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Advanced Search Operators

Search engines find what you tell them to search for. A typical search will often return too many results or even results that are not relevant to the subject at hand. Therefore, search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN came up with tools to narrow the search to obtain the specific information being requested. They have also created several search commands that are very useful for SEO experts as well as searchers who want very specific information. These tools are called Advanced Search Operators. Operators modify the query when asking the search engines for specific type of information that a general search can not provide. These operators have a particular meaning to each of the different search engines, but not all engines accept the same operators.

Operators are generally added before a domain name in the search engine’s search box and they modify the search to dig deeper into the engine’s algorithms. The return provides entirely different results than the average search. For example, if you were to type the following query,, into the Google search box, Google would return all of the web pages that actually link to In this particular case, the operator used is link: followed by the domain name. There are numerous operators that can provide significant useful information. Another very helpful operator is the site: operator. If typed into the search box before the domain name, the search engine will return results on how many pages are within that particular domain and subdomains. Those results could also provide information on pages that have been indexed more than once, which in turn could provide information regarding duplicate content. It could also provide information about pages that are being dropped out of the search engines.

The table that follows lists the advanced search operators and their functions that can be used by Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

Google Yahoo! MSN Result
cache:     Show version of the web page in its cache
link: link: link: Pages that link to a particular URL
(Note: In Yahoo! You must type in http://)
  linkdomain: linkdomain: Finds sites that link to any page within the specified domain
related:     Pages that are "similar" to a specified URL
info:     Present some information that Google has about a web page
define: define:   Provide a definition of a keyword
stocks:     Show stock information for ticker symbols
site: site: or domain: or hostname: site: All pages within a particular domain and all its subdomains
allintitle:     Pages with all query words as part of the indexed titles
intitle: intitle: or title: intitle: Pages with a specific keyword as part of the indexed titles
allinurl:     Pages with all of the query words as part of the indexed URLs
  url: url: Find a specific URL in the index
(Note: You must type in http://)
inurl: inurl: inurl: Pages with specific keyword as part of the indexed URLs
allinanchor:     Pages with all of the query words as link text in the page
inanchor:   inanchor: Pages with a specific keyword as link text in the page
    inbody: Pages with a specific keyword in the body
    ip: Finds sites that are hosted by a specific IP
address The IP address must be a dotted quad address

More Search Help: Combined Searches