Complete list of Google Search Operators in 2020 (and how to get the most out of them)
- By Oskar Gräsman
- April 23, 2020
Average Joe and ordinary Jane are probably not aware of Google’s search operators. They are usually not aware of how they can improve their own searches using some of the basic search operators, or advanced ones for that matter, either.
Since you ended up here at Wincher’s blog, we can probably assume you are working with SEO or some sort of digital marketing, so most likely you are already familiar with several of the search operators. But do you know them all, and do you know how to get the most out of them? Let’s have a look!
If you are not familiar at all with Google’s search operators, don’t feel bad. They are super easy to use. You just put the search operator in the search field together with your instructions and/or search phrase. You’ll understand in a minute if you keep reading!
The one I personally use the most is site:. Combined with other operators you can get a lot out of this quite simple operator.
Just write site: followed by a domain name or URL, if the domain or URL is indexed by Google you will see it in the SERP below.
It’s good if you want to limit your search to a certain domain, or URL. Using site: followed by a keyword will show the pages that contain the specific keyword.
Will return all indexed pages, including pages on subdomains.
Will return all indexed pages from the subdomain www.
Will return all indexed pages from the blog and its subdirectories and pages.
Will return all indexed pages where SEO is mentioned.
As you can see on the left part of the image, in the first result all subdomains are included. Like www.wincher.com and help.wincher.com. In the right part of the image only results from www.wincher.com is included.
On the left side of this image you can see all the results from the directory of www.wincher.com/blog. I.e. this would return the whole blog of Wincher. In the right part of the above image, Google would return every page of www.wincher.com/blog which has a mention of me, Oskar Gräsman.
Why site: probably is the mother of all operators
In my opinion, the site: operator is the most useful one for a professional SEO.
First of all, you can get an idea of how big a website is, in terms of pages. In no time basically. Although, bear in mind that pages with a lot of category, tags and indexable metadata will make a website look bigger. It’s also not always accurate. You can try the accuracy yourself by using site: on your own website and compare the result with the data from Google Search Console.
If you don’t get any results at all using site: on a domain or URL, that means the site is not in Google’s index.
That being said about the site: operator. The real power of site:, and other search operators, lies in the possibility to combine them in creative ways.
This operator is called the exact match operator. Putting a search query within quotation marks will only return searches that match exactly what’s put in between the quotation marks.
As you probably have noticed Google works a lot with synonyms and quite often understands very well what the user’s search intent is, rather than trying to only look for exact matches of the keyword or search phrase. Unless you use the exact match operator.
The negative operator, this one is also great and works with most other operators. Simply put – followed by the search operator and it will exclude whatever operator you are using, from the search result.
For example, if you want to look for a Google Home Mini, but don’t want to include searches from Google Store, simply search for Google Home
The OR operator can be used by either putting OR (with capital letters) or by using | to separate the keywords. The search result will contain either, or both, keywords.
The parentheses operator is used in a similar way as in mathematics. It’s used to isolate operators for more advanced searches, using multiple operators at once.
The wildcard operator can be used as a wildcard in a search phrase. On its own, this operator doesn’t make a lot of difference. But used in an exact match operator, or together with some other operators, it does do its job.
The currency operator is used to search for prices. Simply use a currency sign in front of a number. For the time being it works with $ (US Dollars) and € (Euro). But currently not with £ (British Pounds) or ¥ (Japanese Yen and Chinese yuan).
The intitle: operator lets you search for keywords and key phrases found in the titles of websites.
The allintitle: operator is very similar to the intitle: operator, but all keywords specified has to be present in the title.
The inurl: operator lets you search for queries found in the URL of websites, including the domain name.
The allinurl: operator is very similar to the inurl: operator, but all keywords specified has to be present in the URL.
The intext: operator lets you search for keywords and key phrases found in the body of a website.
The allintext: operator is very similar to the intext: operator, but all keywords specified has to be present in the body of a website.
The filetype: operator lets you specify a specific filetype of what you are searching for.
The related: operator lets you look for related websites based on a domain name. This operator only works on bigger websites. As an example, google.com itself would return 9 related websites, apple.com 32, nytimes.com 15 and 7 related websites to wincher.com.
