Advanced Google search operators: How to use them for SEO

Advanced Google search operators: How to use them for SEO

Advanced Google search operators: How to use them for SEO


What are Google search operators and how to exploit the syntax and search symbols in on-site and off-site SEO strategies

The Google Search operators are simply symbols and words that allow you to refine your searches on the web by changing the query in the search bar.

These operators, therefore, are useful to anyone who wants to learn "tricks" to refine their research as much as possible, but they are of particular importance for the "experts" who deal with SEO strategies on and off site.

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In this article we will see which are the most widespread search operators and those which, alone or combined with each other, can be used to start advanced searches useful for the realization of an SEO plan (both as regards the study of keywords and research of sites that provide guest posts , both in terms of competitor analysis ).


What are the basic Google search operators?

If you thought that search operators were tools for professionals only, you will soon change your mind. Try to think of operators as baits that allow you to find, in the shortest possible time, exactly the information you were looking for . In an immense container of information such as Google, it is almost impossible not to find the object of our research, proposed in all its variants; however, due to the infinite amount of material, sometimes finding the information you are looking for can become complicated and time-consuming.

Here are some basic operators who come to your aid:

  • Quotes double “... " : by placing quotes around the word or phrase you're looking for on Google, the SERP will show, among the results only pages that include exactly that expression.
    Example : "room for rent in Milan"
  • Subtraction symbol (-): placed before a term in your search, or a phrase, it allows you to exclude from the results the pages that contain this term or phrase.
    Example : room for rent in milan -zara
  • Define: is an operator that allows you to immediately view the definition of the term you are looking for.
    Example : define: web marketing
  • Ext: and filetype: are equivalent and their purpose is to show only documents in the desired format in the SERP. The most used formats are .pdf (Adobe Portable Document Format), .pptx (Microsoft Power Point), .docx (Microsoft Word), .html (Hypertext Markup Language), etc.
    Example : web marketing guide ext: pdf or web marketing guide filetype: pdf

Operators for the SEO analysis of a site and for web marketing

There are other search operators that allow you to conduct searches even more specific and restricted to a specific field of investigation, whether it is a specific page, a domain or a simple keyword.

These advanced search tools are useful for anyone who conducts SEO and web marketing analysis but, even in this case, knowing that they exist and knowing their potential is an advantage for anyone. The most common and used to analyze the status and content of a page or domain are:


It allows you to restrict the search to pages of a single domain, a subdomain or a specific URL. You can also combine this operator with quotes, so as to search for a limited term or phrase within the URL / domain / subdomain analyzed. Used on its own, it can help you spot problems with your domain's indexed pages (for example, you may notice that your domain's number of indexed pages is much less than it actually contains).
Example: site: optimizedgroup.it but also "search operators" site: optimizedgroup.it

It might be useful to combine this operator with the subtraction sign, as in the example:

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Payback -site: payback.it

In this way, the SERP will show the pages that mention your brand and you can find useful sites for link building.


It allows you to view the page you are looking for as it was viewed by the Google spider during the last visit to the site. In addition to the full version of the site, as it appears to normal visitors, the text-only version and the display of the source code will also be visible.
Example: cache: optimizedgroup.it

Operator *

This operator allows you to complete the query at the point you want, before or after a word or phrase, or between two or more words. In this way, Google will suggest the most searched terms combined with those proposed directly in the search bar. Be careful, however, to insert the asterisk only after typing the query; for example, type "SEO analysis" and, only later, type the asterisk before the query to get the following result:

This function can be useful in the search for keywords to identify the so-called “long tail keywords ", i.e. those keywords of three or more words that allow you to intercept more specific targets.

In text :

It allows you to find the word (or words) of your search wherever it is in the body of the page, regardless of the Meta information. Thus, the pages in which the query terms occur most in the content will appear in the SERP. In addition to the study of keywords, this operator is also useful for identifying sites similar to your brand on which to guest post.
Example: in text
: SEO consulting


They are operators that allow you to obtain results relating to pages who Title presents the query being analyzed. Specifically, the nullable operator: identifies titles that have one of the terms typed within them, while allintitle: contains them all.
Example: titolo: seo and sem à the results containing the keyword seo , the keyword sem , or both will appear in the SERP ;
Example 2 : allintitle: SEO and sem à the results containing both keywords in the Title will appear in the SERP.

inurl: and allinurl :

As you can guess, they present results that contain one or more words of the query in the URL. Similarly to titolo: and allintitle: (also functional to the analysis of competitors), in the first case they show the results that include one or more terms of the query indistinctly, while in the second case they propose only those that include them all .

Example: inurl: SEO and sem or allinurl: SEO and sem

As you have seen, there are many tools to refine your searches on Google. Which of these operators did you not know yet? Are there any operators you use frequently that we haven't mentioned? Let us know in the comments!


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