Complete List of Google Search Operators and How to Use Them
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. As a rule of thumb, they won’t ever be even looking for a complete list of Google search operators in the first place.
Since you ended up here at Wincher’s blog, I can assume that you are probably 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 how to get the most out of them? Let’s have a look!
In this article you’ll learn:
- What are Google search operators
- Why site: operator is probably the mother of all operators
- Complete list of Google search operators
- Deprecated Google search operators too unreliable to use
What Are Google Search Operators?
Google Search Operators are basically special characters and symbols that you can add to the search term in order to get more specific information. It’s like an advanced technique of conducting a search.
Want Google to provide you only with results where your target keyword is included? Use search operators. Want to save your time on scrolling through zillion results for a specific query? Use search operators to make Google work on your terms.
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!
Complete List of Google Search Operators and How to Use Them
I’ve put all the operators in the lists. This way it’s so much easier to navigate to some specific ones. Just click on the operator itself and you’ll be navigated straight to desired details about it.
- site: operator
- exact match operator: ””
- negative operator: –
- operator OR
- pipe operator: |
- parentheses operator: ()
- operator AND
- wildcard operator: *
- currency operator: $
- proximity operator: AROUND(X)
- autocomplete operator: _
- conversion operator: in
1. The search operator site:
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.
site:wincher.com -will return all indexed pages, including pages on subdomains.
site:www.wincher.com -will return all indexed pages from the subdomain www.
site:wincher.com/blog – will return all indexed pages from the blog and its subdirectories and pages.
site:wincher.com SEO -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 are included.
On the left side of this image, you can see all the results from the directory of site: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 site:wincher.com/blog Oskar Gräsman which has a mention of me, Oskar Gräsman.
Why site: is Probably 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. However, bear in mind that pages with a lot of categories, 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:, as well as other search operators, lies in the possibility to combine them in creative ways.
2. The exact match operator: ””
This operator is called the exact match operator because putting a search query within quotation marks will return searches that match exactly what’s 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.
3. The negative operator: –
The negative operator is also great and works with most other operators. To put it into action, simply put – before any keyword and it will exclude it from the search results.
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 Mini and exclude Google Store by adding a negative operator before it.
Example: google home mini -google store
Note: You can exclude as many keywords as you’d like by following simple logic.
4. The operator OR
The OR operator can be used by putting OR (with capital letters) between two keywords. The search results will contain either one, or both, keywords.
Examples: yoda OR chewbacca
5. The pipe operator: |
You can use the pipe operator instead of the Google search operator OR. The results will mostly be the same.
Examples: yoda | chewbacca
6. The parentheses operator: ()
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.
Example: (yoda OR chewbacca) star wars
7. The operator AND
Search for X and Y. This will return only results related to both X and Y. Note: It doesn’t really make much difference for regular searches, as Google defaults to “AND” anyway. But it’s very useful when paired with other operators.
Example: yoda AND chewbacca
8. The wildcard operator: *
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.
Example: yoda * star wars
9. The currency operator: $
The currency operator is used to search for prices. To put it into action 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).
Example: star wars lego $239
10. The operator intitle:
The intitle: operator lets you search for keywords and key phrases found in the titles of websites.
Example: intitle:star wars
11. The operator insubject:
Including this Google search operator will restrict articles in Google Groups to those that include keywords you’ve mentioned in the subject itself. This operator makes it so much easier to filter out what exactly you’re looking for in Google Groups.
Example: insubject:”star wars”
12. The operator allintitle:
This Google search operator is almost the equivalent to intitle: operator, but all keywords specified has to be present in the title.
13. The operator inurl:
The inurl: operator lets you search for queries found in the URL of websites, including the domain name.
14. The operator allinurl:
The allinurl: operator is very similar to the inurl: operator, but all keywords specified has to be present in the URL.
Example: allinurl:apple ipad
15. The operator intext:
This Google search operator lets you search for keywords and key phrases within the body of any website.
Example: intext:star wars
16. The operator allintext:
The allintext: Google search operator is very similar to the intext: operator, but all keywords specified has to be present in the body of a website.
Example: allintext:star wars yoda
17. The operator filetype:
The filetype: operator lets you specify a specific filetype of what you are searching for.
This operator is very useful when you need to find a particular file type. It doesn’t only work well with PDFs, words docs, PowerPoint files, spreadsheets, and the majority of text files, but also with images except for PHP, ASP, and HTML.
To put it into action just add a specific domain and a search operator filetype: followed by the shortened file type you are looking for.
Start simple with a site search for one particular file type.
Example: star wars filetype:pdf
18. The operator ext:
Because this is a complete list of Google search operators, I had to add this one too. The ext: operator works just the same as a previous operator filetype: and is an undocumented alias for it.
