Google’s search operators are not something you know how to use straight away. In fact, average Google users are not even aware of their existence and, therefore, won’t ever be even bothered looking for a neat list of Google search operators in the first place.
If you landed on this page after clicking on a link, title or an image that brought you here, then you are most likely 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 find out!
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 instructions and/or a search phrase. You’ll understand everything in a minute – just keep reading!
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.
The one we 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, and you will see it in the SERPs below. According to Google's Search Central, there's a technical definition to the 'site:' operator as: A site: query is a search operator that allows you to request search results from the particular domain, URL, or URL prefix specified in the operator.
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:thelematics.com – will return all indexed pages, including pages on subdomains.
site:www.thelematics.com – will return all indexed pages from the subdomain www.
site:thelematics.com/stories – will return all indexed pages from the blog and its subdirectories and pages.
site:thelematics.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.thelematics.com and sub.thelematics.com. In the right part of the image only results from www.thelematics.com are included.
Why site: is Probably the Mother of All Operators?
In our 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.
The real power of site:, as well as other search operators, lies in the possibility to combine them in creative ways.
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.
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.
Example: google home mini -google store -amazon -ebay
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.
Although using a professional keyword research tool is a must if you want to choose the right SEO keywords, Google search operators will open new horizons for you while saving you tons of time.
Examples: rambo OR amadeus
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
You don’t need to learn the complete list of google search operators to understand how this one works. Search for x AND y to get 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
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
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
The intitle: operator lets you search for keywords and key phrases found in the titles of websites.
Example: intitle:star wars
Adding 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”
This search operator is almost the equivalent to intitle: operator, but all keywords specified has to be present in the title.
Example:allintitle:darth vader luke skywalker
A complete list of Google search operators wouldn’t be full without this one. 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.
Example: allinurl:apple ipad
This Google search operator lets you search for keywords and key phrases within the body of any website.
Example: intext:star wars
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
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
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
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.
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
The operator define: makes Google work like a dictionary. define: followed by a word will return the explanation and meaning of that word. Only works for English words.
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.
Google will search for exactly what you specify. If your query contains [ author:”John Doe” ] (with quotes), Google won’t find articles where the author is specified as “Doe, John.”
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.
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 updated site or paged looked before the cache: the 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 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.
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.
The map: operator directly followed by a location will return Google’s 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.
Example: movie:star wars
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
Not exactly a search operator, but acts as a wildcard for Google Autocomplete.
Example: apple CEO _ jobs
This complete list of Google search operators wouldn’t be full without one of my favorites. 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
Some search operators will be missed, some not so much. Some query operators have been officially deprecated by Google already, others just won’t work or won’t return the expected result. Others might just be way too unreliable.
A complete list of Google search operators wouldn’t be full without deprecated ones, but we decided to deprecate the idea of listing them here accordingly and for your convenience.
Convenience is not security 🙂