Google Search Operators Useful for SEOs

Posted on June 14, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

In the last several years many tools have been made to help and speed up your keyword research process, competition analysis and finding link building opportunities; some are free, some are paid. But we often overlook the source itself, Google, which can sometimes surprise us and return the results that none of the tools has showed – if we know how to use it.

Google search operators are here to narrow your search and to show you the most relevant results in no time.

site: operator is the most basic, but possibly the most important of search operators. It restricts the results to a specified website or domain extension


Check out this screenshot here

Since it will show you all the pages indexed in Google, you can use it to quickly inspect titles, descriptions, URLs etc, and if you have pages which target a specific keyword, site: is very useful to check if Google agrees with you, ex: “your keyword” .

allintext: , intext:” “ , allintitle: , intitle:“ “, allinurl: , inurl:“ “ will return all the pages that contain your keyword in text, title tag or URL, ex. allinurl:travel agency.

Google SEO TipsThe best use for them is when you’re researching competition or looking for linkbuilding opportunities, but they should be combined with other keywords and queries for most filtered results, ex: New York inurl:”travel agency” , or inurl: blog “guest post”.  Check out this screenshot here

~ (tilde) operator returns the synonyms of your keyword: ~travel agency will show tourist agency or travel service as relevant results. Best use of this operator is in the keyword research stage – if Google shows you which keywords they see as synonyms to your keyword, you can expand your keyword list accordingly, or insert these keywords into your text and avoid it being overstuffed.

allinanchor: and inanchor: will show all the pages that have backlinks pointing to them with your keyword in anchor text.


  • allinanchor:travel agency
  • inanchor: “travel agency” 
This screenshot might make the explanation clear to you.

The results are displayed by the “strength”, meaning that the #1 result is the page that has the highest number of backlinks with that anchor text – and that’s your toughest competitor.

Best use for inanchor: operators is, obviously, when you’re researching your competition, but you can get creative and include in your search not only your keywords, but also the anchor texts that people would use naturally. For example, many websites link to their contact page with the words “contact us”; so when you’re searching for a guest posting prospects, you can try something like this: “guest post” inanchor:contact inanchor: “womens health” . (minus) operator excludes words or websites from your search results.

It can be very useful in situations when you’re looking for a blog post related to your niche to leave a comment on, but you don’t want Google to display results that require you to log in. Then you can try this search: travel inurl:blog “post a comment” –“you must be logged in” . The last one you should use with caution, because it doesn’t return accurate results, and we’re including it only as a warning.

link: operator shows the pages that link back to a website you define, (ex., but it returns only a sample of links pointing to a site, including the internal links within the site itself – and it can’t be combined with other operators, so you can’t exclude the results you don’t want. It can be used to look for backlink opportunities, but, since it shows only 0.4-1% of total backlinks, don’t rely on it when you’re analyzing a competitor’s strength.

Using Google search operators can sometimes help you find real gems. Try them out, combine two or more, do some experimenting on your own until you become good at it. Trust us, it can be worth the effort.

Also have a look at the following Slideshow presentation Created by

About the Author: As a SEO expert, Jeff knows how important it is to do a quality research. Curently, he is associated with Sadrzaj Serija as their consultant for search engine optimization and social media marketing and he uses Google search operators all of the time during his research.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.


  1. Link building or back link support a website to improve its ranking.

  2. This site has a huge information who are interested on SEO, and other special on line outsourcing.

  3. Premium SEO Solutions says

    Proper query in searching is helpful to find exact niche your looking for in link building. Google value websites that has unique content so most probably quality website is listed on first page.

  4. The article is quite informative and useful from a SEO pint of view. I would recommend this site to one of my friend who is an SEO expert.

  5. alex business directory says

    hi,just making a comment,i agree article might be the best way to go,i tryed this and seem to have worked,but again not a lot of people know about google operators,blogging is one way but never pay for traffic or use those autosurfs,like everyone they sit back and dont pay attention,onyl thing it might help is the bounce rate if counted,that is it.

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