In a post some time ago, we were talking about a new set of skills needed in marketing; being able to use search operators is one of them. With the wealth of information available now on the web and the rate at which new data is posted online, it is essential to learn to filter your search results and instruct the search engine to return exactly what you are looking for. The way to do this is by using Google Search Operators.
Google’s search operators allow you to modify your search query with a set of specific rules to refine your search results and make it easier to find what you are looking for.
Search operators are symbols or strings of queries placed in the search box next to the rest of the query.
Here are some of the most useful.
1) ” “
Put any phrase in quotes to force Google to use exact-match. Ex. “Rolling Stones Tickets” will return results for those words in that order
Google search defaults to logical AND between terms. Specify “OR” for results which will not contain both terms (ALL-CAPS). Ex. digital OR marketing:
3) ( )
Use parentheses to group operators and control the order in which they execute. Ex. (digital OR marketing)
An asterisk (*) acts as a wild-card and will match on any word. Ex. “Senate voted * on the * bill”
Use (..) with numbers on either side to match on any integer in that range of numbers. Ex. Apple announcement 2015..2017
Put minus (-) in front of any term (including operators) to exclude that term from the results. Ex. Apple -phones
Search only in the page’s title for a word or phrase. Use exact-match (quotes) for phrases. Ex. intitle:”Apple Vs, Samsung”
Search the page title for every individual term following “allintitle:” . Ex. allintitle: Apple vs. Samsung
Search for a word or phrase (in quotes), but only in the body/document text. Ex. intext:”Apple vs Samsung”
10) allintext: Search the body text for every individual term following “allintext:”. Ex. allintext: apple vs Samsung
Match only a specific file type. Some examples include PDF, DOC, XLS, PPT, and TXT.
“apple announcements” filetype:pdf
Return sites that are related to a target domain. Only works for larger domains.
Returns results where the two terms are within (X) words of each other. Ex. Apple AROUND(3) phones
You can chain together almost any combination of search operators:
“Roger Federer” intitle:”top 5..10 facts” -site:youtube.com inurl:2017
This search returns any pages that mention “Roger Federer” as an exact-match, have the phrase “Top (X) facts” in the title, with x ranging from 5 to 10, are not on YouTube.com, and have “2017” in the URL.