Example: star wars ext:pdf
19. The operator related:
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.
20. The proximity operator AROUND(X)
The AROUND(X) operator, or proximity search operator, helps you to find search results where two words occur within X words from each other.
Hard to get it? I’ll explain!
If you type the search like keyword 1 AROUND(3) keyword 2, Google will show you results where these two keywords are mentioned around three words apart from each other in a particular piece of content.
Example: star wars AROUND(3) darth vader
21. The operator define:
The operator define: 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.
22. The operator author:
This Google search operator will filter out results in Google Groups to those that only include the author you’ve specified. Mind that you’re not required to add the full name of the author as a partial name or even an email address will work as well.
This might be helpful because if you use John Doe inside quotation marks instead author:”John Doe”, Google won’t include variations of the author’s name. For example, Doe, John won’t be included in this case.
23. The operator cache:
This Google search operator provides you with the latest cached version of an indexed web page. Unless this is blocked through the meta tag noarchive. If you want to see how a recently edited or the updated site or paged looked before the cache: operator might be very helpful
24. The operator weather:
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 as you get if you search for weather followed by the location, but if you want to be 100% sure to get Google’s weather widget this operator might be very useful.
25. The operator stocks:
The stocks: operator returns a Google widget with information on publicly listed companies based on the ticker symbol, such as GOOGL for Alphabet Inc or AAPL for Apple Inc.
26. The operator map:
The map: operator directly followed by a location will return Google’s map widget.
27. The operator movie:
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.
Example: movie:star wars
28. The operator source:
This Google search operator source: works in a similar way as the site: operator, but only can be applied for newspapers that appear on Google News.
Example: apple source:the_verge
29. The autocomplete operator: _
Not exactly a search operator, but acts as a wildcard for Google Autocomplete.
Example: apple CEO _ jobs
30. The conversion operator: in
The in operator converts one unit to another. Works with a lot of different things like weights, distance, currencies, temperatures, and much more.
Example: $329 in GBP
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 have been officially deprecated by Google, others just won’t work or won’t return the expected result. Others might just be way too unreliable. Complete list of Google search operators woudn’t be full without deprecated ones, but I’ve decided to seperate them accordingly for your convenience.
The List of Deprecated Search Operators Too Unreliable to Use
- operator link:
- tilde operator: ~
- plus operator: +
- hashtag operator: #
- location operator: loc:
1. The link: operator
The link: operator followed by a domain or URL used to return sites that 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.
2. The tilde operator: ~
The tilde operator could be used to include synonyms of your search query. Google nowadays includes synonyms by default.
3. The plus operator: +
The plus operator was 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.
Example: jobs +apple
4. The operator #..#
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.
Example: SEO Guide 2017..2020
Although this operator isn’t officially deprecated, most of the time the results are not accurate.
5. The operator datarange:
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.
6. The operator inanchor:
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.
Example: inanchor:apple iphone
7. The operator allinanchor:
Similar to the one above but must include all words defined. Also deprecated but do return some inaccurate results.
Example: allinanchor:apple iphone
8. The operator inpostauthor:
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.
Example: inpostauthor:”steve jobs”
9. The operator allinpostauthor:
Similar to the operator above, allinpostauthor: was also deprecated when Google Blog Search was discontinued.
Example: allinpostauthor:steve jobs
10. The operator inposttitle:
This operator is very similar to the intitle: operator. But like the two operators above, this one was also specific for Google Blog Search.
Example: intitle:apple ipad
11. The operator blogurl:
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.
12. The info: operator
The info: operator returned information about a page, like similar pages and last time it was cached by Google. It was deprecated in 2017.
13. The id: operator
The id: operator is supposed to work just the same as info: search operator and often it is called an undocumented alias for info:.
14. The phonebook: operator
This operator could return someone’s phone number but was deprecated in 2010.
15. The hashtag operator: #
The # or hashtag operator was introduced to be able to search hashtags. It was introduced together with Google+ but is now deprecated.
16. The location operator: loc:
The loc: operator limits your search result to a specific location. It’s not officially deprecated, but the returned results are inaccurate and inconsistent.
Example: loc:”san francisco” apple
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’re good with using this complete list of Google search operators, they can help you a lot to do an advanced search while others are paying money for it.
As you probably already realized, the expected result from a lot of the operators is not always a hundred percent accurate, nor consistent. Using exact match on key phrases and even single keywords have been helping me to get more accurate results for years so far.
Please share in the comment section below which operator from this complete list of Google search operators is your favorite and what you use it for. Also, feel free to ask any questions you might have on search operators or share your feedback on this article.