Man has always wanted to invent a machine like a magic lamp. A machine that has the answer to all questions and knows everything. Maybe it can be claimed that search engines and especially Google are the kind of all-knowing magic machines that mankind has always dreamed of.
Internet users all over the world ask Google their questions and problems every day. Of course, everyone asks their question in a different way. For example, if someone wants to buy a perfume for his friend, he might use this phrase: the best perfumes for men. Of course, not all searches are always easy.
For example, a student is looking for an article with a specific title. This title is similar to the name of a movie. Well, how to tell Google not to show the results related to that movie? Maybe the search is for a three-word phrase and the user wants content that has exactly that phrase, not content about each word in that phrase individually.
So sometimes we are looking for something but we don’t know how to google it. Sometimes the opposite happens: Google doesn’t understand what we mean. It means he does not understand what we are looking for. After all, Google is not a person. It is a machine that has its own language. This is a problem that Google itself knows better than any of us.
So it has found a solution for that: to bring the language of the user’s searches closer to the language he understands very well. How about Using Google Search Operators (Google search operators). That is, with these operators, Google teaches all its users in any language that, for example, if you want to tell me to search for the same phrase, put it between.
The number of these operators is more than the example we gave, and their usefulness and importance do not end only with professional search in Google. Many things can be done with these operators, especially in SEO. Read this content to get to know the operators that help to make your search more targeted and professional in Google, as well as their functions in the SEO of the site.
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Google search operators and their role in site SEO
Each operator gives a specific message to Google: that is, when it is added to what the user wants to search for, Google understands that the results should be shown to the user filtered and that he does not want all the results. Therefore, you, the user, can limit the search circle as much as you want.
The more professional and detailed the searches, the faster the user will find what they want. Maybe this advantage is not very big and useful for the average user who is only looking for men’s perfumes or the address of the best cafes in the city. But for many others, this is not the case, because they are searching on Google for their jobs and professions. The results and information they get from Google are effective in their decisions.
One of those professions is definitely SEO, a job that deals with Google searches and Google tools (like Search Console) every day. An important part of SEO is the analysis of content and links, both the content and links of the site to be optimized and those of competitors. It is precisely in this section that Google search operators come to the aid of SEO experts. Of course, if he knows how to use them.
What is a Google search operator?
Google search operators are special characters and commands (sometimes called “advanced operators”) that extend the capabilities of regular text searches. Search operators can be useful for everything from content research to technical SEO audit.
The number of Google operators is not exactly known. This means that Google has not published an official list of these operators. In different sources, a number between 39 and 42 operators have been mentioned. As we said, each one has a specific function. These operators can be divided into 3 categories (this division is only found in some sources): Basic, Advanced and Unreliable operators.
The criterion in that proposed division is the extent to which the results are limited and refined. The third type, uncertain operators, are operators that are apparently obsolete and no longer work. But they were once known as Google operators. In the following, we bring the operators that Google itself has introduced along with those that are used in SEO (and are mentioned in reference sites in the field of SEO).
List of the most useful Google search operators
Google has divided the operators into two general categories: those operators that are used to find a specific image and others that are introduced as search techniques. Google has paid attention to two very important and key points about the use of operators:
- Not all search operators return exhaustive results.
- Don’t put spaces between the symbol or word and your search term.
Operator to search for a photo with a certain size
Type imagesize:widthxheight immediately after the word you are looking for an image for. Pay attention that the length and width must be in pixels (pixels or px).
Text search operators
- @ immediately before the word or phrase you want to search for in social networks.
- $ immediately before the specific price you want the item you’re searching for.
- # Used to search for hashtags.
- “” When you put a phrase inside this mark (Quotation mark), it will search for the same word, not each word separately. (For example, if you search for the history of artificial intelligence, content about artificial intelligence and its applications will be shown in the results.)
- .. When you put this symbol between two numbers, you instruct Google to search for the phrase in the range between those two numbers.
- OR is used to combine the search results of two words.
- :site immediately before the specific site or domain you want to search for.
- :related immediately before the site you want to find all related sites.
- :cache immediately before the site you want to see the cached version of (that is, the version that Google has seen and indexed).
- – (Negative sign / Minus) If you put a minus sign after the term you want to search with a space and write a word after it, the word after the minus will be removed from the search results of that term. (For example, I want to know about jaguar, the animal jaguar, not the famous car brand. I need to search jaguar -car).
- :intitle This operator instructs Google to find only pages that contain the requested word or phrase in its title.
- :inurl This operator instructs Google to find only pages that contain the requested word or phrase in their URL address.
- * When you don’t know what exactly you are looking for, if you put this operator between two words you know, Google itself will show a set of results related to those two words.
- :filetype When you add the file type (PDF, DOC, XLS, PPT, and TXT) after the phrase or word you want to search, Google will show results that are of that type.
- :intext when you want to find pages and contents that use a phrase or word in their text (body).
Combining Google search operators for SEO
There is no rule that prevents you from combining multiple operators together. This means that Google executes several commands at the same time. And it is precisely with these combinations that these operators can be used in SEO. There is no limit to these combinations. Only some of them are better known. But you may come up with new combinations that are good for your searches by using the 42 operator list.
Using search operators to analyze your site and competitors
1. Finding duplicate content and copies
Quality content is very, very important in optimizing your website. All the content of the site must be written firsthand and comprehensively. SEO experts should watch out for duplicate content (similar content or content with the same keywords) on the site. This is difficult when there is a lot of content or the site is old and not optimized and now the expert wants to check everything.
This is where the expert can easily use these operators. For example, he wants to know how many articles there are about the hummingbird algorithm keyword on his site: after the :site operator, he writes the address of the blog site and then the keyword “hummingbird algorithm”.
To check all the contents of the subdomains of a site, you can do the same search. To make the results more accurate, you can also use :intext or :intitle or :inurl. If you want to know if someone or a site is copying your content, you can also use this combination (when you put a negative sign before each operator, it works exactly the opposite. That is, in the following combination, it removes your site’s content from the results:
- The name of your site :intext:” ”-site
2. Analyzing the content of competitors’ sites and finding keywords and authoritative authors
By using :intext or :intitle or :inurl operators in combination with :site, the SEO expert can easily check the most relevant keywords, the way they are used, as well as anchor texts in any site or content. How did your powerful and competitive site use keywords in the title of its pages? How are the content of the most competitive words written on your competitor’s sites?
You may want to find a reputable writer in a specialized area. You can easily search for articles with specific keywords on the most famous and important site in that field. Then read each of those contents to see who the author is. For example, if you want to know who is active in the field of SEO, especially link building tricks, you can search pbn on the Maze site. (You will see 307 results. That is, all the content written about that keyword in the maze.)
Using search operators to analyze links and secure pages on the site
Sites must be secure to be optimized. This means that your site must have the https security protocol. If you want to make sure that all pages of the site are secured, you can use the following combination:
- site: -inurl:https
Internal linking is important in SEO. It is easy to link content to each other on a site that has a small amount of content. But if we are dealing with a lot of content, it becomes a bit difficult. One way is to browse the contents of the site with the following operators:
- “Keyword “:intext URL of the content to which you want to give an internal link:site:-site
External linking is as important as internal linking in SEO. The SEO expert should find the sites from which he can get links, i.e. related sites. With the :related operator, you can find new sites related to the topic of your site to create links in them.
Words and phrases related to your site/ your site address/ specific content address from your site: related