standard Google search. This includes Google Mail, Google Drive, and Google Maps.

Some of these are the same as those that work in Google search, but for some, particularly Google Mail and Google Drive, there are entirely unique features.

Search Operators for Google Mail

A selection of search operators for Google Mail are as follows, check the full list of Google search operators at the bottom for the exhaustive list, including those which work across several tools:

Search Operator

What it does

from:

Specify the sender in Google mail

to:

Specify the recipient in Google mail

cc:

Search by a recipient that was copied into an email

bcc:

Search by a recipient that was blind copied into an email

subject:

Search by keywords featured in the subject line

{}

Use for OR in mail instead of the OR function

AROUND

Similar to the normal Google search function, allows you to search for keywords near each other.

label:

Search for messages that have a certain label

has:attachment

Search for messages that have an item attached

has:youtube

Search for a message containing a youtube video

list:

Search for all messages from a particular mailing list

filename:

Search for messages with a particular type of file attached, or the exact name of a file

in:anywhere

Includes all folders in your search, including spam and bin

is:important

Search for messages that have been marked as important

is:snoozed

Searches for messages that have been snoozed

is:unread

Searches for unread messages

is:read

Searches for read messages only

older:

Search for messages older than a certain date

newer:

Search for messages newer than a certain date

is:chat

Searches for messages from chat

deliveredto:

Search by email address for delivered messages

category:

Searches by messages based on category. Follow the colon with the category name, i.e., category:primary

size:

Messages larger than a certain size in bytes

larger:

Messages larger than a certain size in bytes

smaller:

Messages smaller than a certain size in bytes

Search Operators for Google Drive

A selection of search operators for Google Drive are as follows, for those that work across multiple Google tools, check the full list of Google search operators below:

Search Operator

What it does

type:

Allows you to search drive by file type

owner:

Allows you to search drive by owner of file or folder

after:

Allows you to search drive or mail for files modified or mail sent/received anytime after a set date

before:

Allows you to search drive or mail for files modified or mail sent/received before a certain date

to:

Allows you to search drive for files shared with a specific person

title:

Searches drive for files with the keyword in their title alone

source:domain

Allows you to search for files or folders shared with everyone in your business

is:trashed

Searches for the item in the Drive bin

is:starred

Searches only items that have been starred in drive

Search Operators for Google Maps

A selection of search operators for Google Maps are as follows:

Search operator

What it does

near

Part of the Google maps lazy searches e.g. book shops near work

“Business type”

E.g. cafe, restaurant, bar, etc., will return a selection of appropriate businesses in the are

Full List of Google Search Operators

Looking for a quick summary? 

Here are all the search operators that we've showcased above in one handy reference table:

