Insights

29th September 2019

What are Advanced Google Search Operators and how should I use them?

Advanced Google Search Operators are special commands you can carry out within Google that help identify SEO opportunities within your website. Simply put, they’re pieces of text you can add to a search, in order to better filter your results.

Whilst there are many different search operators you can use to narrow down your searches and focus on particular areas for improvement, we’ve taken a closer look at five of the most popular commands. Take a look below and find out more about how to use these commands, and how they could help you improve the performance of your website.

1. ‘Site command’

One of the most popular Google search operators that we use on a regular basis is the ‘site’ command. If you want to see a list of all of the URLs within your site that are indexed within Google, simply add ‘site:’ to the start of your search. For example, rather than searching ‘varn.co.uk’, we would type in ‘site:varn.co.uk’. This will then result in a list of search results containing information on pages within your site, that Google has indexed. Note: The example shown above would also show all HTTP / HTTPS pages as well as any subdomains included on your domain. To refine the search so that it only shows the one domain and only pages on HTTPS, we would instead use ‘site:https://www.varn.co.uk’.2. Exact Match

Another common search operator that we use regularly is the Exact Match command. When searching for a term that contains two or more words, Google will search for a variety of combinations of the words you’ve type in, rather than looking for the exact phrase you’ve entered. If you’d prefer instead to view results containing the exact phrase you’ve searched for, simply add quotation marks to either site of your phrase. For example, “advanced Google search operators”.

3. Cache Search

The next search operator we’re going to look at is the Cache Search. Sometimes, it’s useful to be able to take a look at the latest cached version of a website or page in order to see whether Google have cached the most recent version. It’s easy to find the latest cached version of content within search results – simply add ‘cache:’ to the start of your search. For example, by searching for ‘cache:https://varn.co.uk/seo-agency-bath/’, we’ll be able to take a look at the most recently cached version of the aforementioned page.4. ‘Or’ command

If you want to carry out a search but you’re not sure which keyword(s) would return the best results, the ‘Or’ command could be just what you’re looking for. This operator helps you search for pages which contain one word or the other. For example, if you want to search for ‘Search Engine Marketing’ or ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, you can search for pages containing either, using the following: ‘search engine marketing OR search engine optimisation’. You can sort through the results, which will contain information covering both search terms.5. Inurl 

Number 5 in our list is best used when you’re looking for URLs that contain a specific keyword. This command can vary, depending on how many keywords you’re searching for. If you’re searching for one keyword on its own, simply type ‘inurl:’ followed by your keyword. If, on the other hand, you’re searching for multiple keywords, type ‘allinurl:’ followed by your keywords, into Google search. As a working example, if you’re searching for ‘owls’ and want to only see results with ‘owls’ in the URL, you’d use ‘inurl:owls’. If you want to search for URLs containing the keywords ‘owls’, ‘natural’ and ‘habitats’, you’d simply use ‘allinurl:owls natural habitats’.

So, now you’ve taken a look at our top 5 advanced Google search operators, it’s time to put them into practice. How can these help with my SEO, you ask? These commands are key to finding out which pages within your site are actually being indexed within search. They will also help identify online competitors, whether your site shows for key search queries, whether key pages within your site have been cached by Google, and more.

If you’d like more information on how advanced Google search operators and how Varn could help optimise your website, get in touch with our friendly team today. Alternatively, stay tuned for our next blog on search operators, coming next month. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter to be kept in the loop.

Article by: Aimee, Technical SEO Manager More articles by Aimee

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