Search like a pro: Google search operators
Comprehensive list of advanced search operators
You probably use the world's most famous search engine to find things everyday, but you might not know about some of its advanced search operators. You can use these special search phrases to find things that are otherwise burried in the search results. Read along for a comprehensive list of advanced Google search operators.
Why use advanced search operators?
You may wonder why you might need the advanced search operators? Well, you can use them to narrow your search to very specific pages. This can be useful for things like:
- subject research: If you know about a specific product, company, club, competitor or subject and want to find pages that are related to it - but not necessarily featuring the same keyword. Like pages related to Ajax, the Amsterdam soccer club.
- cyber-security reconaissance: If you're a cyber-security specialist and you need to find a specific page on a given domain name. For instance to specifically find the login page of a certain website.
- keyword analysis for search engine optimisation: If you have your own website or blog, it can be very useful to learn about the popularity of a certain keyword. Sometimes choosing the right keyword can make all the difference in web traffic (and commercial success).
- find specific images: If you're looking for a specific screenshot, photo or illustration you can use narrow your search to get what you want quicker. Like, for instance, to find a swimming certificate of a certain person.
Perform an exact-match search by encapsulating the search phrase in quotes. You can use this to refine search results, or to exclude partial matches.
example: "Willem Laurentz Middelkoop"
Search for both X and Y, the results will include pages that match both keywords.
example: Ronaldo AND Juventus
Search for X or Y, the results will include pages matching either or both keywords. You can use the pipe (|) operator instead of "OR".
example: Apple | Samsung
Exclude search results that match a given term or phrase preceded by the minus. This is useful when you are specifically looking for something that is not X or Y.
example: Jackson -Michael
Use Google's built-in dictionary to display the meaning of a word.
Display the most recently crawled version of a given website. This can be useful when the actual website is offline or recently changed. This only works if the page is indexed by Google (most pages are).
Search within a given website (or partial website address).
example: watch band site:http://www.apple.com
Find website that are somehow related to a given website.
Only show results that are a given file type, like PDF, XLSX, TXT or DOCX.
example: ascii art filetype:txt
Only show pages with a certain search phrase in the title.
Like 'intitle', but only shows pages with all of the specified words in the title tag.
example: allintitle:privacy statement
Shows pages containing a certain word somewhere in the content.
Like the intext filter, this filter only shows pages that contain all words on the page.
example: allintext:open sesame
Find pages that contain a given word in their URL. This is handy when you're looking for a specific kind of page on a website (like an upload or login page).
Similar to 'inurl' the 'allinurl' filter only shows pages that contain all given words in their URL.
example: allinurl:running shoes overview
With these advanced search filters you can tune your search queries to deliver you more targeted results. This allows you to find things quicker, or find things that otherwise would remain burried in the numerous results.
When you combine these advanced search filters you can become a true 'search ninja'. Try these queries for good fun:
- allinurl:orwell 1984 filetype:pdf to find PDF versions of the classic book 1984 by George Orwell
- intitle:webcam 7 inurl:8080 -intext:8080 to find random online webcams from all over the world
- allintitle:snake 97 to find everyting written about a certain retro phone game
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