No. Operator What does it do? Category Deprecating? (These ones can be unreliable)
1 “ ” Allows searching for a specific phrase - exact match search. Individual word prevents synonyms Basic, Mail  
2 OR Boolean search function for OR searches as Google defaults to AND between words - must be all caps Basic, Mail  
3 | Implements OR Basic  
4 () Allows grouping of operators and helps dictate the order Basic, Mail  
5 - Excludes a word from results Basic, Mail  
6 * Acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase Basic  
7 #..# # represents a number in this instance. Use to find numbers in a series. Basic  
8 $ Allows for search of USD Basic  
9 Allows for search of Euro Basic  
10 in Allows searches for unit conversion (currency, unit, or measure) Basic  
11 ~ Prefix - Include synonyms (potentially defunct) Basic Yes
12 + Prefix - Force exact match on single phrase Basic, Mail Yes
13 daterange: Return results in a specified range (requires julian dates) Advanced Yes
14 link: Find pages that link to the target domain Advanced Yes
15 inanchor: Find pages linked to with the specified anchor text/phrase. Data is heavily sampled. Advanced Yes
16 allinanchor: Find pages with all individual terms after "inanchor:" in the inbound anchor text. Advanced Yes
17 inposttile: Finds pages with keywords in their post titles (i.e. for researching blogs)    
18 define: Pulls a card response from Google displaying the dictionary definition of the word or phrase Advanced  
19 cache: Returns the most up to date cache of an indexed web page Advanced  
20 filetype: Returns only files of a particular type associated with the keyword searched Advanced  
21 ext: As above, based on extension Advanced  
22 site: Limit results to those from one site Advanced  
23 related: Find similar domains to the queried domain Advanced  
24 intitle: Returns pages based on the searched query appearing in their title Advanced  
25 allintitle: Similar to intitle: but only returns titles where all the words in the title match Advanced  
26 inurl: Only returns results where the queried keyword(s) is present in the URL Advanced  
27 allinurl: As above but only containing all of the specified words in the URL Advanced  
28 intext: Finds pages where the keyword(s) are mentioned within the page content. Advanced  
29 allintext: Similar to “intext,” but only results containing all of the specified words somewhere on the page will be returned. Advanced  
30 AROUND(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  
31 weather: Brings up the featured snipped for weather for that location Advanced  
32 stocks: Returns stock information for the specified ticker Advanced  
33 map: Force Google map results for a particular query Advanced  
34 movie: Find information for the specified movie (particularly useful when that movie has an ambiguous name). If the movie is still in theaters it’ll also return screen times Advanced  
35 source: Use in Google news, returns results from the specified source Advanced  
36 _ Acts as wildcard for autocomplete Advanced  
37 blogurl: 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 Yes
38 loc: Returns results for a specific location Advanced Yes
39 location: As above but with Google news Advanced  
40 info: Returns information related to a domain (pages with domain text, similar on-site pages, cache, etc.) Advanced  
41 near Part of the Google maps lazy searches e.g., book shops near work Maps  
42 Business type E.g. cafe, restaurant, bar, etc. will return a selection of appropriate businesses in the are Maps  
43 Gas/Charging Station EV near me or Gas station near me returns Maps  
44 type: Allows you to search drive by file type Drive  
45 owner: Allows you to search drive by owner of file or folder Drive  
46 after: Allows you to search drive or mail for files modified or mail sent/received anytime after a set date Drive, Mail  
47 before: Allows you to search drive or mail for files modified or mail sent/received before a certain date Drive, Mail  
48 to: Allows you to search drive for files shared with a specific person Drive  
49 title: Searches drive for files with the keyword in their title alone Drive  
50 source:domain Allows you to search for files or folders shared with everyone in your business Drive  
51 is:trashed Searches for the item in the Drive bin Drive  
52 is:starred Searches only items that have been starred in drive Drive, Mail  
53 from: Specify the sender in Google mail Mail  
54 to: Specify the recipient in Google mail Mail  
55 cc: Search by a recipient that was copied into an email Mail  
56 bcc: Search by a recipient that was blind copied into an email Mail  
57 subject: Search by keywords featured in the subject line Mail  
58 {} Use for OR in mail instead of the OR function Mail  
59 AROUND Similar to the normal Google search function, allows you to search for keywords near each other. Mail  
60 label: Search for messages that have a certain label Mail  
61 has:attachment Search for messages that have an item attached Mail  
62 has:drive Search for messages with a Google drive attached Mail  
63 has:document Search for messages with a Google doc attached Mail  
64 has:spreadsheet Search for a message with a Google sheet attached Mail  
65 has:presentation Search for a message with a Google presentation attached Mail  
66 has:youtube Search for a message containing a youtube video Mail  
67 list: Search for all messages from a particular mailing list Mail  
68 filename: Search for messages with a particular type of file attached, or the exact name of a file Mail  
69 in:anywhere Includes all folders in your search, including spam and bin Mail  
70 is:important Search for messages that have been marked as important Mail  
71 label:important Same as is:important Mail  
72 is:snoozed Searches for messages that have been snoozed Mail  
73 is:unread Searches for unread messages Mail  
74 is:read Searches for read messages only Mail  
75 has:yellow-star Searches for messages with colored star icon Mail  
76 has:blue-info Searches for messages with colored icon Mail  
77 older: Search for messages older than a certain date Mail  
78 newer: Search for messages newer than a certain date Mail  
79 is:chat Searches for messagse from chat Mail  
80 deliveredto: Search by email address for delivered messages Mail  
81 category: Searches by messages based on category. Follow the colon with the category name, i.e., category:primary Mail  
82 size: Messages larger than a certain size in bytes Mail  
83 larger: Messages larger than a certain size in bytes Mail  
84 smaller: Messages smaller than a certain size in bytes Mail  
85 has:userlabels Search for messages that have custom user labels Mail  
86 has:nouserlabels Search for messages that have no custom user labels Mail  

Download the Google Search Operators Cheatsheet

Summary

All in all, Google’s search operators are incredibly powerful tools. Using simple syntax and boolean operators, you can find detailed information that can help you perform technical audits, content marketing research, and link building prospects.

It’s worth having a play around with different combinations of operators so you can find what works best for you. Google dorks or Google hacks, as some like to call them, are a great additional resource when either you can’t afford a tool, or your tool isn’t showing you what you need to find.

Now the power is in your hands, try out a few of the Google search commands and see what you can discover about your own domain or a competitor’s.

Erika Varagouli
SEMrush

SEMrush employee.

I create local and global content marketing strategies here at SEMrush. I started my career as a journalist, but gradually the world of SEO and content marketing won me over. I am obsessed with creating content people love, Nick Cave, and Italian films. Fueled by caffeine.
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