Here are my rantings on internet marketing. I've given some good advice in some articles, and others, well. Take a look for yourself.
Blog » How to search like a boss
In the world of Google Search, many people are unaware that there are specific functions you can use within the search bar. Often people will search for a broad keyword, meaning it’s not entirely specific and has no operators. For example, if you were to look for a plumber of some kind, then you may decide to enter plumbers. If you wanted to be a little more specific, you may even use the keyword plumbers Sydney or plumbers around Newtown. There is nothing wrong with this, and Google are trying very hard to accommodate to these kinds of searches, however, you’re not going to get an accurate results page every time.
Search Query: Plumbers = About 62,700,000 results (0.34 seconds)
Search Query: Plumbers Sydney = About 12,500,000 results (0.19 seconds)
Search Query: Plumbers around Newtown = About 408,000 results (0.38 seconds)
You can see straight away that the type of keyword makes a difference. However, for the sake of this article let’s use some operators for these three search queries. I’m going to introduce the operator called intext. Which will search for an exact match phrase that is within the text of a site.
Search Query: intext:”Plumbers” = About 62,000,000 results (0.25 seconds)
Search Query: intext:”Plumbers Sydney” = About 18,300 results (0.23 seconds)
Search Query: intext:”Plumbers around Newtown” = About 41 results (0.33 seconds)
Now plumbers around Newtown brings an exact match, meaning they’re not specifically from Australia, they’re just sites that have that keyword in that order. I’m going to add another operator called inurl and also take out the stop word around.
Search Query: intext:”Plumbers Newtown” inurl:”.com.au” = About 2,590 results (0.35 seconds)
We can see plumbers located in suburbs called Newtown on Australian domains. But we can be slightly more specific if we wanted to by adding New South Wales, or NSW. Let’s try both.
Search Query: intext:”plumbers newtown” inurl:”.com.au” New South Wales = About 10 results (0.35 seconds)
Search Query: intext:”plumbers newtown” inurl:”.com.au” NSW = About 494 results (0.33 seconds)
You can see that there is a direct impact with each search string variation, simply by adding an operators to narrow the search.
OR is another operator that will mix results for you, if you're using quotes to find exact match phrases. Sticking to the plumbers theme, l will try and find plumbers in Newtown NSW and St Peters NSW.
Search Query: intext:”plumbers newtown” OR intext:”plumbers st peters” inurl:”.com.au” NSW = About 312,000 results (0.33 seconds)
Search Query: intext:”plumbers newtown” OR intext:”plumbers st peters” inurl:”.com.au” New South Wales = About 70,800 results (0.42 seconds)
We can see the results of two different suburbs. This is good if you don’t want to have two separate searches and filter through the results.
– is an operator you can use to make something negative, meaning you don’t want to see it. Again, sticking to the plumbing theme I can see a lot of results taking up the first page from a website called homeimprovementpages.com.au. I’m going to quickly slide in another advanced operator here called site. I’m using site to remove results from the domain homeimprovementpages.com.au.
Search Query: intext:”plumbers newtown” OR intext:”plumbers st peters” inurl:”.com.au” New South Wales -site:homeimprovementpages.com.au = About 69,900 results (0.42 seconds)
Search Query: intext:”plumbers newtown” OR intext:”plumbers st peters” inurl:”.com.au” NSW -site:homeimprovementpages.com.au = About 308,000 results (0.41 seconds)
I not only have a very specific search string, I can see exactly what I’m looking for without even having to go to page 2
On the flip side, you can remove the minus symbol before site and it will include results only from that domain.
Search Query: “plumbers newtown” OR “plumbers st peters” site:truelocal.com.au NSW = 3 results (0.36 seconds)
If you’re clever, you will alter these search queries by using common words or numbers across all of these sites. The ones that stick out for me in this particular example are the postcode (2042) and the keyword inner west. I’m going to take advantage of that and introduce another operator, the plus symbol.
Search Query: plumber intext:”2042″+”inner west” site:truelocal.com.au = About 111,000 results (0.31 seconds)
This is how you can search an entire website without having to use their clunky search functions. You can do it all within Google itself.
These operators are not for everyone, although I would encourage everyone to at least give it a go. These are specifically for people that have a reason to find something without filtering though millions of URLs, or to have a narrow list of specific targets. These people include journalists, data miners and SEOs. Researchers and writers will also use this function to find something specific. I’m sure I’ve missed a few other reasons, but that’s all I can think of.
Keep in mind that these are search strings, so if you’re looking to monitor something specific over time, then you can use Google Alerts with these strings and you will be alerted by email when a new result comes up.
Thanks for reading and I hope you learnt something. Last thing I want to do is teach people how to suck eggs. 😉
I'm a digital marketing and SEO consultant based in Sydney, Australia. I drink a lot of coffee and spend most of my time working on clients websites and improving their search visibility.