The AROUND(X) operator, or proximity search operator, helps you to find search results where two words occur within X words from each other.
This operator makes Google work as a dictionary, define: followed by a word will return the explanation and meaning of that word. Only works for English words.
Gives you the latest cached version of an indexed web page. Unless this is blocked through the meta tag noarchive.
Some good use cases
If you want to see how a recently edited or updated site or paged looked before the cache: operator might be very helpful
This operator returns Google’s weather widget which presents the weather for a certain location. Works for most locations. Usually, you will get exactly the same result by only search for weather followed by the location, but if you want to be 100% sure to get Googles weather widget this operator is useful.
The stocks: operator returns a Google widget with information on publicly listed companies based on the ticker symbol, such as GOOGL for Alphabet Inc (Google) or AAPL for Apple Inc.
The map: operator directly followed by a location will return Googles map widget.
The movie: operator directly followed by a movie name will return information about the movie. The result returned is not very consistent. Sometimes the movie: operator makes little to no difference, whilst in some locations, you will get a lot of extra information. For example where and when a movie is currently showing or available to stream.
This operator works in a similar way as the site: operator, but only works for newspapers who appear on Google News.
The in operator converts one unit to another. Works with a lot of different things like weights, distance, currencies, temperatures and much more.
Like most things, operators come and go. Some will be missed, some not so much. Below we have listed search operators that have been deprecated. Some has been officially deprecated by Google, others just won’t work or won’t return the expected result. Others might just be way too unreliable.
The link: operator followed by a domain or URL used to return sites who were linking to this site. This operator used to be very helpful when doing backlink research, but the result returned got more often sampled and quite inaccurate. It was officially deprecated in 2017, but still return some results.
The tilde operator could be used to include synonyms of your search query. Google nowadays includes synonyms by default.
The plus operator used to force exact match on single phrase searches, but was deprecated when Google+ was launched. This operator was not taken back after Google+ officially closed down back in 2019.
This operator is supposed to let you search for any number between two different numbers. For example SEO Guide 2017..2020 should return searches relevant to SEO Guide 2017, SEO Guide 2018, SEO Guide 2019 and SEO Guide 2020.
Although this operator isn’t officially deprecated, most of the time we find the result returned is faulty.
The datarange: operator used to return searches within a certain period. The time period had to be defined by the Julian date format. The operator still works in some cases, but with a lot of inconsistency.
This operator was used to return all websites using the specified word or phrase in an anchor text. It still returns some results, but the results returned are often inaccurate.
Similar to the one above but must include all words defined. Also deprecated but do return some inaccurate results.
This operator found posts written by the specified author. It only worked with Google Blog Search and was deprecated when Google Blog Search was discontinued back in 2011.
Similar to the operator above. Was also deprecated when Google Blog Search was discontinued.
This operator is very similar to the intitle: operator. But like the two operators above, this one was also specific for Google Blog Search.
This operator was also used on Google Blog Search to find the blog of a domain. Also deprecated, but still returns some inaccurate results occasionally.
The info: operator returned information about a page, like similar pages and last time it was cached by Google. It was deprecated in 2017.
This operator could return someone’s phone number, but was deprecated in 2010.
The # or hashtag operator was introduced to be able to search hashtags. It was introduced together with Google+, but is now deprecated.
Limits your search result to a specific location. It’s not officially deprecated, but the results returned are inaccurate and inconsistent.
Limits search result for news to a specific location. It’s not officially deprecated, but the results returned are inaccurate and inconsistent.
It’s really fun to play around with these advanced search operators and you will realize that the more time you spend exploring the different use cases, you will find new ones that fit your needs. If you are good with your search operators, they can even do quite advanced things that you otherwise would need expensive tools to achieve.
As you probably already realized, the expected result from a lot of the operators is not always a hundred per cent accurate, nor consistent. Using exact match on key phrases, and even single keywords, have worked good for me to get more accurate results.
Please share your favourite search operator and what you use it for in the comment section below. Also feel free to ask any questions you might have on search operators or share your feedback on this article.