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"Advanced Search Operators for Research"
LAST EDITED ON Feb-26-11 AT 02:12 PM (PST)

I posted this at the Warrior forum:

The truth is, with a little research you can become an expert on most IM related subjects with a little effort on your part. And by learning a few special Google features you can really become an advanced researcher in no time flat.

You don't need to memorize them, only understand how they work. Then check refer to this page (or another) as you need to.

Following are "special" Google searches that can greatly improve your search results and offer some specialized information.

The Basics:

The "or" Search - Will return results for more than one keyword or phrase

Use the "or" command to return results for more than one search query

Search for:
poodles or boxers or dobermans

Will return results for all 3 dog breeds. You may get sites that only talk about poodles mixed with others that may only talk about boxers, etc.

Use Quote Marks for Exact Match

Search for:
"great dane"

Use quotes around two or more keywords to return only pages using the exact phrase, exactly.

Will return results for pages that contain the exact phrase: great dane

Won't return pages that only contain "great".

Won't return pages that only contain "dane".

Won't return pages that use both, but not exact. The following would NOT be returned:

I went to see the comedian Dane Cook at a local club. He was really great.

Tip: Use quotes when you want to be specific.

Minus Sign Search - Use the - sign to eliminate pages containing that word/phrase

Search for:
dog -food
- (negative/minus sign)

Will return all pages that contain "dog" but not the word "food".

Combined example: Use quotes and multiple -
Search for: "dog training" -crate -attack -"shock collar"

This search will find all pages containing the exact phrase "dog training", but eliminate pages that use the words "attack" "crate" or the exact phrase "shock collar", resulting in a totally different set of results.

A Plus Sign ( ) Search
Use the sign to return pages that contain BOTH words

Search for:
dog training

Unlike using "quote marks" which returns pages with the exact phrase, using the means that both the words appear anywhere on the page. They don't have to be next to each other.

For example:
On the way to my self-defense training class, I dropped my dog off at the vet's office.

The above sentence would be returned for a search for dog training, since it contains both words.

But it would NOT be returned if the search was for "dog training" because the exact phrase isn't matched.

Example combining different custom searches:

"dog training" "attack" -"shock collar" - This should return results to train an attack dog without using shock collars.

The Cached Search - Use the cache: attribute with a site's URL to view Google's cached version of the page.

Google keeps a copy of past versions of web pages. Using this search command you can view the saved copies.

Search for:

If you ever accidentally delete a web page, check to see if Google has a copy in the cache.

Check how fresh the cache is. If the cache for a page is updated often, chances are Google spiders the page frequently.

Checking the cached page vs. the real page can be helpful in detecting "page cloaking" a technique of "bait and switch" that pro SEOers use to show the serach engines one page and actual viewers another page.

The Related Search - This is a good way to see what topic Google thinks your site is about...

Search for: = Returns pages that Google feels are related to that specific page.

This search will bring up pages Google thinks have the same general topics as the site listed.test to see if Google thinks your site is about what it is really about.

If you have a site about the "Denver Broncos" (an American football team), you want to be sure Google doesn't think your site is about "Ford Broncos for sale in Denver" (a vehicle).

Performing a "related" search for your main competitors can also be used to reveal who the authority sites are in a niche. Check out the highest ranked sites for your keywords and see who the related sites are and if you can get links from those sites.

The Site Info Search will show a page with links to more info, such as searches, backlinks, and pages containing the url. It combines a couple of special searches.

Search for:
Google can show you the following information for this URL:

Show Google's cache of
Find web pages that are similar to
Find web pages that link to
Find web pages from the site
Find web pages that contain the term ""


File Type Search - will restrict searches to that filetype

Search for:

Recipes filetype:pdf

Will return results for recipes in the PDF format, which are great for printing.

Recipes filetype:.rss

This will find RSS feeds that contain the keyword "recipes".

Maybe do a search for:
health filetype:.pdf

This will reveal PDF files about health from the US government (possibly public domain).

-filetype:SOMEFILETYPE = will remove that file type from the search.” = shows you how many pages of a web site are indexed by Google. = Returns pages that link to a specific page of a web site.


~WORD = Returns the word and other words Google thinks are its synonyms. These are good secondary keywords to weave into your content. “"keywords" = Only returns results from a specific domain.

SEO will only return pages from the Warrior forum containing "SEO".

But domain names are really "second level domain names." You can also search by the TLD (top level domain name) which are .com, .gov, .org, etc.

Some good uses for this is when looking for public domain info, try using a search that only searches US gov sites:
health info

Or maybe you're looking for medical/drug info and all you come across is spam. You may want to try a search confined to .edu sites:
"viagra side effects" = This will limit the results to education and government sites and remove a lot of commercial pages.

All In

These next four can be very useful for SEO. If you're looking for the easiest way to determine your real SEO compeition is to check how use the keyword in the page title...

allintitle:Keywords = Returns only pages that contain the keywords in the title tag of the page.

allinurl:Keywords = Returns only pages that contain the keywords in the URL of the page.

allintext:Keywords = Returns only pages that contain the keywords in the actual body content of the page.

allinlinks:Keywords = Returns only pages that contain the keywords in the links one a page.


Misc. Searches

List of - If you want a bunch of something, use "list of" in your searches:
"List of free photoshop plugins"
"List of comedy TV shows"

Also, add the following to your searches when needed:
how to _____
_____ for beginners
_____ for newbies
_____ faq
intro to _____
_____ basics
_____ tutorial
_____ tut

And many, many more similar searches will often bring up everything you know to get started on a variety of topics.

Google isn't psychic...But if you think about what you are really looking for, and know how to speak to Google in "googlese" you can really find some great stuff...

And you can also save some money...How about this search for targeted results:

"web hosting" $4.95 "instant activation" "free trial" "paypal"

If folks understand and use these special search commands, they truly have the power of the Net in their hands and can become an "expert" on something very quickly and shouldn't need to ask the most basic questions in this forum over and over because they won't make the effort to look something up for themselves..

-Boom boom boom boom.

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